How To Store A Chainsaw So It Doesn’T Leak Oil

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

If you’re a frequent user of chainsaws or recently purchased your own, you may be wondering about the best practices for storing it. Unfortunately, a common and perplexing problem many chainsaw owners face is – oil leakage during storage. Yes, that pesky black liquid that stealthily seeps out, creating a mess and leading to many a headache.

In today’s post, we’re going to dig deep into the world of chainsaws, specifically focusing on their storage and how to avoid a common menace – oil leaks. Count on us to cut through the complexity, break down the jargon, and guide you to a cleaner, leak-free chainsaw storage experience.

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So, stick around if you’ve been wondering, “Why does my chainsaw leak oil when stored?” and “How can I prevent my chainsaw from leaking oil?” We’ve got the answers lined up just for you! Until the end, we promise to invigorate your chainsaw knowledge and save you from those future clean-ups!

How to Store Your Chainsaw Without Oil Leaking

1. Store the Chainsaw in a Proper Place

Have you ever woken up to a grim discovery of your chainsaw sitting in a pool of oil? Then you’re probably familiar with how frustrating this can be. One primary factor contributing to this problem is how and where you store your chainsaw.

For instance, storing your chainsaw in a too-hot or freezing-cold location can lead to oil leaks. Extreme temperatures cause the oil to expand or contract, which could eventually result in leakage. Proper ventilation is key as well. Storing your chainsaw in an area with poor ventilation could lead to pressure buildup inside the oil tank, which could again push out some oil.

2. The Influence of Prior Chainsaw Usage

So, we’ve talked about how storage conditions and faulty parts can cause oil leaks. Yet, there’s one more possible culprit – your chainsaw usage habits.

If your chainsaw is often overheated or overused, it could negatively impact its components’ longevity, leading to defects over time. Also, the oil inside might thicken and lead to blockages if it’s been a while since the last time you used your chainsaw. Such blockages can create pressure buildup, resulting in oil leaks once you attempt to store your chainsaw.

Similarly, using your chainsaw in extremely dusty or dirty conditions without thorough cleaning could result in debris entering the oil system, precipitating oil leakage.

3. Check the Oil Reservoir Before Storage

One crucial step in preventing your chainsaw from turning your storage area into an unwanted oil slick is checking your chainsaw’s oil reservoir before putting it away. So, let’s dive a little deeper into what this process entails.

The oil reservoir is like the chainsaw’s food pantry. It’s where it keeps its oil to stay lubricated and running smoothly. If it’s overly stuffed with oil, there are more chances of it sneaking out while your chainsaw rests.

Chainsaw’s oil reservoir and oil symbol

To check the oil reservoir:

  • first, ensure the chainsaw is turned off and cooled down to avoid any potential injury. This safety rule always needs to be followed when handling chainsaws. After all, their business end is a fast-moving chain of sharp teeth!
  • Next, locate and remove the oil cap. It’s often found on the side of the chainsaw and is typically marked with the word “OIL” or an oil droplet icon. Be careful, as these can sometimes be slippery if your chainsaw has already been leaking oil. If it’s tough to get a grip, try using a cloth or a pair of gloves.
  • Once the cap is off, look into the reservoir and assess the amount of oil in it. If your chainsaw’s oil reservoir is full to the brim, it’s a likely culprit for the oil that found its way onto your storage shelf. It’s best to empty the oil reservoir before you store the chainsaw if possible. You can use a small hand pump or syringe for this. Be sure to store the oil in a proper and safe container.
  • After emptying, the oil reservoir should be clean, and the chainsaw is ready for slumber, like a bear going into hibernation! Except instead of spending winter in a cave, your chainsaw is spending time in your tool shed or garage!

4. Ensure The Plugs are Secure

It’s time for a quick pop quiz! What’s the purpose of a chainsaw’s plug? If you said, “to keep the chainsaw’s internal components secure and prevent fluid leaks,” congratulations, you’re absolutely correct! A chainsaw has several types of plugs, like the oil plug and the fuel plug, each playing its own pivotal role in the chainsaw’s functionality and safety. When it comes to storing and preventing pesky oil leaks, ensuring these plugs are secure is non-negotiable.

