What Weight is Bar and Chain Oil?

What Weight is Bar and Chain Oil

If you have ever operated a chainsaw before, then you more than likely know that bar oil was specifically designed to stick to the bar and chain of the saw.  In fact, it does not have any type of SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) grade, which is very similar to that of the motor oil, which you use in your car.  However in the case of chainsaws, the SAE grade is rated to be used in both the winter and summer seasons.  While each manufacturer is going to have their own recommendation for the type of oil that they recommend you use and what grade it should be, it is best if you check your chainsaw’s owner manual when you are shopping for the bar oil that you are going to be using with your chainsaw.

What Weight is Bar and Chain Oil

Summer And Winter

If you have any type of experience with oil, then you will know that oil is going to thin out when the temperature is hotter.  On the contrary, oil is going to thicken up when it is colder during the colder time of year.  No matter what the weather conditions may be, either can cause you to have a dry chain, which means that you can more than likely expect your chainsaw to become damaged.

In order to prevent this from happening, most chainsaw manufacturers will find or make a bar oil that is going to match whatever the air temperature, as well as the saw in which it’s operated.  While the manufacturer’s are not going to disclose what weight their recommended oil really is, it is recommended that you instead use a oil that is SAE 30 weight during the hotter summer months, and a SAE 10 oil during the colder winter months.

Vegetable Oil As An Alternative

When your chainsaw is operating at its optimal performance, it will shoot out a stream of extra oil that is coming off of the bar and onto anything that gets in its way.  If the bar and chain oil you are using just happens to be petroleum-based, it can result in the harm of wildlife plants and creatures, as well as health problems in the chainsaw operator and others working in the same area.  This is one of the main downsides when it comes to using manufacturer recommended chainsaw bar and chain oil.

Vegetable Oil As An Alternative Chainsaw oil

However, if you were to use a vegetable-based bar and chain oil, it would be able to overcome all of the negative side affects of its petroleum based counterpart.  What makes using vegetable oil based bar and chain oil is that they are actually developed to work in both the warmer, as well as the colder temperatures.  On top of that, they also consume up to 50 percent less of the product when compared to petroleum bar and chain oils.  And to top it off, they are not going to pollute any streams or lakes when you are using them, as the vegetable oil lubricants are all biodegradable. 

The Standard in Chainsaw Bar And Chain Oil

When it comes to chainsaws, the more mainstream petroleum-based oils have been the standard for bar and chain oil.  This being said, lightweight oil is going to be used during the winter, while heavier oil is going to be used during the summer.  The manufacturers of most chainsaws will make their own bar and chain oils that have been specially blended for that particular chainsaw, which will also aid in extending their lifespan.  But for whatever reason, if those manufacturer recommended oils are not available, the chainsaw’s owner’s manual will more than likely recommend an alternative oil that can be used instead. 

Some manufacturers will recommend using one of the petroleum-based EP 90 transmission oils if you are unable to get the bar oil that is recommended.  However, while there is many who would suggest using motor oil as your bar and chain oil, it is not necessarily recommended as it lacks a bunch of the adequate viscosity that is required for lubing your chainsaws bar and chain.

Your Oil’s Stickiness

No matter which oil you decide to use in your chainsaw, just remember that it will need to have extremely good adhesion in order to stick to the chain when it goes all the way around the bar. On top of that, it is also going to need to help reduce the amount of friction that is built up, as well as prevent any type of damage from occurring to the actual chainsaw.

There are some bar and chain oils that will also prevent any sap and other debris from being able to stick to the chain or bar, which would eventually cause a clog within the chainsaw.  Because of this, you are going to want to make sure that the weight of the oil you are using is appropriate for the air temperature that you are working in.  To do this, all you need to do is simply hold your chainsaw roughly 8 inches away from a white rag or tree stump, and then rev the saw so that the engine is about 75 percent of full throttle for 60 seconds.  There should be a line that forms on either the rag or tree stump that the chainsaw is pointed at, and you should notice that oil is flowing freely from the chainsaw’s oiler.

Whether or not you are using a chainsaw oil or a chainsaw oil alternative, you are going to want to make sure that the weight of what you do use is comparable to SAE 30 during the warmer summer months, and a SAE 10 during the colder winter months.  When you do this, you will ensure that your chainsaw is going to be the most protected when it is used in the different elements.  Just remember that if you have any questions about which weight of oil you should be using for your chainsaw’s bar and chain, to simply inquire about it with a local professional.  They will be able to help answer any questions you may have and get you going in the right direction.

Read more:

What Kind of Oil does an Electric Chainsaw Use?

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