Chainsaws are one of the most useful power tools for cutting wood, which is why they’re commonly used by homeowners and professionals alike. While chainsaws are versatile and powerful tools, many people have wondered what happens if a chainsaw hits dirt while you’re using it to cut wood.


What Happens If You Hit Dirt With Your Chainsaw?

Hitting abrasive dirt with your chainsaw is one of the few things you shouldn’t do with your power tool. Hitting these abrasive materials with your chainsaw will result in your chainsaw’s chain getting dull more quickly and cause debris to get trapped between the chain and the guide bar. 

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Dirt, sand, or dust trapped between your chainsaw’s bar and chain will prevent your chain from operating smoothly and cause it to become worn and stretched. The chain can break or come off the guide bar if it hits dirt while running at high speeds. A dull chain will also cause your chainsaw to consume more fuel.

However, you can damage more than just the chain and bar by hitting the dirt with your chainsaw! Trapped particles can cause your chainsaw’s motor to strain and overheat, damaging internal components. Due to this, hitting dirt can cause your chainsaw’s sprocket, pistons, and cylinders to malfunction. 

While you should try avoiding hitting the ground or dirt with your chainsaw, even professionals occasionally make this mistake! To ensure your chainsaw isn’t damaged, you should turn it off, inspect the power tool for damage, and clean it properly before using it again. Doing this will prevent your chainsaw from getting damaged or injuring you. 

8 Steps To Clean Your Chainsaw After Hitting Dirt

You should follow these eight steps to properly inspect and clean your chainsaw if you hit the ground or dirt while using it to cut wood!

Step One: Unplug Your Chainsaw 

Always turn your chainsaw off and unplug it before inspecting or cleaning it. Doing this will prevent accidents from happening.

Step Two: Remove The Chain 

You can now remove the chain from your unplugged chainsaw. Depending on the chainsaw model you have, you may need to remove the bar with the chain to properly inspect and clean them. Your chainsaw’s manual will have instructions to follow when removing the chain or bar.

Step Three: Inspect Your Chainsaw 

You can now inspect your chainsaw for any damage. The extent of the damage to your saw will depend on how many times the chain made contact with the abrasive dirt and the type of dirt it was hitting. If you noticed sparks, a strange sound, or a kickback, your chainsaw was likely damaged in some way. 

You should inspect the chain for broken teeth and cracks. While broken parts can be sanded down to fix them, you may need to replace the chain if it sustains more serious damage. Make sure to inspect the guide bar and the body of your chainsaw for signs of damage, too!

Step Four: Clean The Chain 

Use a chain cleaning product to loosen and remove dirt stuck to the chain. A brush can be used to scrub the chain clean. Always use a glove when cleaning the chain with chemicals and rinse it off before drying it. 

Step Five: Sharpen Your Chain

You should sharpen your chainsaw’s chain after even brief encounters with any dirt. A dull chainsaw will be slow and ineffective when cutting wood, so it’s important to ensure your chain is sharp and works properly.

Step Six: Remove Dirt From The Guide Bar

Use a bristled brush to remove any remaining dirt from your chainsaw, paying close attention to the guide bar.

If you have an older bar, this might be a good time to replace it with a new chains.

Step Seven: Lubricate Your Chainsaw

You can lubricate your chainsaw once you’ve sharpened I, which will protect it from rust and prevent the chain from wearing. 

Step Eight: Reassemble Your Chainsaw

Finally, reassemble your chainsaw before testing it to see if it works properly. You should get your chainsaw inspected by a professional if you notice any issues after testing it.

4 Tips To Avoid Hitting the Dirt With Your Chainsaw 

While even the most advanced chainsaw operator will let the bar hit dirt from time to time, there are a few helpful tips that can prevent you from hitting the ground with your chainsaw!

1. Only Use Your Chainsaw For Its Intended Purpose

Never use a chainsaw to dig or move dirt since this can damage your chainsaw’s components. Your power tool should only be used for its intended purpose, which is to cut wood!

2. Keep Materials Off The Ground When Cutting

You can get a guide or a block of wood to keep your materials off the ground when cutting wood. Rolling logs while cutting them will also prevent your chainsaw from hitting any dirt.

3. Clear The Area Around The Material You’re Cutting 

Be mindful of any hazards your chain might come into contact with when operating your chainsaw. Clearing dirt, rocks, and other foreign objects can prevent you from hitting objects you’re not supposed to cut. 

4. Use Protective Gear To Prevent Inhaling Particles

Always wear protective gear when using your chainsaw. While this tip won’t prevent you from hitting abrasive dirt with your chainsaw, it will prevent flying particles from injuring you!

5. Make Sure You Can Handle the Chainsaw Weight

Some larger chainsaws, like the 20″ models, are really heavy! As a result, they can be much easier to drop.

Using heavier chainsaws can make it a lot easier to drop the tool into the dirt. If the weight is an issue, opt for a lighter weight model, like chainsaws that are made specifically for women.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Hitting Dirt Damage A Chainsaw? 

Hitting abrasive materials like dirt will damage your chainsaw. Due to this, it’s important to inspect your chainsaw for damage and follow the correct maintenance steps after hitting the ground or dirt. The following YouTube video explains why hitting dirt will damage your saw! 

How To Ruin Your Chainsaw: Hitting the Dirt

Can You Repair A Chainsaw Damaged By Hitting Dirt? 

If more than your chain was damaged by hitting abrasive dirt, you should get your chainsaw inspected and repaired by a professional repair shop or service center. The professionals will be able to diagnose the problem and give you a quotation for the necessary repair. 


Hitting the ground or dirt with your chainsaw can damage the chain and internal components. Due to this, it’s important to immediately switch off your chainsaw to inspect it for damage and properly clean it. There are ways to prevent hitting dirt while using your chainsaw, including keeping materials off the ground when cutting them.

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