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How to Fix DEWALT Pole Saw Problems

A collage of different types of pole saw.

Whether you require pruning in high places or need to cut your proud tree down a few notches, you can always count on the quality of DEWALT’s pole saw. Unfortunately, as the time immemorial law went, “what can go wrong with your DEWALT pole saw will go wrong.” So, read the prophesied article to solve your power tool’s problems.”

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All of DEWALT’S pole saws seem to suffer similar troubles whether you’re dealing with the electric or gas-driven models. Here are some generic problems:

1. Pole saw power-system doesn’t work properly

2. Saw chain performs poorly

3. Guide bar and saw chain malfunctions

4. Unit starts but doesn’t cut

Table of Contents Show

DEWALT Battery-Run Pole Saw Problems

A man cutting the branch of a tree using a pole saw.

Regardless of the type of motor that your pole saw might use, it should encounter similar issues when it doesn’t start or suffers from annoying hiccups.

To keep up with the appropriate maintenance for your DEWALT giraffe saw, you need to orientate yourself with the device. That’s why it’s helpful to watch other people’s reviews of their pole saws so you can familiarize yourself with both the mechanics of the tool, its strengths, and its pitfalls.


The following numbered headaches highlight some of the most common snags that might be disrupting your productivity on your battery-driven DEWALT pole saw:

1. DEWALT Pole Saw Won’t Work

Although both the brushed and brushless motors on DEWALT’s pole saws can make operating the power tool a breeze, they can be both culprit and victim when your machine doesn’t start or work as it should.

When your pole saw doesn’t work, the causes can range from a battery pack fault to an issue with the chain.

Unless you encounter a damaged part or guard that needs replacement by a qualified professional, you can end your tree’s respite quicker than you think with some of these tried solutions.

Solution 1: Inspect Battery Pack Installation

A man checking on the battery of a pole saw.

Often the most obvious solutions are the correct ones. This ancient adage applies perfectly to your DEWALT’s pole saw, as the battery pack is the lifeblood of this piece of hardware.

If you aren’t getting any movement or signs of life from your pole saw, check that the battery pack is installed correctly. Before installing your battery, make sure it holds a full charge.

To correctly connect the battery pack to the tool handle,

  • Align the battery pack with the tool handle’s rails and gently push it in until you feel the battery pack engage and sit firmly into place.
  • Before moving on, check that it doesn’t disengage when you let go.

To remove the battery pack from the assembly, press the release button and firmly pull it out of the tool handle. Following the proper docking and dismounting procedure will help not damage the connection mechanisms and help ensure a properly working device.

Solution 2: Disengage the Safety

New owners of this device, or folks from the gas-powered version, must be made aware that the lock button and trigger switch must be continually held down during operation. When the safety trigger is engaged, the pole saw will work.

You’ll need to pull back and squeeze to actuate the trigger switch using your thumb.

Alternatively, you can avoid the back-and-forth tussle with safety and MacGyver a less irritating solution. However, this hack is only for the rebels that grab responsibility for personal security by the reigns and won’t blame this nebulous voice on the internet for any avoidable mishaps.

You can tape the safety switch in the ON position when using the unit and remove the tape when you’re done. Again, DEWALT says explicitly not to do this, so be extra cautious, as it’s better to get Carpal tunnel from squeezing two triggers than cost someone that hand.

You can also use something like a quick-release clamp to hold the switch. This will allow you to keep the quick responsiveness of the original safety switch without the awkward hand position.

Solution 3: Check Battery Charge

Some versions of this device come equipped with a “fuel gauge,” which reports the rough amount of battery charge your pole saw has left. DEWALT’s pole saws use three LEDs as indicators.

If all three LEDs glow green, the battery is between 75% and 100%. Two greens indicate a charge of between 51% to 74%. One green light means that the battery power is less than 51%, and no glow suggests a need for a recharge.

Your unit will only power if the battery level is above the recommended level for use. Suppose your pole saw doesn’t have an indicator for your battery level. In that case, you should suspect a need for a recharge if you’ve done over 70 cuts without recharging the battery.

Be aware that the number of cuts you can get out of a full charge decreases over time as the battery’s efficiency declines and nears its limit. Regardless of your location’s climate, please store your pole saw indoors in a cool and dry spot, out of the prying reach of excessive sunlight and kids.

Replace the entire battery if you’ve had it longer than 3 to 6 years. Locations with temperature extremes will cause faster battery degradation. Include the catalog number and battery voltage when you order replacement battery packs.

Remember that brand-new DEWALT pole saws don’t come with a charged battery pack. So, please consult the manual on safely and correctly using the charger and give your battery pack its first juice.

