Chainsaw Bar Turned Blue: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention Tips

Chainsaw Bar Turned Blue: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention Tips

As a chainsaw owner and operator, I’ve encountered the frustrating issue of my chainsaw bar turning blue. This discoloration not only looks unsightly but can indicate underlying problems that impact cutting performance. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the causes of blue chainsaw bars, how to fix them, and tips to prevent it from happening in the first place. Proper chainsaw maintenance is essential for optimal function, safety, and longevity.

Chainsaw Bar Turned Blue: Why Does It Happen?

Chainsaw Bar Turned Blue: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention Tips

There are several potential causes of a blue chainsaw bar. Understanding what leads to this discoloration can help identify solutions and preventive measures.

Causes of Blue Chainsaw Bars

A blue tint on the guide bar of your chainsaw is often indicative of overheating. Some common causes include:

  • Lack of proper lubrication – Insufficient chain oil leads to friction and heat buildup in the bar and chain. This is one of the most common reasons for bluing.
  • Continuous usage without breaks – Using your chainsaw for extended periods without rest causes components to overheat from constant friction.
  • Excessive chain tension – Too much tension puts strain on the chain which generates damaging heat against the bar.
  • Improper cutting techniques – Applying excessive pressure or using incorrect angles when cutting can overwork the bar and chain leading to overheating.

Effects of Blue Chainsaw Bars

While a blue bar may just seem like an aesthetic issue, it can lead to bigger problems:

  • Reduced cutting performance – The discoloration is caused by tempering of the metal from heat. This alters the hardness of the bar and reduces its cutting effectiveness.
  • Potential damage to the chain and sprocket – Excess heat can warp and wear down connected components like the chain and drive sprocket.
  • Increased difficulty in cutting – A blue bar indicates issues like dullness, tightness, and inadequate lubrication which make cutting much harder.

How to Fix a Blue Chainsaw Bar

If your chainsaw bar has turned blue, proper maintenance is key to restoring functionality. Here are some tips on how to fix it:

Inspect and Replace Damaged Components

Closely examine the bar for signs of uneven wear, rail thinning, or damage. Also check the chain for stiff, warped, or worn out links. Replace any severely damaged parts.

  • Replace the bar and chain if either are excessively worn. The sprocket may also need replacement if worn down.
  • Look for a widened groove and uneven rails which indicate a bar that is bent or worn on one side. This type of V-shaped damage necessitates replacement.

Proper Lubrication

Lack of oil is a prime cause of overheating and blue bars. Ensuring adequate lubrication prevents this.

  • Check that the oiling system and passageways are clear of debris and functioning properly.
  • Regularly clean your chainsaw bar and chain to remove built-up sawdust and grease which can clog oil ports.
  • Use the manufacturer recommended bar and chain oil for lubrication. Regularly apply lubricant to the chain and guide bar.

Adjust Chain Tension

The chain should have just enough tension to stay on the bar firmly without excessive sagging.

  • Use the screw adjuster to set appropriate chain tension. This ensures smooth running against the bar without added friction.
  • Test the tension by pulling the chain around the bar by hand. Adjust in small increments until any slack is eliminated while avoiding overtightness.

Proper Cutting Techniques

Improper use inevitably accelerates wear on cutting components. Be mindful of these proper techniques:

  • Don’t force the saw by applying excessive downward pressure. Allow the chain to cut at its own rate.
  • Employ correct directional cutting motions based on the type of saw. This distributes wear evenly and prevents uneven bar rail damage.
  • Take periodic breaks during prolonged use. This gives the motor and bar time to cool off and prevents heat buildup.

Preventing Chainsaw Bars from Turning Blue

Like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some maintenance tips to stop your chainsaw bar from turning blue in the first place:

Regular Maintenance

One of the best ways to avoid overheating issues is proper routine care of your chainsaw.

  • Regularly clean the bar, chain, and oiling system to remove debris. Lubricate all components.
  • Inspect parts for damage and make replacements before it can spread. Use sharp, undamaged chains.
  • Follow fuel mixing directions and replace air filters/spark plugs at recommended intervals.

Proper Chain Tension

Incorrect chain tension is a prime cause of friction and heat issues.

  • Check and adjust chain tension regularly to account for chain stretch over time.
  • Ensure adequate tension to eliminate sagging without overtightening which strains the engine.

Adequate Breaks During Usage

Providing cool-off periods prevents continuous overheating of cutting components.

  • Take regular 5-10 minute breaks during heavy duty or prolonged usage to allow heat dissipation.
  • Avoid constant extended use which leads to cumulative damage from excessive heat.

Correct Cutting Techniques

Proper saw handling significantly reduces wear and heat generation.

  • Use light grip pressure and smooth motions when cutting to avoid forcing the bar and chain.
  • Employ correct chain direction and angles during cutting based on saw type. This prevents uneven wear.
  • Ensure the saw is sharp and adequately lubricated before starting work. This minimizes required cutting force.


Blue chainsaw bars indicate potentially serious issues like overheating and component damage. By understanding what causes this problem and learning proper maintenance habits, you can get your saw running smoothly again and prevent future issues. Nurturing your chainsaw with regular care, tension adjustment, part replacement, adequate lubrication, and proper handling will maintain optimal performance and safety. With the right prevention knowledge, you can avoid the headaches and hassles of a blue bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my chainsaw bar needs to be replaced?

Look for a bar with uneven rail wear, excessive width groove, or a pronounced V-shape rather than a flat U profile. These indicate a bent or worn out guide bar in need of replacement. Also inspect closely for cracks which compromise integrity.

Can I still use a chainsaw with a blue bar?

You can potentially still use a chainsaw with a blue bar, but performance will be decreased. The bar will be less efficient at holding an edge. Be prepared for increased difficulty in cutting. Prolonged use also risks further wear and damage.

What are some common chainsaw maintenance tasks?

Check chain tension and guide bar lubrication before each use. Sharpen or replace dull chains. Clean the bar, chain, and oiling ports regularly. Inspect parts and make replacements when needed. Follow fuel/filter/spark plug replacement intervals per the manual.

How often should I flip my chainsaw bar?

It’s a good idea to flip the bar each time you swap out the chain. This helps even out wear by alternating the side facing the wood. Periodically examine both sides of the bar for uneven wear issues.

Can I prevent my chainsaw bar from turning blue by using a different type of oil?

While using the manufacturer recommended quality bar oil is important, oil alone won’t necessarily prevent bluing if other issues exist like poor maintenance, improper tension, and bad cutting techniques. Adequate lubrication must be combined with proper usage/handling.

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