Oiling chainsaws chain is essential when it comes to maximizing their usefulness and lifespan. Every person that uses a chainsaw can attest that using the proper chain oil goes a long way. Not only does oiling reduce friction, but it also keeps away debris and dust away. Dust and debris can clog the chainsaw, and as a result, there will be increased friction. The right type of chain oil will extend your chainsaw‘s life by reducing friction, which causes wear and corrosion.
The choice of chain oil to use may be affected by many factors. These factors include:
- Manufacturers recommendation – most chainsaw operators buy a specific brand of chain oil because the manufacturer has recommended it. Most manufacturers recommend a particular brand for their products.
- Availability – the recommended chain oil may not be available in your locality. These circumstances may force you to look for the next best option that is available in your area.
- Affordability- the recommended chain oil can also be too expensive for you. You may have to look for an alternative that fits well in your budget.
- Personal preference – your tastes may influence the type of chain oil that you’ll use for your chainsaw. You may purchase a particular brand of chain oil because you like the package, smell, performance, among other factors. Some people may also buy certain brands because they are concerned about the ecosystem.
- Incentives – some chain oil buyers may choose a particular brand because it offers discounts and other incentives.
There are several types of chain oils. The distinction between the various models is characterized by the components used in manufacture, stickiness, temperature tolerance, eco-friendliness, weight, among other factors. The types of chain oils discussed in this article are standard and alternative chain oils. Standard chain oils, in this case, refer to the lubricants recommended by the manufacturer. Alternatives are the ones used to substitute conventional oils.
Most chainsaw manufacturers recommend a specific brand of chainsaw chain oil for their chainsaws. Sometimes manufacturers recommend more than one chain oil brand. Some manufacturers produce their chain oils. In most cases, the recommended chain oil is usually the best for that particular chainsaw. Their recommendation is often based on many factors best known by the manufacturer.
The recommended chain oil usually has antioxidants and anti-wear agents that suit your chainsaw, reducing corrosion and wear. Over the years, petroleum-based chain oils have been considered standard. It is highly advised that you use lightweight grades in cold seasons and denser grades in the warm seasons.
Although petroleum-based oils are mostly recommended for chainsaw chains, they have several disadvantages. They are non-degradable hence harmful to the environment and living organisms. They subject plants to hazards, and chainsaw operators may develop health complications over time. For plants, these hazards may include stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and low yields due to insufficient flow of air. Oil spillage may cause the death of organisms that live in the soil. Operators may develop health complications like eczema, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and cancer.
It is vital that you buy the recommended oil to ensure your chainsaw’s effectiveness and prolong your lifespan. Even though the recommended oil is usually the best, there are a few oils that have been to work well for all chainsaws. If you feel that the recommended oil does not perform as well as you wish, you could always do some research and find out what works best for you. When looking for a chain oil, you should consider factors like:
- Stickiness – A sticky oil provides enough adhesion, therefore, preventing friction. This protects the chain and bar from wear and corrosion.
- Slipperiness – The oil must also be able to keep debris and dust, which may clog the chain.
- It must be correct for the air temperature – To know if the air temperature is right for the chosen oil, hold the chainsaw about 8 inches away from a tree stump. Proceed to rev the chainsaw to around 75% throttle for 60 seconds. If the temperature is suitable, a line will form on the tree stump, and there will be movement of oil from the oiler.
- Eco-friendliness – you should purchase chain oil that is friendly to both the operator and the environment. Try searching for chain oils that are biodegradable and health-friendly.
Substitutes for the standard
Even though petroleum-based chain oils are considered the best, not everyone agrees. According to many sources, petroleum-based chain oils provide the best lubrication and stickiness. There are many reasons why some people may prefer not to use them. Let’s look at a few of them
Sometimes the standard chainsaw chain oil may be out of the question. It may be because you have run out of conventional oil, and you do not have the time or resources to get some more. Some individuals may opt-out to using petroleum-based products due to their concerns about the environment. Whatever your reasons are, there a few alternatives to using standard chainsaw oil. Here are a few substitutes that work:
- Vegetable oils
These are crop-based oils used to substitute petroleum-based oils. Unlike petroleum-based oils, they are health-friendly and environmentally friendly. They are made from biodegradable substances, hence do not harm the environment. Prolonged use of these oils does not cause harm to the users. They do not expose users to cancer, eczema, or oil acne.
However, vegetable oils also have some downsides for them. They have slightly high oxidation rates compared to their petroleum-based counterparts. They are also severely affected by low temperatures. Due to these shortcomings, some additives have to be added to the oil.
- Canola oil
Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed. It is a good substitute for petroleum-based oils. Canola oil is renewable, highly biodegradable, and non-hazardous to the environment. The continued use of canola oil guarantees a prolonged lifespan for chainsaw because of its impeccable lubrication and adhering properties. Recent studies have shown that there can be up to 40% reduction in oil consumption when using canola oil, without putting your chainsaw to risk. This reduces your expenditure on chain oil.
Canola oil is also safe for operators. Its composition is almost similar to that of the human skin oil; therefore, it does not cause eczema or irritation. Due to its low vapor pressure, operators do not inhale its fumes. As compared to vegetable oils, canola oil has more tolerance to temperature variations.
- Motor oil
If you are short of chainsaw oil and urgently need to use your chainsaw, another option could be motor oil. This should be readily available to you, especially if you own a car. Chainsaw manufacturers recommend that you use SAE 30 during warm seasons and SAE 10 during the colder season. If you don’t have unused oil, all you have to do is filer the oil from your vehicle. However, this should be your last resort. Used motor oil is known to destroy chainsaws because of metal particles present in it. You should bear in mind that however much you filter the oil, small metal particles will still be present. These tiny particles will cause damage to both the chain and the bar.
As motor oil is petroleum-based, it is harmful to both the user and the environment. When the chain spins, small oil particles fly off into the air. Some fall on the ground, negatively affecting plants and small animals in the soil. The operator also inhales the oil-contaminated air, while some particles fall on their skin. Petroleum is known to contain carcinogens. By using motor oils for your chainsaw, you are subjecting yourself to the risk of getting eczema, irritation, respiratory disease, and cancer.
- Hydraulic oil
Another alternative to using for your chainsaw is hydraulic oil. Just like motor oil, it should be your last option. It dries quicker than any other chainsaw oil. This means that you will have to oil the chainsaw constantly. Since it dries fast, you may have to mix it with another chain oil to reduce this effect. As it has a high consumption rate, hydraulic oil is relatively expensive to use. Prolonged use of hydraulic for the chain will cause damage to the saw.
Hydraulic oil is also dangerous to both the user and the environment. It is non-degradable and toxic.
If you want your chainsaw to serve you for an extended period, you must regularly oil the chain and the bar. It is widely known that things that are well taken care of last. Lubrication of the string is essential because it reduces friction and prevents wear in the long run.
Take your time to discover which chain oil works well for you. You should keep in mind that the oil used dramatically affects the performance of the chainsaw. It also has an impact on the durability of the chainsaw. The good thing is that there are multiple options for everyone, even those who are conscious about the environment.