How To Fix An Electric Chainsaw Chain That Is Falling Off

How To Fix An Electric Chainsaw Chain That Is Falling Off

A loose electric chainsaw chain isn’t just an inconvenience when you’re in the middle of a woodworking job. It can also be dangerous if the chainsaw chain jumps the bar. Luckily, it’s a common problem easily fixed without resorting to a professional chainsaw technician. 

Below you’ll find a guide on why an electric chainsaw chain starts falling off and how you can fix the problem. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to learn exactly how to readjust an electric chainsaw chain so it stays tight for the rest of your project. 

What Causes a Chainsaw Chain to Fall Off?

The key to preventing your chainsaw chain from falling off is to figure out the root causes of this problem. A loose chainsaw chain can occur for several reasons:

  • Overheating: If your chainsaw isn’t properly lubricated, this can cause the chainsaw to overheat during operation. During overheating, the metal of the chainsaw chain expands, and this can cause it to become loose on the chainsaw bar. Overheating is usually due to lack of maintenance or a mechanical defect.
  • Jamming: If your chainsaw is jammed in a piece of wood during a cutting operation, this can cause the chainsaw chain to come loose from the chainsaw bar. Loose chainsaw chains caused by jamming have to be cleaned up and reseated before resuming operations.
  • Chainsaw chain is too loose: If the tension on the chainsaw is set incorrectly, the chainsaw is more likely to come loose from its guides on the sprocket. Adjusting the tension of the chainsaw chain and tightening it with the tension stud can prevent this problem. 

Whether your loose chainsaw chain results from needed maintenance or just an incorrect chain tension, the problem is easy to fix with a combination socket tool, some lubricant,  and a little elbow grease. 

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How to Fix an Electric Chainsaw Chain That’s Falling Off

How to Fix an Electric Chainsaw Chain That's Falling Off

If you have a loose electric chainsaw chain, cease all woodworking operations immediately. A loose chainsaw chain can damage your chainsaw or cause a serious injury if it comes off the chainsaw completely. Removing and reseating the chainsaw chain is a relatively simple procedure and should be done before any more cutting is attempted. 

Removing the Chain From the Electric Chainsaw

The first step to fixing a loose electric chainsaw chain is removing the chain. Here are the steps you should follow to take the chainsaw chain off:

  1. Release the chain break. This will loosen the chain on the bar and make it easier to remove. It’ll also make it easier to put the chainsaw back together when you’re done. 
  2. Remove the bolts and housing. Undo the bolts holding the chain to the bar, then remove the housing on the chainsaw. This will leave the chain and bar exposed.
  3. Remove the chain. Lift the bar off the chain tensioner and then lift the chain off.  

At this point, you may want to take off the clutch sprocket and rotate the chainsaw bar. Chainsaws wear on one side more than the other, and swapping the placement of the chainsaw bar can help even out wear on the chainsaw. 

Servicing the Electric Chainsaw Chain

After removing the chainsaw chain from the chainsaw, you need to clean and oil the chain, then check it for damage. 

If the chainsaw is missing several teeth or has other visible wear and tear, this could cause overheating and a loose chain over time. Other evidence that it might be time to replace your chainsaw chain is the presence of rust or smoke during operations.

You should also check the bar bolt for slippage. Slippage in the chainsaw bar bolt can lead to a loose chainsaw chain and in severe cases can even cause the chainsaw to throw the chain entirely. 

If the chainsaw chain is in good enough shape to save without being replaced, it’s a good idea to sharpen and oil the chain before replacing it. The chainsaw bar and the rest of the chainsaw should also be cleaned to keep any wood shavings or other debris away from the chain’s operation. 

Replacing the Electric Chainsaw Chain

After servicing the chainsaw chain, the final step in fixing a loose chainsaw chain is to reseat the chain and tighten it. Here’s the process you should follow: 

  1. Line up the tension stud with the guide hole. This will allow you to reattach the chain to the chainsaw bar.
  2. Align the chain with the sprocket. Place the chainsaw chain back in its guides on the edge of the chainsaw.
  3. Tighten the chainsaw chain. This can be done by adjusting the tension stud. Be sure not to over-tighten the chain, as this can impair movement and cause the chainsaw chain to stall or overheat.
  4. Check chain movement. Once you’ve adjusted the chainsaw chain, try to move the chain in the guides to see how freely it moves. The chain should move freely without slipping free of the bar. Use the tension bar stud to further adjust the chain’s tightness. 

If you’re unsure about the specifics of adjusting your chainsaw chain, try consulting the owner’s manual for your chainsaw’s make and model. This can give you a little more confidence when it comes to servicing your own equipment. 

Test the Chainsaw

Once you’ve tightened your chainsaw chain and put it back together, it’s time to test the chainsaw and see if the operation of the chain is improved. If you’ve successfully tightened the chainsaw chain, it should no longer be loose or falling off when you’re using it. You can also tell that a chainsaw chain is tightened correctly when it cuts straight rather than at a slant. 

If your chainsaw chain loosens again immediately, you need to readjust the chainsaw’s tension and re-tighten the nuts.


Even if you’re not very handy, it’s smart to be able to service your chainsaw and know the signs to look for if your chainsaw is having mechanical problems. A malfunctioning chainsaw is a dangerous tool, so do yourself a favor and learn how to fix it before it becomes a serious problem.

If you feel its time for a new electric chainsaw, or any electric yard tool, be sure to check out our Best Electric Yard Tools page to see our top picks and more!

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