Man securing the chainsaw oil plug

But how exactly do we do this? Here’s a step-by-step guide that’s as easy as pie:

  1. Inspect the Plugs: Before storing your chainsaw away, check the plugs. Are they damaged? Do they fit properly? Is there any visible substance on them or the surrounding area that shouldn’t be there? It might be time for a replacement if something seems’ off’.
  2. Clean the Plugs: Using a clean cloth or a soft brush, gently clean the plugs. It helps remove any dirt, oil, or residue that could compromise the plug’s seal over time. Remember – a clean chainsaw is a happy chainsaw!
  3. Tighten the Plugs: This is the essential part. Make sure that the plugs are securely tightened. However, be careful not to overtighten, as this could damage the plug or the threaded area. The plugs should be snug and firm, resisting easy removal.
  4. Double-Check: After tightening the plugs, give the chainsaw a once-over. Look for any leaks, unusual marks, or signs that the plug isn’t entirely secure. This small step could save you a lot of mess and money!

Now, you’ve added a strong layer of defense against oil leaks. This oil leak prevention, in turn, helps preserve the longevity of your chainsaw, saving you precious time and hard-earned money on repairs or replacement parts.

5. Consider Using a Storage Case

One important step in preventing your chainsaw from leaking oil is to store it correctly. More often than not, that means employing a proper storage case.

Many chainsaws come with a protective case or bag when purchased. This case not only shields your chainsaw from the elements but is also shaped in a way that supports the delicate parts of the chainsaw from becoming distorted or compromised. We’re not saying a bad storage case will bend your chainsaw out of shape, but great care is always better.

If your chainsaw didn’t come with a case, it’s not a problem. Countless chainsaw cases on the market cater to a wide variety of chainsaw types and sizes. When shopping for a chainsaw case, look for one that is tough, durable, and well-shaped. It should hold your chainsaw snugly while allowing for a little wiggle room.

Let’s talk about how to store the chainsaw in its case:

  • Firstly, confirm that your chainsaw is dry before placing it in the case. Any residual moisture could lead to rusting or other issues. Also, ensuring the chain brake is not engaged is a plus. This tiny adjustment can prevent the chainsaw, especially the clutch, from unnecessary strain.
  • In terms of the position, the chainsaw should be vertical, with the handle facing upward if possible. This orientation prevents oil leakage, as it aligns with the natural flow and function of the chainsaw.
  • Lastly, the case should be stored in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area. Extremes of temperature and humidity can be detrimental to the chainsaw’s health.

6. Examine the Inner Parts of the Chainsaw [Advanced]

Just like your car, maintaining your chainsaw’s health determines its longevity, and this maintenance includes closely inspecting and examining the inner body of your chainsaw before storing it away.

But why? you might ask. Is it so important to examine the inner body? Well, inside your chainsaw are the vital components that enable it to perform its job. From the engine to the oil reservoir, if damaged or malfunctioning, these parts could cause your chainsaw to leak oil–a symptom that should not be ignored.

Man replacing the chainsaw oil pump – Image by Sears PartsDirect from the video How to Replace a Chainsaw Oil Pump
  • Now, the first step is disconnecting the chainsaw from any power sources. If it’s gas-powered, ensure the gas tank is empty. For electric chainsaws, unplug from the power source or remove the battery pack.
  • With your chainsaw off, remove the casing and inspect the engine components. Look out for signs of wear and tear, loose parts, or any visible damage. Pay particular attention to the oil pump, the chainsaw’s heart. It regulates the amount of oil the chain gets. If it’s faulty, it might allow oil to seep through when the chainsaw is not in use.
  • Seals and O-rings that are worn out can cause oil leakage, as they are designed to keep the oil contained within the oil reservoir. These tiny parts might seem insignificant, but they play an important role in your chainsaw’s operation and maintenance.
  • The oil pump and oil line, essential for lubricating your chainsaw, could also malfunction and cause oil leakage. The oil pump, especially, could create harsh pressure on the tank if defective.
  • Inspect the oil reservoir. This area holds the oil that keeps the chainsaw lubricated. If the seal is broken or the tank is cracked, you’ll certainly have an oil leak on your hands. Hence, if the seals and the tank are in good condition, the chances of oil leaks will significantly decrease.
  • An often overlooked part of the chainsaw’s inner body is the clutch. It works with the sprocket to pull the chain around the guide bar. If the oil leaks from your chainsaw’s side, the clutch or the sprocket might be the culprit, so inspect them properly.