Solution 4: Remove Trapped Foliage

Debris and long grass can get caught underneath the pole saw scabbard and in the workings of the guide bar. The trapped foliage can impede the saw chain from running, harming your motor if you keep attempting to turn the device on without cleaning it.

You follow the same steps as you would in replacing a saw chain when you wish to check for any caught foliage in the guide bar.

  • Place the tool on a firm surface and use the device’s provided hex wrench to rotate the two hex head screws on the scabbard counterclockwise.
  • Remove the sprocket cover, bar clamp, and hex screws, and clean out any accumulated dirt or debris.
  • Reverse the process to restore function to the machine without disturbing the saw chain’s tension.

Solution 5: Run Weekly Maintenance

Make it a routine to run regular maintenance for your pole saw by blowing away any dust from openings with dry and clean air. Do this procedure at least once weekly and wear protective eyewear because the dirt can fly everywhere.

Like cleaning the charger, don’t use water, harsh chemicals, or solvents to clean the tool’s non-metallic components. As chemicals might damage the plastic parts, use only a cloth slightly dampened with water and mild soap.

Don’t let any water droplets make it into the tool’s interior. Always run maintenance with the battery pack taken out to avoid accidental starts. Remove the battery after using the devices for 10 minutes to check the bar and chain’s tension and lubrication.

Make Bob The Builder proud by being cautious of the potentially hot chain and bar.

Solution 6: Free Device and Restart

A man carrying a pole saw.

Brushless motors don’t like having torque pushed on them when starting. So, as rare as it is for the more powerful brushless motor, sometimes you position the saw on a tree branch and attempt to start it but have it fail.

When this happens, lift the saw off the branch, pull the trigger again, and it should start running like Forest.

The chain works counter-intuitively, as some people find that the device’s protest will happen more on tinier limbs and matter than on giant boughs. The chain is at a greater risk of catching and whipping back when cutting small material.

Solution 7: Examine Pole Connection

The device isn’t much of a pole saw without its reach. That reach is only possible by correctly attaching the handle assembly to the saw head assembly.

To correctly join the handle module to the saw head module,

  1. Locate the grooves cut outside the coupling end of the handle assembly.
  2. Align these grooves with the matching tongue inside the coupling end of the saw head module.
  3. Firmly push the sections together until there’s a smooth attachment. Something needs to be aligned if you need to force the connections.
  4. Finish by sliding down the saw head assembly’s threaded sleeve as far as you can take it and fully rotate the sleeve clockwise until it can’t be turned further and anymore covers the threads.


2. DEWALT Pole Saw Doesn’t Charge

Properly charging your device’s battery is integral to the pole saw’s overall performance. When your power equipment’s battery pack refuses to charge, you can usually resolve the issue with one of the following solutions.

Solution 1: Examine Battery Pack and Charger for Faults

A man checking the engine of the pole saw.

Attempting to recharge your battery pack when itself, or the charger, has sustained damage can be catastrophic for the components and your health.

Examine the battery pack and charger, and keep an eye out for any foreign material contamination, parts that look warped, chipped, bent, and generally not kosher-looking.

The battery might be damaged if the red charging light doesn’t come on, but the issue might also be with the charger. Take the suspicious ensemble to an authorized service center to be tested.

Solution 2: Review Recharging Procedure

Knowing how to charge your battery pack correctly is critical for your safety and the battery’s optimal functionality. First, ensure that the charger is used in a well-ventilated space with a steady ambient temperature of between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

To charge your battery the appropriate way,

  • Find the charger and battery pack in an area with the correct ambient temperature.
  • Test the functionality of the power outlet beforehand by connecting other devices to it.
  • Don’t use an extension cord; position the charger upright and plug the charger directly into a standard 120V wall outlet before you insert the battery.
  • Now fully seat the battery pack into the charger; it is properly connected and executing the recharging process if you see the charging light continuously blinking red.
  • You’ll know that the recharging cycle is complete when the charging indicator light stops blinking and stays glowing red.

Take note that you can leave the battery in the charger to help maintain a full charge in between uses of your power tool.

When you’re ready to use your pole saw, disconnect the battery pack from the charger by depressing the battery release button located on the battery pack; no, berating the controller won’t work—subdued chuckle.

Moving on from our one-sided fun, you’ll now want to slide the battery pack out of the charger.

Solution 3: Clean Battery Charger

The charging unit has several safety features, and an accumulation of dirt can impede the manufacturer’s intended operationality. You’ll want to guarantee that the body and crevices of the charger are free from dirt and debris, especially regarding the internal fan.

