Chainsaw Maintenance

Chainsaw Tension Screw Not Working | Here’s How to Fix It

Frustration in your wood-cutting endeavors is to be expected if your chainsaw’s tension screw is malfunctioning. Maintaining the right amount of chain tension is crucial for effective chainsaw use.

When the tension screw breaks, the chainsaw may not work properly or even become dangerous. In this tutorial, we’ll go over the most common causes of a broken chainsaw tension screw and how to effectively troubleshoot and repair it.

If you know how to operate and maintain your chainsaw, you can get back to your wood-cutting duties quickly and easily. So, let’s get down to brass tacks and investigate real-world options for fixing your chainsaw’s tension screw so it can perform like new again.

You shouldn’t have to put off your tree-cutting duties because of a loose chainsaw tension screw. Let’s work together to solve this issue.

Why Your Chainsaw Tension Screw Isn’t Working

There are a number of reasons why the chainsaw’s tension screw might be stuck. One reason is that it is difficult to tighten the chain properly due to an improper setting between the bar and the chain.


Changes in temperature, which can affect the chain’s dimensions and result in a looser or tighter fit, are another possible factor. Finally, the chain’s placement on the bar could be disrupted by mechanical flaws.

Read: Chainsaw Chain Won’t Tighten Anymore

Any one of these problems could affect how well your chainsaw’s tension screw works. Maintaining optimal performance requires careful attention to both maintenance and settings.

Common Causes of Chainsaw Tension Screw Problems

Overuse and Aging

Through time and use, wear and tear can occur on any piece of machinery or equipment. This is especially accurate with regard to the tension screw.

Wear on the screw’s threads might occur from repeated tightening and releasing over time. This deterioration in performance can cause problems with the tension screw. The tension screw’s durability also declines with age, making it more vulnerable to rust and corrosion.

In the same way that a well-loved pair of boots would need a new heel or sole at some point, the tension screw will require maintenance and, eventually, replacement.

Incorrect Adjustments

Despite its diminutive size, the tension screw is an essential part of a wide variety of devices. The stress caused by an incorrect or excessive adjustment can cause it to fail. A stripped screw or broken parts it’s holding together can result from excessive tension.

If the tension is too low, however, the parts may not stay securely in place, which could cause the system as a whole to become unstable or to stop working properly.

Forcing erroneous adjustments can cause damage that is difficult, if not impossible, to fix, analogous to trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

Poor Maintenance

A tension screw’s effectiveness can be impaired by the accumulation of dust, filth, and debris that results from a lack of routine cleaning and maintenance.

These contaminants clog the screw threads and make it more difficult to fine-tune the tension. If this buildup isn’t removed, the screw could seize, rendering it ineffective.

Furthermore, corrosion-causing agents hasten deterioration. Similar to how a car that never gets an oil change will eventually break down, a tension screw that isn’t maintained will eventually fail. Thus, machinery and equipment require consistent maintenance to function properly.

So, becoming aware of these problems is the initial step in resolving them. Let’s delve in further to learn more about each issue and the solutions available to us.

How to Troubleshoot a Chainsaw Tension Screw Issue

Overuse and Aging

Chainsaws, like many other power tools, are subject to the wear and tear of routine use and aging. One part that can particularly be affected by these factors is the tension screw.

It plays an essential role in maintaining the correct chain tension for safe and effective operation. With time, however, it may become difficult to adjust the tension, which could be a clear sign of a worn-out or stripped tension screw.

  • Examination of the Screw

It’s crucial to regularly check the state of the tension screw. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as stripping, wearing, or difficulty in turning. If you observe any of these, it’s an indication that the tension screw needs to be replaced.

  • Replacement of the Screw

Acquiring a new tension screw can be as simple as a trip to the local hardware store or reaching out to an authorized dealer. Make sure you purchase the correct type and size for your chainsaw model to ensure the perfect fit and efficient operation.

Incorrect Adjustments

The tension screw requires careful adjustment to ensure optimal chainsaw performance. Improper manipulation, either by over-adjusting or under-adjusting, can significantly affect its operation, possibly leading to damage or inefficient performance.

  • Reset the Tension

If the tension has been incorrectly set, the remedy is to loosen the tension screw, reset the chain tension, and then readjust the screw carefully. This reset provides an opportunity to rectify any previous errors and set the correct chain tension.

  • Use of the Correct Tool

Adjusting the tension screw should always be done with the proper tools. A chainsaw wrench or multi-tool is designed specifically for this task. Using incorrect or improvised tools could potentially cause damage to the tension screw or even the chainsaw itself.

