Stihl Chainsaw Leaking Bar Oil: Why and How to Fix It?

I can imagine how frustrating it must be to have your new Stihl chainsaw leaking bar oil. You must be utterly disappointed to spend so much money on a power tool that ends up spilling bar oil.

Stihl chainsaws tend to leak bar oil when you put too much bar oil in or when the oil seals are damaged. The good news is that you can fix these problems by draining excessive oil and replacing seals that have worn out.

stihl chainsaw leaking bar oil why and how to fix it

In the article, I give a comprehensive explanation of why certain machines like the Stihl 029 chainsaw leaking bar oil. I will also discuss some effective ways to solve this problem.

Let’s dive right in!

What Is The Purpose Of Bar Oil In Chainsaws?

While gasoline is often associated with chainsaws, bar oil is almost as important. Here’s why:

Chainsaws consume a lot of oil, like a whole lot. And that oil must find a home. It’s the bar, a vital component of the saw, and that’s what does the cutting.

The bar spins at high speeds, causing friction and generating heat. This is where bar oil shines the brightest.

Purpose Of Bar Oil In Chainsaws

It keeps the bar and chain cool and reduces friction by lubricating the moving parts. It also prevents the corrosion of metal.

It is also a good idea to check the bar oil level before you use the saw. If it’s low, you’ll need to top it off since the saw won’t work properly without enough bar oil.

Why Does My Stihl Chainsaw Leak Bar Oil?

Doesn’t it seem awful to have your Stihl chainsaw leaking bar oil when running? Let’s investigate what might be causing this problem.

Why Does My Stihl Chainsaw Leak Bar Oil

  1. Excessive Bar Oil

One of the leading causes of why your Stihl chainsaw leaks oil is an overfilled bar oil reservoir.

It is no secret that saws require enormous amounts of oil to run. To avoid repeatedly refilling the machine, people typically add more oil than necessary.

Having used chainsaws for many years, I, too, have made this mistake. The extra bar oil usually leaks out as soon as you start running the saw.

You can easily prevent the problem by checking the oil level. Most chainsaws today have an indicator that shows how much oil is needed.

  1. Broken Oil Seals

Your 034 Stihl chainsaw leaking bar oil, and you’ve got a project coming up? Make sure the oil seals are in good shape.

It could be that the oil seals on the bar are faulty. These seals sit between the bar and the chain. They keep the chainsaw from leaking oil.

After a long period of use, the oil seals may wear out. In that case, you cannot help but replace them.

  1. Pump Failure

Though I listed it third, oil pump failure is yet another common source of bar oil leaks.

The pump is responsible for transferring oil from the tank to the chain and bar. If the component malfunctions, it could cause the chainsaw to leak oil.

Your next question could be, why is a pump failing? Well, the reason is quite simple: it clogged up after prolonged use.

  1. Defected Sprocket Cover

One of the main causes of bar oil leaks occurs when the sprocket cover is damaged or loose. The sprocket cover is what shields the chain as it moves around the bar.

  1. Damaged Bar

It’s also possible that the bar itself is damaged. I was extremely worried when I noticed my Stihl 025 chainsaw leaking bar oil.

However, my eye was drawn to a bent bar on the saw a moment later. It wasn’t long before I realized that it caused the oil to leak.

If all of the above appears to be in order, perhaps the time has come to swap out the Stihl bar.

How To Stop Stihl Chainsaw From Leaking Bar Oil?

The following are five effective methods to stop Stihl chainsaws from leaking bar oil.

How To Stop Stihl Chainsaw From Leaking Bar Oil

  1. Changing the O-ring

The most likely reason is that the O-ring that seals the bar oil reservoir has worn out or been damaged. It is responsible for maintaining the reservoir of oil. When it’s damaged, the oil can leak.

If you identify the O-ring as the issue, consider replacing it. You can get O-ring replacements at most hardware stores.