With all recent models, the chargers have a fan that automatically kicks in to cool the battery pack if it is over the desired temperature. Inspect the ventilation slots of the fan and free them of any blockages. Older models will also have vents that require that keen eye of yours.

The fan on DEWALT’s newer and more powerful fast chargers (DCB118 and upwards) should be audible and running while the charger is doing its business with the battery. It only stops when the battery is fully charged. It’s advised to only operate the charger if the fan is working correctly.

Precede any cleaning of the charger by unplugging it from electrical power. Remove dirt and grease cake from the charger’s surface with a soft-bristled non-metallic brush or cloth. Abide by the ancient law, and don’t use water or any cleaning solution to clean your charger.

To prevent any unfortunate mishaps, guard against foreign objects from making their way into the charger’s interior workings. Remember also to unplug the charger when not in use.

Solution 4: Test Your Electrical Power Outlet

A man cutting branches using an electric pole saw.

Sometimes it’s neither you, the battery pack nor the battery but the power outlet you trust to deliver you electricity. Plug your charger in other outlets to test this theory out. If your charger still needs to be fixed, plug different devices into the same outlets.

If none of the devices work, then your issue might be with a tripped breaker. Locate your electrical panel in whichever light-forsaken corner of your basement and see if you have any breakers facing down or facing a different direction from the other breaker switches. Match the breaker positions.

Solution 5: Give It a Second

DEWALT warns against charging a battery pack if it’s been subjected to temperatures below +40 degrees Fahrenheit or above +105 degrees Fahrenheit.

The charger will automatically engage a Hot/Cold delay when it detects these unsuitable working conditions. It will suspend the recharging process until the battery pack returns to an appropriate temperature.

If your charging location’s air temperature is within range, use an infrared thermometer to check the battery pack’s temperature. Supposing that your battery pack has inappropriate temperatures for charging, wait until it naturally returns to normal.

The charger should automatically return to pack charging mode, and your woes might be cut short. This feature is for maintaining the best battery health and the slow charging of a cold battery pack compared to a warmer one.

Don’t be alarmed when you notice the slower charging rate, even when the battery has returned to an average working temperature. The slower charging rate will persist if you begin the recharging cycle with a battery below temperature. Charging speeds should return to normal in the following replenishing cycle.

Solution 6: Service Your Device

Alas, if you’ve tried everything on this list but still facing a non-charger, it might be out of our collective hands and capabilities. It’s best to take it in to get inspected at your nearest service center.

3. DEWALT Pole Saw Performs Poorly

A wear out pole saw cutting a log.

With constant use and lapsed maintenance, your pole saw might start performing in a suboptimal state. Unfortunately, even the most studious of us can sometimes be met with a gradual or sudden drop in performance and end up with a pole saw that runs too inadequately to be called a saw.

Knowing how to run routine maintenance on your DEWALT pole saw decently is critical to ensuring optimal operation and an extended lifespan, as demonstrated by the linked YouTube.

Solution 1: Revise Your Used Storage Protocol

As with anything involving electrical power, even mundane things are more complex; in addition to storing your battery in a cool and dry spot, you’ll want to keep it only when it is fully charged. This is especially true when you are preparing to keep your battery for a while without use. In this abandonment case, keep your battery out of the charger.

Solution 2: Recharge the Battery Pack

In cases where your pole saw fails to produce the same power it did before on the same or similar job, it might just be low on charge. You’ll want to follow the correct charging procedure and put the battery pack on recharge.

This might be surprising, but similarly to your other devices with rechargeable batteries, your DEWALT pole saw loses charge even in storage.

Always recharge your battery before use. According to the company, you should be able to leave the batteries in the charger over short intervals when not in use to keep a full charge. DEWALT’s newer Li-Ion tools have an Electronic Protection System (EPS) that staves off overloading, overheating, and deep discharge.

If your tool switches off because the EPS is activated, connect the battery to the charger and patiently wait until the recharging process is completed.

Solution 3: Calibrate Your Saw Chain Tension

Close up segments of chains for saw.

A frustrating nuisance can quickly turn catastrophic for your pole saw and even dangerous for you if the chain gets jammed and come loose. Like on DEWALT’s chainsaws, the tension on the device must be set just right to have a correctly functioning pole saw.

An incorrectly tensioned chain can significantly and negatively impact the performance of your pole saw. Adjusting the chain’s tension is straightforward.

  1. Place the pole saw on a sturdy surface.
  2. Pull the chain 1/8″ (3 mm) away from the guide bar and watch if it snaps back to place. Use gentle force through your pointing finger and thumb.
  3. Clear any obstacles between the saw chain and guide bar and ensure no slack when looking from the underside.
  4. Loosen hex head screws to adjust the tension.
  5. The chain tension screw sitting on the front of the housing should be rotated using a flat screwdriver.
  6. Once the tensioning feels right, tighten the hex head screws to the clamp bar.

