Maintaining your chainsaw properly will add years to its life and make every job go more smoothly.

It will also allow you to run it more safely since the blade will be sharp and you won’t need to put undue pressure on the saw to get through a tough cut.

Make sure your saw is cool to the touch if you’ve been using it, and follow these tips for maintaining your chainsaw. You’ll enjoy safe, effective performance from it every time you put it to work.

1. Have the proper tools and materials available. This should be before you begin so that you won’t have to stop the job part way through to get what you need.

Not only is that a hassle, but it’s also possible you’ll lose track of what you’ve done and forget to complete an important maintenance step.

You should have your owner’s manual for the saw – and if you’ve lost yours, a .pdf version is probably available online from Husqvarna, Stihl, Craftsman, Poulin, Remington, Homelite and the other top manufacturers.

Also gather your chainsaw oil, sharpener, cleaning solution, file, screwdrivers and a couple of rags.

2. Start by cleaning your chainsaw. Disassemble it enough to get sawdust and grime completely out of it.

Dirt especially can lead to excessive wear on moving parts so you’ll want to remove that with a gentle cleaning solution and a rag.

You might use an air compressor to blow out debris in hard to reach places. Remove pine tar and tree sap from the machine as well.

3. Oil the internal parts according to the manufacturer’s specifications. You may not have to do this when maintaining your chainsaw every time. A visual check will let you know whether or not it needs it.

4. Check the air filter when maintaining your chainsaw that is gas powered. Clean or replace it as needed.

Do the same with the spark plug. Check for wear and tear on any other parts that might be due for replacement.

Put the unit back together once this job is complete, checking to see that all screws are tight, including those you didn’t remove. The vibrations of the working saw have a way of loosening fasteners.

4. Visually check the blade for evidence of damage.

If it doesn’t need replacing then sharpen the blade as specified in the manual. Having the right size file is essential to getting the proper edge on the blade.

Once you’ve got it sharp, oil the chain and bar to protect it from corrosion and to properly lubricate it.

5. The next major step in maintaining your chainsaw is to tension the chain correctly.

This is one of those tasks that are worth completing and then double-checking since, along with the sharpness of the blade, is most essential for both safety and top performance of your machine.

When you’ve finished maintaining your chainsaw fire it up and test it. Put it through a few logs to make sure you’ve got everything functioning as it should.

Readjust the bar or correct anything else now while you tools are handy. Having to stop out on the job to do it is never convenient.

Keep safe and effective with these basic steps and your chainsaw will be a workhorse machine for you.

Read More: Best Chainsaw Under $200