How to Store a Chain Saw Long Term


Whether gasoline-powered or electric-powered, chain saws are handy for trimming branches and cutting logs for firewood. If you don’t plan to use your chain saw for 30 or more days, then clean it and drain its fuel before you put it in long-term storage. When working on the chain saw, protect yourself from injury by ensuring it is unplugged if it is an electric model and the spark plug is removed if it is a gasoline-powered model. Wearing heavy gloves will protect your hands from sharp surfaces.

Wipe Away Dirt and Lubricate

  • Exterior surfaces of a chain saw become layered with oil, wood chips and other debris. Removing the debris before storing the chain saw will extend the machine's life. After the chain saw's engine has been turned off and is cool, clean the saw’s housing by using a soft, clean cloth to wipe away debris. Deep-clean the guide bar and chain by removing the sprocket cover and the chain and then wiping away wood chips and oil from around the sprocket, guide bar and chain. Before reassembling the chain and sprocket cover, spray a light coating of lubricant on the guide bar and chain to prevent corrosion. A gasoline-powered chain saw is equipped with a spark plug on which carbon can buildup. Wipe away the carbon buildup with a cloth, and reset the gap on the spark plug to the specification in the chain saw owner’s manual. Complete all the pre-storage cleaning tasks for your chain saw before reinstalling the spark plug in the engine.

Brush Away Deposits

  • Chain saws are outfitted with filters and screens to keep debris out of their engines and to cool the engines. Keep your chain saw's engine running at top performance by cleaning those items before storing the machine long term. Remove the spark arrestor screen, which is near the muffler, and gently brush away its carbon deposits with a small, wire brush. Remove the air filter, and shake it to remove debris. Replace a badly soiled or damaged air filter with a new one. Cooling fins on a gas-powered chain saw and air-intake slots on an electric model need to have dirt brushed away with a toothbrush before storage. Don’t use a wire brush because it can scratch the finish.

Drain the Fuel

  • Gasoline degrades over time, and gasoline left in a chain saw for more than 30 days can make starting the saw difficult due to gum deposits. Drain fuel from the chain saw's gas tank into a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved container. Because the draining process won’t remove all the fuel, replace the gas tank cap, reinstall the spark plug in the engine, engage the chain brake and then start the engine and let it run at idle speed until it shuts off on its own when it runs out of fuel. Don’t rev the engine. By letting the saw run at idle speed, oil in the fuel lubricates internal parts, which prepares them for storage.

Put it in a Safe Place

  • It’s important to store your chain saw with its guards on, and with the saw out of the reach of children to minimize the risk of injuries. Store the chain saw so its guide bar faces away from people who will pass by it. Keep the saw in a dust-free location where the temperature stays above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the saw came in a carrying case, then store it inside the case.

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