Whether your chainsaw is powered by gasoline or it works on electricity, every chainsaw requires to be lubricated by using chain and bar oil. This is done to reduce heat and friction between the chain and bar. This minimizes the wear on the engine and elongates the life of your chainsaw. In this article, we will answer your question what can i use for chainsaw bar oil as well as how to apply and change the oil in a chainsaw.
List Of Chainsaw Bar Oils That Are Used
The bars and chains of the chainsaw need to be oiled for the proper functioning of the chainsaw.
There are two types of chainsaw bar oil: standard bar oils and bar oil substitutes.
1. The Standard Oil
If you have consulted the user manual that comes along with the chainsaw, you will find that the manufacturers recommend a specific type or brand of chainsaw bar oil to go with your chainsaw. This is done to ensure that your chainsaw is lubricated properly and remains in the best condition.
If the bar oil is not a good lubricant, the chainsaw will slow down due to excessive friction and heat produced when the chainsaw is operated.
Therefore, if you wish to use the right chainsaw bar oil in your chainsaw, use the prescribed bar oil for your bar and chain.
2. Bar Oil Substitutes
Despite the manufacturer’s recommendation, we often find ourselves when we do not have standard oils on hand. Moreover, traditional oils are undeniably expensive. In such situations, we need to rely on inexpensive, affordable, and readily available substitutes, which can be used as alternatives for standard chainsaw bar oils.
Bar oil substitutes must be selected carefully. Certain factors must be kept in mind. First of all, you should remember that whichever oil you select should ensure good performance and serve its purpose.
To find the best substitute for your standard chainsaw bar oil, you should know and understand the features of the standard oil recommended by the manufacturer.
Some qualities to look for while choosing the substitute are:
- Slippery: A proper chainsaw bar oil should act as a good lubricant. It should have a slippery texture. The slippery texture prevents debris from getting stuck in the bar while operating the chainsaw.
- Sticky: Stickiness is one of the most desirable qualities of any bar oil. A chainsaw has a very high speed while working. Therefore, the bar oil needs to be sticky if it has to remain on the chain. A non-sticky oil will get scattered from the surface of the bar.
- Eco-friendly: Bar oil should not release poisonous gas while being operated. It is hazardous for your health. It is also harmful to the environment.
Caution: Using a bar oil substitute, instead of the standard bar oil recommended by the manufacturers, you may risk your chainsaw warranty.
Also, if you use alternative chainsaw bar oils for longer periods without switching to the standard bar oil, you may cause long term damage to your chainsaw.
It is perfectly safe to use alternatives for a short period once in a while.
Four Best Bar Oil Alternatives
1. Motor Oil
Motor oil refers to used car oil. It is one of the well-known alternatives for standard chainsaw bar oil because it is readily available and quite affordable. Thus, motor oil passes the first two criteria of eligibility required for a bar oil substitute.
If you own a vehicle, collecting some extra motor oil is not a problem. But, you have to make sure that you use filtered motor oil for bar and chain lubrication. If you collect the oil while the engine is running or before the vehicle cools down, it will ease the filtration, and you will get cleaner oil.
Motor oil is only a temporary substitute. It cannot replace standard chainsaw bar oil for long periods. It is efficient in reducing the friction between bar and chain to some extent. So, it protects the chainsaw from burning.
The cons of using motor oil are significant. The first downside is that motor oil is not sticky enough. That is why it does not stay on the bar and chain when you are working with it. It flies off the bar and creates a mess without serving its purpose. Also, you need to refill the bar oil reservoir since motor oil gets spent quickly compared to standard chainsaw bar oil. Another major demerit of motor oil is that it is non-biodegradable. It is harmful to the environment and can damage vegetation if it flings on it.
Another thing to keep in mind while using motor oil is its viscosity. In cold seasons or places, it is recommended to use SAE 10 weight motor oil. Whereas, in hot temperatures, it is advised to use SAE 30 weight motor oil.
2. Hydraulic Oil
Hydraulic oil is similar to motor oil. It is another one of the most popular substitutes for standard bar oil. It is readily available and affordable. It serves the purpose just like motor oil does. Similar to motor oil, hydraulic oil is harmful to the environment.
The downside of using hydraulic oil is that it tends to dry up faster than motor oil. Even for a simple task, a lot of hydraulic oil is required. The reservoir empties a lot and needs to be filled often. It is recommended to mix it with standard oil to make it more efficient.
3. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is one of the best alternatives for standard chainsaw bar oil. It is readily available and inexpensive.
If you cook, chances are you already have a bottle of vegetable oil in your kitchen. If not, then don’t worry, you will quickly get them from the store.
Vegetable oil is thinner than motor oil and hydraulic oil. It is less viscous than the two. Due to lower viscosity, it spends quicker than motor oil and hydraulic oil. The reservoir needs to be filled more often to keep working correctly.
Unlike motor oil and hydraulic oil, vegetable oil is much more eco-friendly. It is biodegradable. When the oil gets splattered on vegetation while cutting, it will not have any harmful impact.
Motor oil and hydraulic oil, or even standard chainsaw bar oil, cannot be used when the situation calls for hygiene. Suppose you have to cut through an animal. In that case, you have to use vegetable oil as a substitute.
Vegetable oil does not stain. It is easy to clean.
One downside of using vegetable oil as a substitute for standard chainsaw bar oil is that it cannot be used in the cold or winter season.
4. Canola Oil
Although they may seem to be similar, canola oil and vegetable oil are quite different. Canola oil is extracted from rapeseeds. It is thinner than vegetable oil.
Canola oil serves as a natural substitute for chain and bar oil.
It can tolerate the low temperature. So, it is suitable for use during the winter season as well. It is environmentally friendly and produces much fewer fumes than any other oil. It is not harmful or hazardous if inhaled.
How To Apply Oil In A Chainsaw
It is vital to know how oil is applied in a chainsaw. Oil is supplied to the chainsaw bar through an automatic oiler. As the chain moves in a circular motion around the bar, it sits in a groove that lubricates the chain.
Applying oil in a chainsaw is not a difficult task. Here is a step by step method to help you out.
Total Time: 30 Minutes
The first step is to unplug the rear power cord of your chainsaw (if it is electric). After detaching the power cord of the saw from the extension cord, put the chain saw on a flat surface such as a workbench. Let the chainsaw cool completely.
Remove debris and sawdust by cleaning the oil filler cap located on the top of the chainsaw, and the entire top cover with a towel. If any debris gets into the tank, it may hamper the automatic oiler.
Remove the oil tank cap by turning the cap counterclockwise. Pour bar and chain oil into the tank. You can use a funnel so that the oil does not spill on unnecessary areas on the chainsaw. Notice the level of oil on the outside. You know the tank is full when the oil reaches just below the oil filler neck. Stop adding oil when the tank is full.
Remove the funnel and replace the oil tank cap tightly by turning it in a clockwise direction. Wipe off the excess oil in case of a spill.
Tip: Always monitor the level of oil remaining in the tank while using a chainsaw. If the oil level reaches the minimum mark, do not ignore it and refill immediately.
It is always advised to use the standard chainsaw bar oil. The use of substitutes is only suitable for short periods. In the long run, if the quality of bar and chain oil is not good, it might damage parts of the chainsaw. In many cases, the warranty gets null and void if you do not use the recommended bar and chain oil. So, only use a substitute when your product is well out of the warranty period.