Why Is My Chainsaw Smoking? How to Fix it?

Smoke coming out of your chainsaw is a sign that something isn’t quite right. If you’re experiencing smoke from your chainsaw, there are several possible causes to look into.

White smoke indicates that there is condensed water heating inside the chainsaw. Improper oiling and friction are the most common reasons your chainsaw is smoking.

If you’ve ever witnessed your chainsaw emitting a thick plume of smoke, you’ve likely been hit with a mix of concern and confusion. This smoke can be alarming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with what might be causing it.

This article will explore the reasons behind a smoking chainsaw and offer guidance on how to address it.

Understanding Chainsaw Smoke

At the most basic level, chainsaw smoke indicates that something within the tool isn’t functioning correctly. This smoke typically emerges from the engine or the chain area.

The smoke’s color and smell can provide clues about the underlying issue, be it fuel-related or a mechanical malfunction.

Why Is My Chainsaw Smoking? Common Causes

The most common reasons behind smoking chainsaws include:

  • Oil Contamination
  • Improper Fuel-Oil Mixing Ratio
  • Dirty Air Filter
  • Poorly Adjusted Carburettor Settings
  • Carbon Buildup on the Piston Head or Cylinder Walls.

Following are a few reasons why your chainsaw is smoking.

  • Incorrect Fuel Mixture: Chainsaws require a specific mixture of gasoline and oil. An improper ratio can lead to incomplete combustion, resulting in smoke.
  • Overheated Chain: Insufficient lubrication can cause the chain to overheat. This friction-induced heat causes the lubricant to burn, producing smoke.
  • Blocked Air Filter: A clogged air filter restricts airflow to the carburetor, making the fuel mixture too rich and causing it to burn inefficiently.
  • Maladjusted Carburetor: An improperly adjusted carburetor can disrupt the balance of air and fuel entering the combustion chamber.
  • Engine Problems: Issues within the engine, like worn-out piston rings or cylinder damage, can lead to oil seeping into the combustion area, resulting in smoke.

Why Chainsaw is Smoking? Effective Solutions and Maintenance Tips

The first step in addressing a smoking chainsaw is to ascertain the underlying cause. Once you understand why your chainsaw is emitting smoke, you can begin working on solutions.

  • Fuel Mixture: Ensure you’re using the correct gasoline-to-oil ratio as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Lubrication: Regularly check the oil level and ensure the oiler is functioning correctly to keep the chain well-lubricated.
  • Air Filter Maintenance: Clean or replace the air filter periodically to ensure optimal airflow.
  • Carburetor Adjustment: If you suspect carburetor issues, consider consulting a professional or referring to the user manual for adjustment guidance.
  • Routine Inspection: Regularly inspect the chainsaw for signs of wear and tear, especially within the engine, to catch potential issues early on.

Why wont my chainsaw start when its hot?

There can be several reasons why your chainsaw might not start when it’s hot. It is due to fuel becomes hot.

One potential issue could be vapour lock, a phenomenon that occurs when the chainsaw’s fuel vaporizes in the carburetor or fuel line, disrupting the flow of fuel to the engine.

Another common problem can be a faulty ignition coil that becomes ineffective once it heats up.

Moreover, an overly rich fuel mixture, clogging in the cooling fins, or a malfunctioning choke can all contribute to this problem.

To fix these issues, you might need to replace the faulty parts or adjust your fuel mixture according to your chainsaw’s specifications.

Always remember to let your chainsaw cool down between uses to prevent overheating.


In conclusion, while a smoking chainsaw can be disconcerting, understanding the potential causes and solutions can empower users to address issues promptly.

Regular maintenance and vigilance play pivotal roles in ensuring the longevity and safety of your chainsaw. I personally recommend dedicating time after each use to clean your chainsaw, check for any visible damage, and ensure your fuel mixture and oil levels are correct.


Why does chainsaw blade produce smoke and how do you properly use a chainsaw?

If a chainsaw blade or chain is emitting smoke, it could indicate a clogged or malfunctioning oiler system, or it could be caused by cutting something with dried oil.
Ensure proper functioning of the oiler system and be cautious when cutting objects with dried oil to prevent smoke.

How long can gasoline sit in a chainsaw?

Gasoline can sit in a chainsaw for up to 60 days. After this duration, the fuel may start to degrade, potentially damaging the engine. Therefore, it’s recommended to use fresh fuel.

Is it normal for a new chainsaw to smoke slightly?

Smoking is not a typical occurrence for a chainsaw. However, if you notice smoke coming from your chainsaw, it may be a sign of overheating.

What color smoke indicates a fuel mixture problem?

Black smoke usually suggests a fuel mixture problem. This often signifies that the chainsaw is burning oil, possibly due to an improper fuel-oil ratio or engine issues.

How can I prevent my chainsaw’s chain from overheating?

I can prevent the chainsaw chain from overheating by adding oil, and allow the saw to cool down.

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