If you’re unsure how to replace the O-ring, refer to your Stihl chainsaw owner’s manual.

  1. Replacing the Reservoir

Another reason why Stihl chainsaws leak bar oil is damaged bar oil reservoirs. If the reservoir cracks or is damaged, the oil will leak.

If the reservoir can no longer be repaired, you have no alternative but to replace it.

  1. Unclogging the Oil Line

The next thing to check is the oil line. It could be that there is a kink in the line or that it is clogged. The likelihood of clogging is higher.

You must remove the clog if you determine that it is the culprit. A wire brush is the best tool to use to clean the clog.

  1. Cleaning Oil Outlets

Not sure about you, but I am not fond of the sawdust that remains after trees are cut down. It creates a mess and can even damage the chainsaw.

For instance, too much sawdust around the clutch and sprocket can block their oil outlets.

Locate these outlets in your owner’s manual and make sure they are regularly inspected and cleaned.

  1. Avoiding Oil Overfill

Overfilling the bar oil reservoir is a common practice. This causes oil to drip out of the chainsaw.

When you notice your chainsaw is leaking bar oil, you should check the reservoir’s level first. If it is overfilled, simply pour some oil out.

Related: Stihl MS 391 Problems, Troubleshooting With Solutions

Why Stihl Chainsaw Leaks Bar Oil When Stored?

Let’s take a closer look at why Stihl chainsaws leak bar oil after they have been stored.

Why Stihl Chainsaw Leaks Bar Oil When Stored

  1. Long-term Storing

If the saw is stored for too long without being used, the seals can start to dry out and allow oil to leak.

  1. Surplus Oil

Another reason your Stihl chainsaw may be leaking bar oil is that it is overfilled with oil.

When the oil tank fills up too much, the oil can seep out through the seals and gaskets, and it will eventually start to leak.

  1. Running without Cutting

Stihl chainsaws may leak bar oil because you’re running them without cutting anything.

Often, while storing, I run the chainsaw to make sure it’s working. However, every time I did it, I found that the bar started leaking oil.

  1. Temperature Fluctuations

And finally, oil seepage occurs when the temperature changes.

If the inside temperature changes suddenly, the oil in the tank can expand or contract, and this may cause it to leak.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to fix a chainsaw that leaks bar oil.

Just put a piece of cardboard or foil underneath the saw to catch the oil. This will prevent oil from contaminating the surrounding area.

How Do I Know If My Chainsaw Is Leaking Too Much Oil?

When your chainsaw leaks more oil than usual, it will soak the ground around it. The chainsaw’s bar and chain will also be covered with oil.

On the other hand, if your chainsaw’s oil reservoir is empty even after being filled just a few hours ago, it’s likely oil has been leaking heavily.

How Do I Fix A Stihl Chainsaw MS170 Leaking Bar Oil?

You can fix your Stihl MS 170 leaking bar oil in 3 ways.

  1. Identify the oil level of the bar oil reservoir. If the oil overflows, take some of it out.
  2. Check the oil pump. The oil pump sits under the flywheel and has a small screen. In case the screen is clogged, clean it with a small wire brush.
  3. Lastly, examine the oil seals. They reside on the bottom of the oil pump and are susceptible to wear. You should replace them if you believe they are damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Chainsaws Always Leak Bar Oil?

The answer is no, not always. In most cases, a saw will begin to leak bar oil after an extended period of use.
Leaks occur for a variety of reasons. For example, if the chainsaw has been stored upright, the bar oil could leak. Moreover, if the chainsaw is stored sideways, the oil may seep out of the bar too.

To Sum Up

Stihl chainsaws are excellent tools for anyone tasked with cutting down limbs or trees. Nevertheless, just like any other tool, they also have their shortcomings.

One of them concerns the leakage of bar oil. However, there is no need to worry about this since you can avoid the problem by not overfilling the tank.

You should also look out for oil pump failures and damaged oil seals to prevent this issue from occurring.

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