To help a chainsaw begin a hard life of work on the right foot, special care should be taken. Without a “breaking in” period, a new chainsaw engine could be ruined before it even gets started. Manufacturers include instructions for the first few uses as well as for subsequent uses. It is important to follow those basic instructions to keep the chainsaw engine smooth, efficient, and reliable for a long time.
Just like a hardworking athlete who must warm up and stretch before performing in order to prevent injury, so too does the chainsaw engine need to ease into running before beginning the harder work of cutting a big tree. This is easily done by allowing the chainsaw engine to idle for a couple of minutes rather than putting it straight to work while the engine is still cold. It is suggested that one should not even adjust the engine’s ability to rev higher until it has had at least a week’s worth of consistent use.
Mixing the fuel properly will also keep the chainsaw engine running smoothly. Chainsaw engines require the gas and 2-cycle engine oil to be mixed at a certain ratio (each engine will have its own specifications given by the manufacturer). More is not better in the case of oil to gas. Use only the ratio given by the chainsaw engine manufacturer because increasing the oil will cause problems. Without the proper amount of gas in the mixture, the engine burning the oil will not have its full power capacity. Since the engine will be running on less gas and more oil, more contaminates will be released as smoke. Not all will be flushed properly, so contaminates will build up on the bearings, cylinder, and inside surfaces of the crankshaft making it harder for the engine to stay cool.
The 2-cycle chainsaw engine can overheat easily, especially during hotter seasons. Cleaning under the top cover around the cylinder’s cooling fins will help air flow to continue keeping the engine cooler.
The chain itself can help keep the engine in good shaped if it is maintained properly. If the chain is run with slack in it, a burr will form on the bar, which will make the engine work harder to accomplish the cut. This extra effort causes more heat that can damage the engine over time. At the end of a use, you should slacken the chain. As the chain cools back off after use, it will contract and possibly pull the clutch end of the crankshaft out of alignment causing it to run roughly.
Never continue cutting when the chainsaw engine is running low on fuel. Doing this will force the engine to run on fuel that may have more air than oil. Obviously, the lubricating ability is lessened by being almost empty, which will eventually shorten the life of the chainsaw engine.
Once the chainsaw engine has been gently broken in, regular maintenance will keep it running smoothly. Paying attention to the warm-up, fuel mix, chain, and fuel level, you can keep your chainsaw engine in good shape.