How to Tighten a Stihl Chain Saw


A Stihl chainsaw, like all other chainsaws, should be inspected for chain tension often. Make a rule to check the tension before performing any task with the saw. A chainsaw that has become too loose may slip from the nose bar of the saw and cause injury. To test the tension, pull the saw chain away from the nose bar with moderate force. You should not be able to pull the chain far enough to disengage the drive links on the underside of the chain from the nose bar. Tighten your Stihl's chain at the first sign of loose tension.

  • Turn off the Stihl chainsaw. Check the chain tension by pulling the chain away from the bar nose (the main metal part that extends from the saw's motor and supports the chain). The chain should spring back onto the bar if the tension level is correct. If the chain does not "snap back" against the nose bar, tighten the saw chain.

  • Pull the handle for the wing-nut on the right side of the saw's motor. Turn the wing-nut counterclockwise two full turns to loosen it.

  • Turn the adjusting wheel clockwise with your thumb until it stops. The adjusting wheel is located on the upper edge of the chainsaw, to the right of the handle.

  • Test the tension of the chain by pulling it from the nose bar. If the tension is sufficient (the chain snaps back against the nose bar) you are finished. If there is still slack in the chain, turn the adjusting wheel further. Pull the chain along the nose bar. The chain should flow easily over the bar to signify a proper tensioning.

  • Tighten the wing-nut and fold down the wing-nut handle.

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