Why is My Chainsaw Smoking? 5 Potential Reasons & Solutions

Smoking chainsaw is a common problem. Smoking your chainsaw is nothing but one of the consequences that appears to be inevitable after a thrashing use of your chainsaw; especially, when you keep it using without taking proper care of it. Irrespective of the cause of smoking your chainsaw, it is recommended to repair the fault to avoid any irreparable loss.

Whether you are new to using a chainsaw, or you have been using it for years; there are equal chances of smoke from your chainsaw. You may think that your chainsaw has caught a big fault, and you have just wasted your money, but most of the time, this is not the case. To help you with your chainsaw’s smoking problem, have a look at some potential reasons and their solutions as well.

Causes of Chainsaw Smoking?

There are several reasons that can cause the smoking of your chainsaw.

Before we start discussing reasons and solutions for chainsaw smoking, it is necessary to find the area of smoke.

There isn’t a single area from where the smoke may come out; it might be the guide bar or engine.

Meanwhile, in both of these cases, the problem and solution are different.

Why is My Chainsaw Smoking

So, it is important to locate the area of smoke because it helps you better understand the problem and then implement the solution.

Without making further ado, let us analyze some of the most common problems that cause smoking of your chainsaw along with the solution to these problems;

1. Inappropriate Mixture of Fuel 

The carburetor is one of the most important components of your chainsaw; it is responsible for providing the combustion chamber with fuel that has the appropriate amount of air and fuel.

Now, if the filter is clogged, air will not be cleaned, and if the fuel isn’t mixed with gasoline in an accurate ratio, the carburetor will not be able to perform its duty, and smoke will come out from the chainsaw.

Therefore, it is very important to have an appropriate mixture of oil with gasoline that can be used as fuel. For this purpose, do not use a fuel with an octane number less than 89.

Usually, the gasoline to oil ratio is kept at 40:1 or 50:1 – with respect to the ratio you choose from these two ratios, the amount of oil will change for one gallon of gasoline. To get a better idea about the ratio of gasoline to oil, you may see how to mix chainsaw gas.

When it comes to the mixture of fuel, it is recommended not to use cheap oil; it will not only damage the combustion chamber of your internal combustion engine, but your chainsaw may also stop while operating.

In short, to provide your chainsaw with an appropriate mixture of fuel, it is necessary to have a clean air filter and use fuel of high-octane number.

2. Clogged Air Filter 

An air filter is a compulsory part of a chainsaw. It regulates the flow of air in the chainsaw.

If the air filter is clogged, it will not be able to transfer an appropriate amount of clean air to the carburetor which then results in the form of irregular or stranded flow of air in the chainsaw.

When the air filter is clogged, the engine of the chainsaw gets damaged due to the absence of an appropriate amount of fuel mixed with fresh air.

Generally, the filter of the chainsaw gets clogged when the particles of wood accumulate in the air filter. This clogged filter is then unable to transfer clean air to the carburetor.

If you have a battery-powered chainsaw, you should be more concerned about your chainsaw’s air filter because a clogged air filter causes more damage in battery-powered chainsaws.

The solution to this problem is quite easy; you can either replace the filter with a new one or clean the filter and fit it again in the chainsaw. Consult the user manual to clean the filter – most commonly, you can clean the air filter in soapy water and then rinse it with clean water.

3. Dull Chain of Chainsaw 

Among the major causes of your chainsaw’s inefficiency, an unsharpened chain of chainsaws is at the top. An unsharpened chain of chainsaws not only reduces the efficiency of the process but also compels the engine of the chainsaw to work harder than usual.

When the unsharpened blades try to cut wood, there creates great friction between the wood and the chain of the chainsaw which then causes smoke.

To avoid this problem, it is best to take care of the sharpness of your chainsaw chain.

When the blades of the chain are dull, they tend to cut wood with finer dust or create more pressure on the user while using it. Whenever you come across these indications, you must sharpen the chain of your chainsaw using a chainsaw sharpener.

If you are facing this problem, you should immediately sharpen the chain of your chainsaw; otherwise, you may need to replace the chain with the new one. It will be even better to sharpen the blades of the chain every time you use it.

4. Very Tight Chain 

In a chainsaw, the chains stay and spin around the guide bar. If the tension in the chain is lesser than the required tension, the chain will not stay on the guide bar, and if the tension in the chain is more than the recommended, there will be observed increased and unwanted friction between the guide bar and chainsaw. This increased friction then results in the form of smoke.

To solve this problem, you can bring the chain of your chainsaw in the required tension. For this purpose, take a flat-headed screw, and insert it in tensioning pin; rotate clockwise if the chain is loose, and vice versa if the chain is tight.

Take the chain away from the guide bar, and release it from there, if it snaps back into its position, the chain has acquired the required tension.

5. Inappropriate Lubrication 

If there isn’t enough lubrication in the parts of your chainsaw, it will not be able to deliver the job with full of its efficiency. Insufficient lubrication between the parts of the chainsaw causes increased friction which then creates smoke.

To get rid of this problem, you must take great care of the lubrication of the parts of your chainsaw. There must be enough oil in between the chain and guide bar and other parts of your chainsaw.

Related Post: How to Tune a Chainsaw?


Here I have added a detailed answer on why is my chainsaw smoking – I have discussed different reasons along with their solutions. If you do not take timely precautions, you may not use suggested solutions; rather, you might need to go for the replacement of that part of your chainsaw with a new one.

There can also be added some other serious reasons to justify the chainsaw smoking, but these have been the most common and frequent reasons for your chainsaw’s smoking. If you do not find any of these problems in your chainsaw, and it still smokes, you can ask me your question.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What to do if chainsaw is smoking?

Smoke that erupts from your chainsaw does not always indicate a very serious problem; however, it could be serious if left untreated. If your chainsaw is smoking, do check if it has cleaned air filter, appropriate amount of mixed fuel, required tension in chain, enough lubrication, sharpened blades of chainsaw chain or not – identify the problem, and then apply the solution.

Q2. Why is white smoke coming out of my chainsaw?

White smoke comes out of the chainsaw when there occurs condensed heating of fuel inside the chainsaw. The black smoke indicates unburnt fuel in combustion chamber, and the blue smoke is a sign of flooded chainsaw.

Q3. Is a clutch broken if it is smokes?

Clutch is damaged by the over-heating. Riding the clutch then results in the form of clutch failure which further generates excessive heat and smoke.

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