Fuel In The Bar And Chain Oil Tank: The Easy ONE STEP Fix!

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Putting fuel in the chain oil tank of your chainsaw isn’t a big problem.

At least, it’s not as bad as putting bar and chain oil in your fuel tank!

Unfortunately, the two usually go hand in hand, though not always. Some people are lucky to catch themselves before they do both.

While the latter requires a more extensive cleaning process, removing fuel from the chain oil tank is easy – you just pour it out, even if the saw has been running.

99% of the time, this is all you need to do after making this mistake with your chainsaw.

Fuel Oil Mix In Bar Oil Tank

Often, people don’t realize they’ve made this mistake until the chainsaw stops because it’s not getting any fuel.

You might notice something off when start smelling or seeing the fuel that comes from your chain and bar, but maybe not.

Or, if you have a chainsaw that loves to leak chain oil, like my Stihl 180 or DEWALT 20v, you may even find out before you start the saw.

Either way, all you need to do to fix this problem is remove your fuel oil mixture from the chain and bar oil tank.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Grab a large container, remove the cap, and pour out the oil.
  2. Don’t be afraid to hold the chainsaw on its side and give it a good shake
  3. Replace with bar and chain oil

It really is as easy as that.

The fuel should not have damaged your oil pump or any of the seals, especially if it was not left like that for a long time.

You DO NOT want to reuse the fuel in the proper tank because it will be tainted with bar oil.

Alternatively, it’s fine to reuse bar oil that has been put into the fuel tank, provided it was put into an empty tank and not mixed with fuel.

Chainsaw Fuel Oil Tanks Mixed Up

fuel in bar oil tank

If you mistakenly put fuel (especially gasoline mixed with 2-cycle oil) into the bar oil tank of a chainsaw, here’s what could happen:

  1. Lubrication Issues: The chainsaw’s bar and chain will not receive proper lubrication. Gasoline does not have the viscosity or lubricating properties of bar oil. This can cause excessive friction, rapid wear, and potential damage to the bar and chain. Without proper lubrication, the chain can become hot, dull faster, and might even snap, posing a serious risk to the user.
  2. Internal Damage: Over time, fuel in the bar oil reservoir could deteriorate certain plastic or rubber components it comes into contact with, leading to leaks or other failures.
  3. Safety Concerns: Gasoline is more flammable than bar and chain oil. If it’s being thrown off the chain because it’s in the oil reservoir, there’s an increased risk of fire, especially if you’re working near dry leaves or other flammable materials.
  4. Environmental Concerns: Spreading gasoline around the environment is not good due to its potential to contaminate soil and water.

If you realize you’ve made this mistake:

  1. Do not start the chainsaw. If you’ve already run the chainsaw, stop it immediately.
  2. Drain the Bar Oil Tank: Empty the bar oil tank of the mixed fuel completely. This might be messy, so use rags and a container to catch the liquid. Dispose of the mixed fuel properly.
  3. Clean the Tank: It’s a good idea to clean the reservoir with a little bit of the correct bar oil to flush out any remaining fuel.
  4. Refill with Proper Bar Oil: Once cleaned, fill the bar oil tank with the appropriate bar and chain oil.
  5. Check the Fuel Tank: Make sure you didn’t make a reciprocal error by putting bar oil in the fuel tank. If you did, it will need to be drained and cleaned as well.

If you’ve run the chainsaw with the wrong mixture for an extended period, it’s a good idea to inspect the bar and chain for any signs of excessive wear or damage.

In situations of uncertainty, consult with a professional or the chainsaw manufacturer. Safety should always be a priority when working with chainsaws.

Fuel In Oil Tank

What happens if you put fuel in your chainsaw oil tank?

Usually nothing much, but it does not make for a good alternative chain oil. If you happen to put fuel into both tanks and you start up the saw, the oil tank will empty quickly because it’s not tacky.

There is always the chance that the fuel could ignite (as in the chainsaw meme above), so it’s not something you want to mess around with. However, most of the time you will have switched tanks so the engine will stop after running on bar oil before you have problems with fuel on the bar and chain.

Accidents like this happen, and as long as no one gets hurt by a saw it’s a good day.


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