While chainsaws are an essential tool for homeowners and professionals alike, it can be frustrating when your Stihl chainsaw starts leaking bar oil – especially since Stihl designs its models to be used at any angle without leaking oil! There are many ways to prevent your Stihl chainsaw from leaking bar oil.


9 Ways to Keep Your Stihl Chainsaw From Leaking Bar Oil

Here are nine ways to prevent your Stihl chainsaw from leaking bar oil. These methods account for all the possible reasons for a bar oil leak and will ensure your Stihl chainsaw works properly without leaking oil!

A person wearing black and red gloves is holding a silver and orange Stihl chainsaw

1. Check Your Stihl Chainsaw’s Oil Level

Overfilling your Stihl chainsaw’s oil reservoir is the most common cause of bar oil leaks. When the reservoir is too full, the oil will leak out of the oil cap – especially when there are changes in atmospheric pressure. Due to this, it’s important to make sure your oil reservoir is filled to the appropriate level. Your manual will outline how much oil your model’s oil reservoir needs.

2. Enure the Chainsaw Oil Cap Is Properly Tightened

Always ensure that your Stihl chainsaw’s oil cap is properly tightened. When the cap is loose or not properly aligned, bar oil leaks will be inevitable. You will need to replace your chainsaw’s oil cap if it is faulty or damaged in a way that prevents it from properly sealing. 

3. Inspect Your Chainsaw for Damage

Stihl recommends doing a visual check for any visible damage before using your chainsaw. Regularly inspecting your chainsaw can help prevent bar oil leaks caused by damaged seals and components. Routine checks will also allow you to spot signs of a bar oil leak early enough to fix the issue.

4. Clean Any Debris From Your Chainsaw

Your Stihl chainsaw must be cleaned after each use. When you’re cleaning your saw, you should pay close attention to the area around the oil tank and the oil hose. Any debris build-up in these areas can hinder the flow of oil and contribute to bar oil leaks.

Stihl recommends removing stubborn dirt before cleaning the chain and guide bar. You can then clean and resharpen your chain. Finally, clean the chainsaw’s casing, fill up the oil tank, and clean the oil passage. The following video outlines how to clean a Stihl chainsaw!

A person wearing yellow pants is using an orange and silver Stihl chainsaw to cut a white tree trunk

5. Ensure the Oil Filter Isn’t Clogged

Your Stihl chainsaw’s oil filter traps debris and other contaminants in the oil and prevents them from damaging your chainsaw. However, your oil filter will get clogged when improperly maintained, which can cause an oil leak. Chainsaw owners must get into the habit of routinely checking their chainsaw oil filter to ensure it isn’t clogged!

6. Only Use Your Chainsaw in an Upright Position

While Stihl chainsaws are designed to be used in any position without leaking oil, many factors can cause your chainsaw to leak oil. If you’re dealing with a minor leak and haven’t found the underlying issue, you can use your Stihl chainsaw in an upright position to prevent the bar oil from leaking.

7. Buy High-Quality Oil for Your Stihl Chainsaw

You cannot properly lubricate your chainsaw when using low-quality chainsaw oil or oil that isn’t designed for chainsaws. These oils are also more likely to clog the oil filter, causing sludge to build up, reducing your chainsaw’s performance, and causing leakages. Due to this, it’s important to only use high-quality oil that’s intended for use with chainsaws.

8. Properly Maintain Your Chainsaw

Properly maintaining your Stihl chainsaw will slow down the wear and tear of the chainsaw while preventing many issues with oil leakages. You must clean your chainsaw after every use and check the oil reservoirs to ensure you don’t run out of lubricating oil. Your chain also needs to be resharpened to ensure your chainsaw works properly.

9. Always Store Your Chainsaw Correctly

Stihl chainsaws use one-way valve oil tanks, allowing air into the tank while using the chainsaw. Due to this design, a change in atmospheric conditions can force oil out of the tank while the chainsaw is in storage. This issue is more common in regions with drastic changes between day and night temperatures.

Correctly storing your Stihl chainsaw can prevent oil from leaking. You should empty your chainsaw’s fuel tank before storing it in a dry place where it’s protected from dust and UV rays. A lockable cupboard is ideal for storing your chainsaw. You can dismantle the chain and bar and spray them with protective oil for increased protection during storage.

An orange and gray Stihl chainsaw was placed on top of green grass near the tall tree

Frequently Asked Questions

We have included some answers to some other commonly asked questions regarding chainsaws leaking bar oil below.

How Do You Know If Your Stihl Chainsaw Is Leaking Bar Oil?

Any bar oil dropping from the chain and running down your Stihl chainsaw clearly indicates that your model is leaking bar oil. There will also be oil stains around the base of your Stihl chainsaw. You can also determine whether your model is leaking bar oil by monitoring the reservoir’s oil level to see how quickly the level drops compared to usual.

What Happens When You Don’t Fix a Chainsaw Leaking Oil?

The lubrication of your Stihl chainsaw’s chain and bar is essential for the normal operation of your chainsaw. A bar oil leak will cause your chainsaw to have insufficient lubrication, which can cause it to overheat, damaging internal components. An oil leak will cause increased wear on the Stihl chainsaw’s components.

Why Does Your Chainsaw Only Leak Oil During Use?

Many people have noticed that their Stihl chainsaw only leaks bar oil while it’s being used. A clogged oil filter or a faulty oil pump are the most likely causes of this issue. These problems can cause the oil’s pressure to build, resulting in the bar oil leaking out of the oil tank or hose.

Midseason Stihl Chainsaw Maintenance - How I Clean My Stihl Chainsaw


It’s important to monitor your Stihl chainsaw for bar oil leaks to ensure it works properly. You can prevent your chainsaw from leaking bar oil by inspecting it for damage, ensuring the oil level is correct, checking the oil filter, storing it correctly, and properly maintaining your Stihl chainsaw. A professional should look at your Stihl chainsaw if you cannot fix the issue.

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