Poor Maintenance

To function properly, chainsaws need regular servicing. Failure to keep the tension screw free of dust, wood chips, and other debris is a common mistake when maintaining a chainsaw.

  • Clean the Chainsaw

Keep your chainsaw clean, paying particular care to the region surrounding the tension screw. This preventative technique can greatly lessen the likelihood of debris obstructing the screw.

  • Apply Lubrication

Beyond cleaning, it’s equally important to keep the tension screw well-oiled. This lubrication helps prevent rust and promotes smoother operation. When applying lubricant, ensure you use a type specifically recommended for chainsaws to avoid any adverse effects on its performance.

Maintaining Your Chainsaw for Longevity

Keeping your chainsaw well-maintained goes a long way toward preventing issues like a failing tension screw. Here are some maintenance tips:

Cleaning After Use

A basic part of maintenance that helps your chainsaw last is cleaning it thoroughly after each usage. The chain, the motor, and the air filter can all become clogged with debris like wood chips and dust as you run the chainsaw. This buildup can shorten the life of the chainsaw by impeding the functioning of its many components.

First, turn off the chainsaw and let it cool down before cleaning it. Loosen the debris stuck to the saw’s body and chain with a soft brush and gently wipe it away.

To remove any grit or resin from the chain, you may want to use a product designed specifically for that purpose. All of the chainsaw’s moving parts should be dried off completely after cleaning to prevent rust.

Regularly Checking the Screw

Maintaining the proper tension of the chain on your chainsaw relies on the proper operation of the tension screw. Check the screw for damage or wear on a regular basis.

Worn or stripped screws will not maintain correct chain tension, which can lead to subpar performance or even hazards.

The chain and the guide bar must be taken from the chainsaw before the screw can be checked. It may be time to replace the screw if you find that it is not tightening or loosening normally, or if there is obvious damage to it.

Keep your chainsaw in tip-top shape by replacing all worn components with OEM or equivalent replacements, as directed.

Use of Quality Oil

Another aspect of chainsaw maintenance that you cannot overlook is the use of high-quality oil. This oil is not only necessary for the engine’s operation but also for preventing rust and keeping the screw in good condition. The oil also reduces friction and heat during operation, which extends the life of the chainsaw. If you know about “What Oil Can Be Used for Chainsaw Bar Oil

When choosing oil, it is advised to use the one recommended by your chainsaw’s manufacturer. Using low-quality or incorrect oil can lead to poor performance and damage over time. Remember to regularly check the oil levels in your chainsaw and to top it up as necessary.

Avoiding Over-tightening

Over-tightening the tension screw can lead to unnecessary wear and damage to both the screw and the chain. Therefore, it is essential to adjust the tension of the chain according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

A chain that is too tight can cause excess friction and heat, reducing its effectiveness and lifespan. On the other hand, a chain that is too loose can slip off or snag, causing a safety hazard.

To properly adjust the tension, first, ensure that the chainsaw is switched off and cool. Loosen the nuts holding the guide bar and adjust the tension screw until the chain fits snugly against the guide bar, but can still be rotated by hand.

 After adjusting, tighten the nuts again to secure the guide bar in place. Always check the chain tension before using the chainsaw and adjust it if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the tension screw on a chainsaw?

The tension screw on a chainsaw is typically located near the base of the bar, close to where the bar emerges from the chainsaw’s body. It’s used for adjusting chain tension.

Why won’t my chainsaw chain stay tight?

If your chainsaw chain won’t stay tight, it could be due to a worn-out bar, stretched chain, or issues with the tensioning mechanism. Regular checks and maintenance are recommended.

Why does my chainsaw chain keep coming loose?

Chainsaw chains often come loose due to natural stretching from regular use or inadequate tension. Ensure the chain is properly adjusted and the guide bar is secure.

Which way do you turn the screw to tighten a chainsaw blade?

To tighten a chainsaw blade, turn the tensioning screw clockwise. This will increase the tension and secure the chain more tightly to the bar.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular Maintenance: Consistently check and maintain your chainsaw, focusing particularly on the tension screw.
  • Identify Common Issues: Be aware of overuse, incorrect adjustments, and poor maintenance as primary causes of tension screw problems.
  • Replace Worn Parts: Timely replacement of worn or damaged tension screws is crucial.
  • Correct Adjustments: Use the right tools for tension adjustments to avoid further damage.
  • Clean and Lubricate: Keep the chainsaw and tension screw clean and well-lubricated for smooth operation.