Chainsaw Oil Essentials

Why Does My Chainsaw Leak Oil When Not In Use?

Have you ever wondered why your trusty chainsaw seems to develop a mind of its own, leaving a little puddle of oil when it’s resting? It’s a common head-scratcher for many, and you’re definitely not alone in this.

When you use a chainsaw, the bar and chain oil lubricates the chain. After use, when you store the chainsaw, some of this oil remains in the bar groove. Overnight, gravity pulls this residual oil out, creating a small puddle underneath. It’s not a leak, just the leftover oil dripping out, which is normal and shows your chainsaw was well-lubricated.

In this post, we’re diving deep into the heart of this oily mystery. We’ll explore the reasons behind these unexpected leaks and offer insights that will not only satisfy your curiosity but also help you take better care of your chainsaw.

Common causes of chainsaw oil leaks


Why Your Chainsaw Might Be Leaking Oil. You’ve noticed the issue, and now you’re probably wondering, “What’s causing my chainsaw to leak oil when it’s just sitting there?” It’s a great question, and the answer lies in understanding the mechanics and design of your chainsaw. Let’s break it down:

Residual Oil in the System

When you use your chainsaw, oil circulates through the system to lubricate the chain. After you turn it off, some of this oil remains in the oil pump or on the chain itself. Gravity does its job, and over time, this residual oil can drip out, especially if the chainsaw is stored with the bar pointing down.

Worn Out or Damaged Oil Seals

Just like any other machine, chainsaws have parts that wear out over time. The oil seals in your chainsaw are no exception. If these seals are worn or damaged, they can’t hold the oil as effectively, leading to leaks. It’s like having a worn-out washer in a faucet – the seal just isn’t as tight as it used to be.

Temperature Changes

Believe it or not, the temperature in your storage area can impact your chainsaw. As temperatures rise and fall, the metal and plastic components in your chainsaw expand and contract. This can create gaps or loosen seals, allowing oil to seep out. Think of it as your chainsaw reacting to the weather!

Overfilling the Oil Reservoir

It’s natural to think that more oil equals better lubrication, but overfilling the oil reservoir can actually lead to leaks. When there’s too much oil, it can find its way out through small gaps or even overflow. It’s a case of too much of a good thing.

Read: How Much Bar Oil Should A Chainsaw Use? 

Chain Oil Viscosity

The type of oil you use can also be a factor. If the oil is too thin, it might seep through small openings more easily. On the flip side, if it’s too thick, it might not flow properly through the system, causing a build-up that eventually finds its way out.

Storage Position

How and where you store your chainsaw can play a role in oil leaks. Storing it horizontally with the oil tank cap on the higher side can prevent oil from leaking through the cap vent.

How to prevent your chainsaw from leaking oil when not in use


Now that we’ve uncovered the usual suspects behind your chainsaw’s oil leaks, let’s talk about how you can prevent and fix these issues.

Regular Maintenance Checks

Prevention is better than cure, right? Regularly inspect your chainsaw, especially the oil seals and the oil pump. If you spot any wear and tear, it might be time for a replacement. Think of it as a health check-up for your chainsaw.

Proper Storage

How you store your chainsaw can make a big difference. Ideally, store it horizontally with the oil tank cap positioned higher than the rest of the saw. This simple change can prevent oil from leaking out of the cap vent.

Mind the Oil Levels

Avoid overfilling the oil reservoir. It’s tempting to top it off but remember, too much oil can lead to leaks. Keep it at the recommended level – your chainsaw’s manual can be your guide here.

Choose the Right Oil

Using the correct type of oil with the appropriate viscosity for your chainsaw and the current weather conditions is crucial. If you’re unsure, check the manufacturer’s recommendations or ask at your local hardware store.

Read: What Oil Can Be Used for Chainsaw Bar Oil?

Temperature Considerations

If possible, store your chainsaw in a place with a stable temperature to minimize the expansion and contraction of parts which can lead to leaks.

Seasonal Adjustments

If you’re not going to use your chainsaw for an extended period, like over the winter, consider draining the oil tank. This can prevent any surprise leaks during the off-season.

Professional Check-Up

Sometimes, the best solution is to get a professional to take a look. If you’ve tried everything and your chainsaw is still leaking oil, it might be time for a professional assessment and repair.

Implementing these measures won’t just solve the immediate problem of oil leaks; they’ll also contribute to the overall longevity and efficiency of your chainsaw.

Tips for maintaining your chainsaw to prevent oil leaks

Regular maintenance is the key to a long-lasting, efficient, and leak-free chainsaw. Here are some maintenance tips that can help you avoid oil leaks and other common chainsaw issues. 

Clean Regularly

After each use, clean your chainsaw thoroughly. Dust, debris, and sawdust can accumulate and cause issues, including oil leaks. A clean chainsaw is a happy chainsaw!

Sharpen the Chain

A dull chain makes your chainsaw work harder than it needs to, which can lead to overheating and increased wear. Keeping the chain sharp ensures smooth operation and less stress on the entire system.

Check for Loose Parts

Regularly check for any loose nuts, bolts, or screws. Vibrations from running the chainsaw can loosen these parts over time, which might lead to oil leaks or other problems.

Inspect the Oil Cap and Reservoir

Make sure the oil cap is secure and the reservoir isn’t cracked or damaged. These are common areas where oil can leak from, so keeping an eye on them is essential.

Use Fresh Fuel and Oil

Stale fuel and oil can cause buildup and clog the system. Make sure you’re using fresh oil and fuel, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper oil-to-fuel ratio if you’re using a two-stroke chainsaw.

Regularly Replace Filters and Spark Plugs

Dirty air filters and worn-out spark plugs can affect the performance of your chainsaw. Regular replacements can help keep your chainsaw running smoothly and efficiently.

Store Your Chainsaw Properly

When not in use, store your chainsaw in a dry, clean place. Avoid leaving it on the ground where it can be exposed to moisture and dirt.

Refer to the Manual

Your chainsaw’s manual is a treasure trove of information. Refer to it for specific maintenance recommendations and schedules tailored to your model.

By following these maintenance tips, you’re not only preventing oil leaks but also ensuring your chainsaw operates at its best for years to come.

Frequently asked question

Is it normal for a chainsaw to leak oil?

Yes, it’s fairly common for chainsaws to leak oil, especially when they’re not used regularly. This leakage often happens due to oil residue in the system.

Why does my chainsaw leak oil when stored?

Leakage, while your chainsaw is stored, can happen due to residual oil in the bar and chain or potential issues with the oiler system, like a clogged line or faulty seal.

How do I stop my chainsaw from leaking oil when I sit?

To stop your chainsaw from leaking oil, try draining the oil tank after use, cleaning the oil ports, and storing it in a cool, dry place.

How to store a chainsaw so it doesn’t leak oil?

Store your chainsaw in a cool, dry place, upright or with the bar and chain elevated, and consider draining the oil tank to prevent leaks

How do you adjust a chainsaw Oiler?

To adjust a chainsaw oiler, locate the adjustment screw, usually near the bar, and turn it clockwise to increase or counterclockwise to decrease the oil flow.

Key Takeaways

Normal Occurrence: A bit of oil leakage is often just a sign of residual oil and is perfectly normal.
Maintenance Matters: Regular checks and timely maintenance can prevent and fix most oil leak issues.
Storage Practices: How and where you store your chainsaw significantly affects oil leakage.
Right Resources: Choosing the correct oil and storing your chainsaw in a temperature-stable environment are crucial steps.
Professional Insight: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if the problem persists.