Why Won’t the Tensioner Turn on My Stihl Chainsaw? Understanding the Problem and Finding Solutions

Why Won't the Tensioner Turn on My Stihl Chainsaw

A Stihl chainsaw is a handy tool, but like all mechanical devices, it can sometimes encounter difficulties. One common issue is the tensioner failing to turn, which can disrupt the effective operation of the chainsaw.

This could be due to various reasons, including wear and tear, misalignment, or a problem with the chainsaw’s internal components.

A potential solution for a non-turning tensioner involves checking the tensioner assembly, ensuring that it’s correctly aligned, and replacing any worn-out parts.

In the following sections, we will delve into a detailed discussion of the intricacies of the problem with the chainsaw’s tensioner, its possible causes, and comprehensive solutions.

Understanding the Tension Mechanism of a Stihl Chainsaw

Below is a brief overview of the tension mechanism:

  • The tension mechanism in a chainsaw ensures the chain remains tight around the guide bar.
  • A correctly tensioned chain reduces the risks of chain derailment or snapping during operation.
  • The tensioner consists of a screw or dial that, when turned, adjusts the tightness of the chain.

Why Won’t the Tensioner Turn on My Stihl Chainsaw?: Possible Reasons

Below are a few possible reasons why the Stihl chainsaw tensioner won’t turn:

1. Dirt and Debris Accumulation

Over time and with regular use, dirt, wood chips, and other debris can accumulate around the tensioner area, making it difficult or impossible to turn.

2. Wear and Tear

With continuous use, the tensioner’s components can wear out, leading to malfunctions. Regular inspections are crucial to spot any signs of wear.

3. Corrosion

Moisture exposure can cause parts of the chainsaw, including the tensioner, to corrode. Corrosion can make it challenging to turn the tensioner.

4. Incorrect Assembly

If the chainsaw has been disassembled for cleaning or maintenance, incorrect reassembly might cause the tensioner to be misaligned or jammed.

Chainsaw Tension Screw Not Working: Solutions to Fix the Tensioner

Following are the ways to fix the tensioner when it is not working:

1. Clean the Tensioner Area

By regularly cleaning the tensioner and its surrounding areas, you can prevent dirt and debris from causing blockages.

2. Replace Worn Out Components

If wear and tear are the culprits, consider replacing the malfunctioning parts. It’s always a good idea to have a professional inspect the chainsaw if you’re unsure.

3. Address Corrosion Issues

Using anti-rust sprays and keeping your chainsaw dry will help mitigate and prevent corrosion. If parts are already corroded, replacement might be necessary.

4. Ensure Correct Assembly

Always refer to the user manual when assembling your chainsaw. If unsure, consult a professional or watch manufacturer-approved tutorials.


Tending to the tensioner of your Stihl chainsaw is pivotal for its performance and your safety. By understanding the common issues and their solutions; you can ensure that your tool remains in optimal condition.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider professional advice if ever in doubt.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the two types of tensioners?

Tensioners can be either static (fixed) or dynamic (moving) in operation.

How often should I tension my Stihl chainsaw chain?

For optimal performance and safety, check the chain tension every time before use. Adjust as needed, especially after installing a new chain.

Why Stihl Chain Tension Screw Won’t Tighten?

The Stihl chain tension screw might not tighten due to worn-out threads, a misaligned chain, or a faulty tensioner.

What happens when the chain tensioner fails?

When a chain tensioner fails, it can lead to a loose or overly tight chain, causing engine damage.

What causes a bad tensioner?

A bad tensioner is often caused by normal wear and tear.

What is a tensioner screw?

Bolt tensioners are devices designed to apply a specific tension to a bolt. The device may be either removed once the actual nut is threaded into place or left in place, in the case of a hydraulic nut.

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