How to Winterize a Chainsaw

Keep your chainsaw in tip-top shape during the winter off-season

Next Project

An hour or less






Keep your chainsaw in tip-top shape during the winter off-season by following these steps.

Tools Required

  • chip brush
  • Scrench
  • shop towels

Materials Required

  • Air filter
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • funnel
  • gas can
  • Spark plug
  • Two-stroke engine oil

Chainsaws, like all tools with small gas engines, must be put away for the winter properly. Winterizing your chainsaw before it sits for two or three months will save you lots of time and money in repairs. And it only takes about 15 minutes to ensure it’s ready to go in the spring.

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Stabilize the Gas and the Engine

  • Add a fuel stabilizer to your two-stroke gas mixture and fill the chainsaw’s gas tank.
  • Run the engine until the machine is warm to coat the entire engine with the stabilized mix.

Stabilize the Gas and the EngineFamily Handyman

Step 2

Drain the Gas

  • Dump the gas back into your tank
    • Note: because the gas is stabilized, you can use it next season.
  • Pump your primer bulb while emptying the gas to flush all the gas out.

Drain the GasFamily Handyman

Step 3

Re-start the Engine

  • To remove as much gas from the engine as you can, start the engine back up and let it die out.
  • Continue to start it up after it dies until it won’t start anymore.
    • Pro Tip: Giving the chainsaw a shake or two while it’s idling will help move any leftover gas along.

Re-start the EngineFamily Handyman

Step 4

Clean or Replace the Filter

  • Open up the case and check the filter.
  • If it looks dirty, clean it gently with a shop towel or brush.
  • If it’s damaged or too caked with dust, replace it before starting it back up next season.
    • Pro tip: Filters are specific to each engine. If you’re replacing one, make sure it’s the correct filter for your engine.

Clean or Replace the FilterFamily Handyman

Step 5

Clean the Engine

  • Clean off the coil fins and any grunge that might be inside the case.
    • Pro Tip: A chip brush is the perfect tool for this job.

Clean the engineFamily Handyman

Step 6

Remove Bar and Chain

  • Open the chain sprocket cover and remove the bar and chain.
  • Clean the sprocket and all the grime around it.
  • Clean the bar and chain with a biodegradable corrosion inhibitor to keep the chain and bar from rusting. Then reassemble the chainsaw.

Put it to bedFamily Handyman

Step 7

Put it to Bed

  • Wipe the entire powerhead down, then store it in a dry place out of the reach of children.
  • When you need it the following season, fill it with gas and it’s ready to go.

Put it to bedFamily Handyman