Can I Use ATF for Chainsaw Bar Oil? (Explained)

Chainsaw bars require oils to function properly – this we know. But are all oils efficient for the purpose? 

So can I use atf for chainsaw bar oil

ATF can be used for chainsaw bars, yes. However, it’s not the greatest option. Pay attention to the SAE rating of the ATF. This will dictate the efficiency in different temperatures. There are other alternatives such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and drained hydraulic fluids. 

This is only the essence of the situation. Prior to actually putting ATF in your chainsaw, there is a ton of information you should be aware of. We’ve everything right in this article!

Using ATF for Chainsaw Bar

True, ATF is a kind of oil. Nonetheless, it is a one-of-a-kind oil that includes many essential ingredients. Because it is required to effectively perform a variety of diverse functions at the same time.

In order to operate effectively, it must have a lubricating effect on the gears, bearings, and seals. It must also operate as a coolant and be capable of transferring force via inertia. 

Furthermore, its viscosity must remain within acceptable limits over a wide temperature range. It also changes the friction encountered by brake bands and clutches.

Before using ATF fluid for chainsaws, double-check the directions supplied by the chainsaw’s manufacturer.

In general, chainsaws can operate with a wide range of lubricants. But putting a smaller bar in the chainsaw might affect the oil you need. 

Pay attention to the SAE ratings and use the appropriate oil weight for the current season. This is valid when working with ATF files in particular. Use only new oils that have never been used before.

The majority of oils may seem identical to the naked eye. However, the answer to can you use any oil for chainsaw bar oil is a no.

1. Using 10w30 for Chainsaw Bar Oil

10w30 is an ATF that can be used on chainsaw bars. However, it is not advised to use it during the winter months.

The 10w30 oil is a multiweight oil, which means it works well in both cold and hot climates. But 10w30 has a particularly sticky and viscous viscosity.

It will happen once the chainsaw achieves operational temperature and starts rotating.

As a consequence of this, you can expect a drop in performance.

When the chainsaw motor is turned on, 10w30 oil serves the same purpose as SAE10 oil.

During the winter months, the thinner SAE10 oil is excellent for usage. Because the lower air temperature causes all liquids to solidify during the winter months.

However, when heated, the multi-weight characteristic of 10w30 changes the oil’s viscosity to that of SAE30. The viscosity of the oil determines its thickness. This thicker oil weight is ideal for the hotter months.

The efficiency of transmission oil is at its peak in the sweltering summer months. Gear oil is almost impossible to use when the temperature is below freezing. It is due to its high viscosity.

As a result, 10w30 oil is adequate for the chainsaw bar. But the oil may splatter all over the immediate surroundings. This may have an impact on the environment.

The thicker oil may cause the chain to spin more slowly in the winter until the motor reaches operating temperature. As a result, the chain may get jammed.

2. Using 5w30 for a Chainsaw Bar

You may use 5w30 oil in place of 10w30 motor oil. However, the SAE5 weight oil’s lower value and lightweight will not effectively cling to the chainsaw bar. Particularly over the warmer seasons.

If you employ this alternative for bar oils, you can experience significant oil loss. You may also have a dirty working environment. 

Additionally, they could release toxic fumes. Particularly in situations when high-viscosity engine oils are being used, such as when the chainsaw is running too hot.

Due to this, 5w30 may be used. It is lucrative, especially when considering how little it costs. On the other hand, when feasible, it is best to avoid doing so, according to our advice.

Alternatives for Chainsaw Bar Oil

Chainsaw chains and bar oils require particular characteristics in order to work properly. These qualities are not comparable to those found in regular oil. It is true for gas-powered, electric, and cordless chainsaws.

So what can I use for chainsaw bar oil? Well, when picking alternatives for chainsaw bar oils, there are many things you must consider carefully. Using two-stroke oil in electric chainsaws may be good or bad. 

The chain of a chainsaw rotates at a very rapid rate. Therefore, the oil must have sufficient stickiness to remain on the chain even as it rotates. If it isn’t sufficiently adhesive, it will be quickly pulled from the chain.

Additionally, it is necessary for the oil to operate well as a lubricant. Therefore, the property of slipperiness is necessary to perform its function.

This indicates that a quality chainsaw oil has the ideal balance of stickiness and slipperiness in its formulation.

The viscosity of the oil is influenced by temperature, as we have already discussed.

At higher temperatures, some oils may have the ideal combination of stickiness and slipperiness. However, if the weather is really chilly, they may not be suited.

Chainsaw oil must be safe for the surrounding ecosystem. It is mainly due to the fact that the majority of it will fall off the chain as you work. And it will eventually be dumped into the nature

You could also wish to think about the substance of the blade. There are differences between bimetal blades and carbon blades.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is an option that is adaptable and can be utilized in a variety of ways. Additionally, it has a number of distinguishing benefits. 

The benefits of using vegetable oil include it being economical, easily accessible, and kind to the environment. It is also simpler to remove clothing in the event that you get any on yourself.

When working with live trees, vegetable oil is an excellent choice for cutting the branches. Because an oil derived from petroleum would be more likely to do damage to the trees, this one won’t.

Because of its high viscosity, vegetable oil is an excellent replacement for other types of oils in many situations. However, as the temperature drops, it thickens up to and becomes useable.

Canola Oil

Rapeseed is what’s used to make canola oil. When it comes to acting as a replacement for bar oil, it offers similar benefits as vegetable oil.

It is safe for the environment, and it may be used in the process of trimming living trees. Additionally, it may be acquired quite easily and at a low cost.

Because it is thinner than conventional vegetable oil, it has a greater propensity to immediately fly off the chainsaw when it is used. You run the risk of getting the environment covered with blood.

However, at lower temperatures, its viscosity is better suited to its intended use. Therefore, it is a suitable alternative to chainsaw oil when the temperature is too low. At temperatures at which it is not possible to use vegetable oil.

Drained Hydraulic Fluid

ATF and hydraulic fluid are quite similar. You may use hydraulic fluids as chainsaw lubrication if everything else is unavailable. 

If you have access to hydraulic pumping equipment, it will be readily available. But, hydraulic fluid is a pollutant that has the potential to have an impact on the environment.

It has another drawback in comparison to other chainsaw oil alternatives. It dries up more quickly. Because of this, you will need to make additional use of the lubricant in order to keep your chainsaw running smoothly.


What is the difference between bar oil and motor oil?

Bar and chain oils are more viscous than usual engine oil. So that it remains upon that chain more. Motor oil falls off the chain more easily. So if you use motor oil, you will need to replenish the chain saw’s oil more frequently than if you used ordinary bar and chain oil.

Can I use ATF as chain lube?

ATF contains a significant amount of detergent. And in addition to being an excellent chain lubricant, it also does not leave behind any mess. It may extend the life of the chain by three times compared to chain wax while causing less mess.

What happens if you run a chainsaw without bar oil?

The lack of bar oil causes increased friction and heat. This causes a considerable increase in chain and bar fatigue. Chain teeth, drivers, and links all break out quicker without bar oil. Because of the increased friction, teeth may break.


And with that, we know so much more about whether can i use ATF for chainsaw bar oil. You may use ATF, but you must be cautious with your selection. 

Getting the best alternative to chainsaw bar oil depends on many things. Consider them and pick the best alternative. 

Good luck!

Jim Boslice

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *