Chainsaw Bar Oil Substitute Idea’s in 2022

Last Updated on January 6, 2023 by Sarker C. Weber

What happens when you need to oil up your chainsaw but you can’t get the recommended oil?

Do you set your machine down to search for an alternative? No! There are many alternatives you can use in the meantime to ensure your saw is lubricated.

The best Chainsaw bar oil substitute ensures you keep using your saw without hassles.

Great, isn’t it?!

Today, chainsaw makers normally make their own chainsaw oils or recommend a particular bar oil.

This doesn’t mean that using something aside from what’s vetted will damage your saw.

But note that not just any oil should be used in lubing your chainsaw. Doing this will erode vital engine parts of your machine and waste your investment.

Also, choosing alternative oils involves some work, but you’d be able to get a good product with the right info.

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What to Consider When Selecting Alternative Oils for Your Chainsaw

Your Manufacturer’s Recommended Oil

Study the oil your saw’s maker recommends as being the most ideal lubricant.

Then, when you’ve got the facts, the next step is to ensure the qualities of this oil tally with the alternative you have in mind.

The Viscosity of the Oil

Resistance to shear forces should be high enough for alternative oil choice to be right for your saw.

Without the right viscous properties, your chainsaw’s engine will lack the right lubrication it needs. Through this, it could overheat and get damaged easily.

Eco-friendliness of the Oil

Based on the harmful effects of oils that aren’t Eco-friendly, this is very vital.

Eco-friendly oil is adequate for getting the right job done through your saw without actually injuring the environment.

Slippery Nature of the Oil

The right alternative oil should be used without fear of any wood or debris hanging onto the bar during operation.

In addition, the slipperiness of the oil helps to prevent engine damage.

Stickiness of the Oil

The oil you use as an alternative should be quite sticky. The oil’s stickiness is vital when you’re using the saw to cut through objects at high speeds.

Chainsaw Bar Oil Substitute Idea’s

Engine Oil

Engine (motor) oil is the most common alternative to maker-recommended chainsaw oil.

Based on its high viscosity and slipperiness, it’s easy to use this oil in place of bar oil.

On the flip side, to ensure the thickness of the oil remains fluid through operation,

you can get a small amount of bar oil to mix up with the motor oil. This ensures greater consistency when you need the saw for long jobs.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a good alternative bar oil that’s equally cheap and effective.

Vegetable oil acts as a good lubricant for your chainsaw. In addition, vegetable oils have better penetration through your engine and promote better overall operation.

In a hygiene-conscious environment, vegetable oils can be the ultimate option when you need to do some serious cutting.

In addition, veggie oil is your best option if you need to see through frozen meat and other consumable products.

This is because other oil lubricants are likely to taint consumables when used in meat saws.

Also, vegetable oil is easy to use and doesn’t give off any bad fumes based on its eco-friendliness.

Used Car Oil

Used motor oil is another alternative to the recommended bar oil. On the flip side, this oil has numerous drawbacks.

One of these is that you need to filter the oil repeatedly before it becomes acceptable for use. 

Also, it is a fact that motor oil isn’t bio-degradable, so the chances of it giving off bad smells and causing pollution are pronounced.

But with numerous filtering of the oil, you can use it to cut through objects without issues.

Mixed Hydraulic Fluid

Making use of hydraulic fluids alone on your engine could result in its damage.

Mixing the fluid with something else, preferably bar oil is the best option. 

Hydraulic fluid has lesser resistance to shear. But it possesses a good amount of slipperiness, making it perfect for lubing your saw.

Canola Oil

This oil is made from rapeseed extracts. This extracted oil is easier to use and produces lesser fumes.

Oil remains one of the most versatile on the market. It can be used on its own without any additions.

It lubricates your chainsaw with relative ease and ensures all parts receive adequate oiling.

Essential Tips for Using a Chainsaw Bar Oil Substitute

If you aren’t new to gas chainsaws, you’d know they come in a design that drains out has and oil simultaneously.

When this happens, you need to refill the oil and fuel to keep the engine running. 

This is also done to limit the event of damage from no lubricant in the engine. For you to make the most of using alternative bar oils, take a look at the following;

Check Out the Fuel –Oil Ratio When You’re Running out of Fuel Faster than Usual

When your engine drains fuel quicker than usual, it is a sign that the oil you’re using isn’t enough.

It could also mean that the chainsaw isn’t getting the right lubrication from the oil. 

Ensure you check out the fuel-oil ratio to determine if the oil you’re sticking to is the best for your engine or not.

Keep Extra Substitute Oil on Hand When the Substitute Oil Gets Used Up Faster

Since the chainsaw is designed with the characteristics of the bar oil tweaked to the fuel, they get used up at the same time.

On the flip side, this isn’t so for alternative bar oils. These oils get burnt out easier, meaning they could leave your engine functioning without a lubricant. 

Ensure you keep your eyes fixed on how the substitute oil runs out during operation.

To prevent your engine running without a lubricant, keep an extra volume of the oil on standby.

Avoid Making Use of Old Oils If Possible

Fresh oils perform much better on chainsaw engines, even if their properties are outmatched by bar oil.

Unfortunately, many people use bad, old oils in lubricating their chainsaws, which isn’t the best.

Currently, it’s impossible to purify used oil totally. So make sure used oils are your last choice when looking for alternative bar oil.

What to Know When Loading Up on Substitute Bar Oil

Keep this info close by when you’re using a substitute to the original bar oil;

Check the Oil Level before Starting Up the Engine

Before getting down to business, ensure you check the oil level of your chainsaw. This helps you to know whether the oil is at an acceptable, operable level. 

Don’t Use a Chainsaw Without Lubrication!

You may be using sub oil due to a lack of resources. But don’t let that lack push you to use the chainsaw without oil!

If you try such stuff, a lot of negative stuff could take place. You could lose your machine at the least or get fatally wounded at worst.

Keep the Chainsaw off When Adding Oils

When you’re loading up sub oils on your chainsaw, ensure the unit is switched off. This keeps you safe while adding the oil.

If your chainsaw accidentally gets on, the oil could be splashed all over your body. 

Qualities of a Good Chainsaw Bar Oil Substitute

High-temperature Resistance to Shear

Some oils could be resistant to shear but not at warmer temperatures.

For example, when you put on your chainsaw, the inner compartment moves at break-neck speeds.

These speeds generate heat and could damage your engine without the right lubricant.


A sub oil should have similar quantities with a recommended bar oil. One of these qualities is the ability to last long in your engine.

Some oils may have all the necessary properties intact, but without this, they could lead to your saw’s damage.

Frequently Asked Question

What Should I Do When the Bar Oil I Have Isn’t Enough to Lubricate My Chainsaw?

If you have fresh alternative oil, you can mix it with your bar oil and use it without any issues.

Can I Switch Bar Oils If I Can’t Find the Manufacturer Recommended Oil?

Yes! You can switch to another bar oil if you can’t locate the recommended oil. 

Final Word

As a word of advice, you must look closely at the manufacturer’s recommended oil.

This will help you know the best alternative oil when you need it.

It’s no secret that alternative oils have good operational efficiency on your chainsaw, but they should be an option and not your main choice.

For the saw to function at its best, better load up on bar oil or mix it up with these alternatives.

It will be a means of saving your money, and the saw will fare better. Never forget to drain used oils, as they could cause issues when they aren’t filtered.

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