Why Your Pole Saw Chain Stops Extending and How to Fix It Easily

Ever found yourself all set to tackle those overgrown branches with your trusty pole saw, only to be met with a frustrating silence as the chain refuses to budge when extending? It’s a common hiccup that can leave you scratching your head. But fear not, you’re not alone in this puzzling predicament.

Picture this: You’re out in the yard, ready to trim those unruly trees, but your pole saw seems to have a mind of its own, leaving you stuck in a standstill. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Understanding why your pole saw chain isn’t running when extending is the key to getting back on track swiftly and effortlessly.

In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind your pole saw’s stubborn chain and equip you with the knowledge to troubleshoot and fix this issue seamlessly. Say goodbye to those moments of frustration and hello to a smoothly running pole saw ready to tackle any pruning task that comes your way.

Check the Tension of the Chain

To resolve the issue of your pole saw chain not running smoothly when extending, Check the Tension of the Chain. An improperly tensioned chain can cause it to bind or slip off the bar, leading to operational problems.

  • Loose Chain: A slack chain can disrupt the cutting process and affect the saw’s performance. You can adjust the tension by tightening the chain to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.
  • Tight Chain: Conversely, an overly tight chain can put excessive stress on the motor and guide bar, hindering its movement. Ensure the chain has the right amount of slack for optimal operation.
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By regularly monitoring and adjusting the chain tension, you can enhance the efficiency of your pole saw and prevent issues related to the chain not running smoothly.

Examine the Chain Lubrication

When it comes to why your pole saw chain might not be running smoothly when extending, chain lubrication plays a critical role in its performance.

Without proper lubrication, the chain can experience increased friction, leading to more resistance and potential stalling when trying to extend it.

Signs of Inadequate Lubrication

  • Dry or Dirty Chain: A lack of lubrication can cause the chain to become dry or accumulate dirt and debris, hindering its movement.
  • Increased Noise: You might notice louder operating sounds when the chain lacks proper lubrication.
  • Chain Wear: Inadequate lubrication can accelerate chain wear, impacting its overall lifespan.
  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure your pole saw chain is well-lubricated as part of your regular maintenance routine.
  • Use Quality Oil: Opt for a high-quality chain oil specifically designed for chainsaws to provide optimal lubrication.
  • Check Oil Levels: Monitor the oil levels in the reservoir to ensure consistent lubrication during operation.

By examining and addressing the chain lubrication of your pole saw, you can improve its functionality and performance when extending it.

Inspect for Bar and Chain Alignment

When troubleshooting why your pole saw chain isn’t running smoothly during extension, one crucial factor to check is the alignment of the bar and chain. Misalignment can lead to performance issues and potential damage. Here are some steps you can take to inspect the bar and chain alignment:

  • Visual Inspection: Start by closely examining the bar and chain for any signs of misalignment such as uneven wear or damage.
  • Bar Straightness: Ensure the bar is straight without any bends that could affect how the chain runs.
  • Chain Position: Check that the chain sits snugly in the bar groove without any gaps or overlaps.
  • Tension Adjustment: Proper chain tension is crucial. Make sure to adjust the tension according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Testing: After making adjustments, test the pole saw to see if the chain runs smoothly during extension.
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Maintaining proper alignment between the bar and chain is essential for the optimal functioning of your pole saw. By regularly inspecting and correcting any misalignments, you can help prevent issues and extend the lifespan of your equipment.

Clean and Maintain Your Pole Saw

To keep your pole saw running smoothly, cleaning and regular maintenance are essential. Here are some tips to help you ensure your pole saw stays in top shape:

  • Clean your pole saw regularly: Remove dirt, debris, and sap buildup from the bar and chain. A clean saw operates more efficiently.
  • Inspect for wear and tear: Check for damaged or worn-out parts such as the chain, bar, and sprocket. Replace any components showing signs of wear.
  • Lubricate properly: Make sure to apply lubricant to the bar and chain before each use. Proper lubrication reduces friction and prevents premature wear.
  • Check for proper tension: Ensure that the chain is correctly tensioned. A loose chain can derail or kick back during operation.
  • Store your pole saw correctly: When not in use, store your pole saw in a dry place, away from moisture and extreme temperatures.

By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the lifespan of your pole saw and enjoy optimal performance every time you use it.

Try a Different Power Source

If you find that your pole saw chain is not running when extending, one thing you can try is switching to a different power source. Sometimes, the issue may not be with the pole saw itself, but rather with the power supply you are using.

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Here are a few steps to consider when trying a different power source:

  • Check the Power Outlet: Ensure that the power outlet you are using is functional. Try plugging the pole saw into a different outlet to see if that resolves the issue.
  • Test with a Different Cord: The problem could also lie with the extension cord you are using. Try using a different cord to rule out any issues with the current one.
  • Consider the Power Level: Depending on the power level of your pole saw and the extension cord, there could be a mismatch causing the chain not to run smoothly. Make sure the power levels are compatible.
  • Try a New Battery: If your pole saw is battery-powered, the battery may be running low or defective. Try using a fully charged battery or a new one to see if that makes a difference.

Exploring different power sources can help troubleshoot why your pole saw chain is not running smoothly when extending.


Ensuring proper maintenance and care for your pole saw is key to its performance and durability. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and chain tension checks are vital. When facing issues with the chain not running smoothly during extension, exploring different power sources can be a simple yet effective troubleshooting step. By checking the power outlet, using an alternate cord, matching power levels, or trying a new battery, you can quickly identify and resolve the problem. Remember, a well-maintained pole saw not only functions optimally but also ensures safety and efficiency in your outdoor projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it important to clean my pole saw regularly?

Regular cleaning removes dirt, debris, and sap that can damage the saw’s components, ensuring smooth operation and extending its lifespan.

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2. How can I check for wear and tear on my pole saw?

Inspect the chain, bar, and other parts for signs of damage, such as dullness, chipping, or bending, and replace them if necessary to prevent accidents and maintain cutting efficiency.

3. Why is proper lubrication important for a pole saw?

Applying lubricant to the chain and bar reduces friction, heat, and wear, enhancing cutting performance and preventing premature wear on the components.

4. How do I check and adjust the chain tension on my pole saw?

Ensure the chain is snug against the bar but can still be moved easily by hand, as proper tension promotes safe and efficient cutting without causing damage to the saw.

5. What is the best way to store my pole saw when not in use?

Store the pole saw in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight and moisture, preferably hanging or on a shelf to prevent damage and ensure it’s ready for use when needed.

6. My pole saw chain is not running smoothly when extending. What should I do?

Try troubleshooting by checking the power outlet, using a different cord, matching power levels, or trying a new battery to ensure a consistent power source for smooth chain operation.

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Jackson Hill is a passionate arborist with years of experience in the field of trees. He developed his fascination with trees at a young age, spending countless hours exploring the forests and climbing trees. Jackson went on to study arboriculture and horticulture at Michigan State University and later earned a degree in forestry from the University of Michigan.

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With his extensive knowledge and expertise, Jackson has become a trusted authority on trees and their impact on the environment. His work has helped shape the field of arboriculture and he continues to be a leading voice in the industry.

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