When to clean or replace a chainsaw air filter

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Chainsaws are like cars, the more you use them, the more maintenance they need. A chain sharpen here, a fresh spark plug there and sometimes you need to replace a filter.

You need to replace an air filter when it no longer does its job of preventing dirt and debris from entering the chainsaw's engine and out of the carburettor. 

How do you know when to replace the filter? 

dirty air filter chainsaw
You can do a visual check.

If your filter looks anything like the image here, it needs a clean or a replacement!

So here are three factors to consider:
  1. Does your chainsaw lack power when using it?
  2. Is it harder to start than normal?
  3. Does it die and cut out more frequently than it should?
If you have any of these problems, then you might need a new replacement air filter.

Let's look in more detail at how a dirty air filter can hinder the efficient operation of your wood chopper

Your unit's air filter should be inspected often to ensure it is free of grime and dirt especially after a lot of heavy duty operation. This is because an unclean air filter could be clogged to the point that it won't allow sufficient enough oxygen into the engine. These cause the saw to 'lack power' power - think of the engine as a lung - and it needs oxygen to power the chain. 

Just as a distinct lack of oxygen in the lungs causes a body to die, a lack of oxygen in chainsaw will cause it to cut out. 

When do I replace the chainsaw air filter?

Given you should consider replacing your air filter at least once a year. Perhaps at the same time, you replace your spark plug? If you have used your chainsaw quite a lot, or even professionally, then you will need to service your machine more regularly and change the filter often. 

What kind of air filter does my chainsaw need?

 All chainsaws use filters  > Major brands like Poulan, Craftsman, Stihl, and Husqvarna all use them and offer their own branded replacement parts. You can, of course, use aftermarket parts as well. Branded gear will likely be of better quality, perform quite well and for a longer lifetime.

As long as you know the model number of your unit, you can find the part. Simply do a search on Amazon with your engine brand and model number and 'air filter' and you will find what you are looking for. 

Can I clean the chainsaw air filter?

You sure can - you can use a soft brush or rinse off with hot water. If you use water, let the filter dry in the sun before you replace it.

Remember filters can be precious wee things, so trying to blow off all the sawdust and gunk off with an air compressor might not be the best approach.

How to replace a chainsaw air filter

This is a handy tutorial video on how to replace the air filter. You'll need a screwdriver handy - and always engage the chain break before you do any maintenance on your saw:

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