How to Replace a Chainsaw Chain

The chain on a chainsaw has a lifespan. Every expert lumberjack and arborist knows that, so they’re always replacing the chain on their machines every now and then.

But if you are a beginner, you probably didn’t know until now. Luckily, we’re here to help you out with that.

Especially if you’re starting to use a chainsaw and you’re suspecting that the chain is not working as it should after a few months/years of use, then it is probably time to find a replacement chain.

We don’t want you to waste your time, effort, or money in doing the wrong things. Instead, follow this guide so you can learn how to replace a chainsaw chain like a pro.

Replacing a Chainsaw Chain in 10 Steps

This process is not too hard but requires proper attention and care when going through it. For the best results, we recommend reading the following steps at least twice before you get into work. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Removing the Side Panel

Removing this part is probably a little more complicated than it seems. You’ll have to find it first, generally on the right side of the machine, directly where the blade goes.

You’ll find two or three nuts holding the panel to the machine. Find then and see whether you’ll need a scrench or a wrench to take them off.

Then, you can proceed to the panel out. This will leave the access open so you can keep going with the bar and chain.

  1. Removing the Chain Brake (Optional)

Sometimes, the chain brake is located in the same place as the side panel. If this matches the design of your chainsaw, then you’ll have to remove the brake as well.

We recommend doing this by reading the manufacturer’s guide of your machine. Typically, you just need to unlock the brake and remove the sprocket.

Then, you’ll be able to take the brake out of the equation so you can have direct free access to the chain and blade. If you don’t do this, you may not have the chance to reinstall the chain afterward.

  1. Releasing the Chain

Now that you have free access to the interior of the machine, you’ll have to release the tension of the chain from the blade.

You just need to pull the nose of the bar or blade away from the chainsaw. This will release the chain so you can take it off the bar.

  1. Removing the Old Chain

To remove the chain off the machine, you need just to get it off the track.

We recommend pulling the drive links out of the guide with care. Then get it off completely, finishing in the clutch drum.

  1. Loosening the Tensioning Screw

Now, you’ll have to find the tensioning screw. This is located in one of the sides of the blade, usually on the right side.

You won’t have to take it off, just loosen it a little with a scrench or screwdriver. This will help you install the new chain more efficiently.

  1. Placing the New Chain on the Blade

After removing the old chain and loosening the tensioner, it is time to set the new chain on the machine. You should just follow the threads of the blade and make sure to tweak the clutch drum the right way.

Place the drive lines in the sprocket correctly and make sure the chain matches well the nose or tip of the bar to prevent issues.

  1. Aligning the Bar/Blade

After placing the new chain into the blade, it is time to add some tension into it. This will align the chain to the bar and provide the ideal tension for making it work correctly.

You just need to pull the nose of the guide bar away from the machine. This will lock the chain to the blade tightly.

The blade should then fit into the adjustment pin or guide. It will merely lock the blade in place.

  1. Re-install the Side Plate

After placing the chain, tightening it up, and locking the blade in place – you need to reinstall the side plate. This will be as easy as getting it off.

You just need to look for the nuts you took off before and screw them in after placing the side plate in the machine. Make sure it fits just as before.

  1. Tightening the Chain

Now, you need to go back to the tightening screw on the side that you loosened up in step 5.

Instead of unscrewing it, you need to screw it down. This will add some tension to the blade once again so it can start working as usual.

  • Finishing the Replacing Process

Finish by adding the tension and testing the machine.

Before you turn it on, it is vital to check that the chain is tightened correctly on the blade. This will help you prevent accidents.

If the machine performs well, then you’ve successfully replaced a chainsaw chain.


This process shouldn’t take more than an hour or two. In the worst-case scenario, you will have to do a deep clean to get rid of the internal sawdust and debris on the blade so you can replace the chain more efficiently. This could add half an hour to the whole process.

Overall, following this guide should take you to replace your chain successfully. So don’t hesitate if the chain of your machine is loosened or broken – and do it now!

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