Once you’ve completed the thorough examination and dealt with any potential loose parts or damages, your chainsaw will be in a much better position for storage. Not only does this process prevent oil leaks, but it also maintains the efficacy of the chainsaw and prolongs its lifetime.

7. Upright Chainsaw Storage

Choosing the right position to store your chainsaw can significantly prevent oil leakage. Many experts recommend upright storage – But why is this the go-to storage position?

Storing your chainsaw upright promotes optimal oil flow, prepping it for active duty at any moment. It also has the considerable advantage of taking up less room, which is great for smaller workshops or garages.

Every chainsaw is different, and upright storage may not be the best method for every make and model. Always consult your chainsaw’s manual or contact the manufacturer for clarification.

When storing your chainsaw upright, you also want to ensure that the chainsaw is adequately supported. Because it’s standing straight up, it can be a bit top-heavy, and you’re going to want to prevent it from tipping over. You can use chainsaw storage brackets for this, as they provide secure storage and keep the chainsaw stationary.

Now that we’ve covered upright chainsaw storage, let’s move on to the next storage method – chainsaw hanging.

8. Chainsaw Hanging

One common storage method for chainsaws is hanging them up. It’s practical, saves on floor space, and allows easy access. But if it’s not done correctly, hanging your chainsaw can increase the likelihood of oil leakage. Here’s the proper way to approach it:

First things first, when hanging your chainsaw, you should never hang it by the chain. It might seem like the logical choice, given the chain’s strength. However, this will cause strain on the bar, leading to potential warping, bending, or even causing the chain to loosen over time. Instead, hang your chainsaw using strong hooks that are appropriately sized to bear the weight of your chainsaw. The back end of the saw, where the handle is, is usually the best place to attach the hook. Be sure the hook is secure, and your chainsaw hangs balanced, not leaning to one side or the other.

Regardless of how you’re storing your chainsaw, it’s likely to leak a little oil. Chainsaw oil tanks are designed to keep the chain lubricated while the saw is in use. It means they often take a while to stop distributing oil, even after the chainsaw has been turned off. If you’re mysteriously losing oil while the chainsaw is hanging, it’s probably because the oil hasn’t fully stopped distributing.

One trick to mitigate this problem is to run the chainsaw at high speed for a while before storage, without cutting anything, to clear the oil being pumped. That and cleaning the chainsaw before hanging it should prevent oil leaks.


Is it safe to hang my chainsaw for storage?

Yes, it can be safe to hang a chainsaw for storage, provided you have a secure location and the chainsaw is properly prepared for storage. Always ensure the chain is clean, the oil reservoir is correctly filled, and the machine is in a functioning state.

Why does my chainsaw continuously drain oil?

Chainsaws are designed to lubricate the chain, which requires a consistent oil supply. This operation can sometimes cause the saw to seep oil, especially if the oil cap isn’t secured properly, the oil viscosity is too low, or there’s a malfunction in the oiling system.

How should I prepare my chainsaw for winter storage?

To prepare your chainsaw for winter storage, drain any remaining fuel, clean your chain thoroughly, and oil the chain before storage to prevent rusting.

How long can gasoline be stored in a chainsaw?

Gasoline oxidizes and degrades over time, affecting its performance. It’s generally advisable to drain gasoline from a chainsaw if you’re storing it for more than a few weeks to avoid this.

Is it true that I should never store a chainsaw on its side?

Yes, horizontal storage can lead to oil or fuel leaks. Chainsaws should ideally be stored upright or hung securely to prevent such issues.