Please use less tension on the chain, as it causes faster wear and tear on the chain and guide bar while simultaneously reducing the number of cuts per charge. Keep a close eye on the tension of new pole saws during the first 2 hours of usage due to the propensity of the chain stretching a bit.

Always check and adjust the chain’s tension before use. Before storing your device after use, ensure that you reduce the tension as the chain contracts as it loses some of the generated heat from working and could cause damage to the pole saw if the stress isn’t reduced.

Solution 4: Add Some More Lubrication

As a stroke of luck for the glass-half-full lot, your pole will drop diagnostic hints when it needs its oil replenished. You might be dealing with an overheating bar or chain if your hardworking and uncomplaining pole saw suddenly begins whining and producing unfamiliar sounds.

It is relatively uncomplicated to add more oil to your pole saw,

  • Turn the pole saw entirely off.
  • Locate the oil reservoir and remove the oil cap.
  • Use the recommended bar and chain oil and fill the reservoir until the oil is level with the oil level indicator.
  • Put back the oil cap.

Periodically check the oil level indicator to ensure that your machine is always well-oiled while running. There should always be at least a quarter of oil in the oil tank when the pole saw is in use.

Your pole saw should have an auto-oiling system that keeps a constant feed oil to the chain and bar. Ensure that the auto-oiling system works before further use by checking if the chain is kept oiled up.

Solution 5: Clean Air Vents

A bit of kickback from your pole saw is manageable and can sometimes happen, even though DEWALT has designed the guide bar and chain to work against kickback.

Sudden or excessive kickback makes using your power tool unsafe, inaccurate, and ineffective. Still, it can hint towards a need for a maintenance run.

Clear debris from the air vents and ensure that nothing makes it into them.

To reduce the risk of kickback, you can install a safety tip to cover the pole saw’s nose and use a reduced kickback chain, chain braking system, and special guard bars for added security.

Solution 6: Sharpen Saw Chain Teeth

A man sharpening the teeth of a chain saw.

With use and sometimes some misuse, your device’s chain saw teeth would dull and not cut as they once did. Keep the chain’s teeth sharp for optimal cutting performance.

Take the pole saw’s teeth to get sharpened at a DEWALT service center. Sharpening does reduce the potency of the kickback features.

Solution 7: Replace Bar and Chain

You’ll know that your bar, chain, or both need replacement when you notice damage or misalignment to the teeth of the chain or ruin to the bar. Damage to the chain and bar might lead to the chain not rotating, cutting, or having the chain stuck inside the bar.

Buy a replacement bar and chain from your local DEWALT service center. To be safe, always have the service part numbers needed to avoid purchasing any faulty parts.

Solution 8: Unclog Your Oil Feed

Sometimes the oil feed might get blocked by sawdust or other foreign material that manage to sneak their way in. A clogged oil feed will cause the oil to not flow properly to the chain and bar. Inspect the oil feed for any potential clogs.

5. DEWALT Pole Saw Leaks Oil

When your pole saw begins leaking oil, it can be messy, but it’s often not a cause for concern.

Solution 1: Refill Your Oil Tank

A chain saw with a gallon of oil and fuel.

It would be best if you emptied the oil tank when you aren’t using your pole saw to avoid leaking oil. You can reuse the oil next time if it looks clean.

Solution 2: Wipe Down Surfaces

Sometimes the machine will leak oil when you’re using it. Unfortunately, this is just part of DEWALT’s design, and you should wipe your device down and pay it no mind.

4. Pole Saw Runs but Doesn’t Cut

It’s often baffling when everything is in shape, but you still need help to get cuts out of your pole saw. This problem usually occurs due to the chain being installed backward.


Additionally, you’ll need to follow the same steps in freeing your chain if the pole saw runs but doesn’t cut. The saw chain will not cut if it has been installed backward, so ensure that you install it according to the steps found in your user manual.

DEWALT Gas-Run Pole Saw Faults

The gas-powered version of DEWALT’s pole saw often encounters similar problems to the electric version. If you filter out the involvement of battery and electrical power from the above section, you should arrive at matching solutions.

However, this section will quickly cover all the common problems and possible solutions and refer you to a more in-depth answer in the previous section where applicable:

1. DEWALT Pole Saw Engine Won’t Work

An engine of a chainsaw.

The pole saw’s engine drives it and gives this gas-powered version of DEWALT’s pole saw its uniqueness. It’s the engine that affords the gas-variant power and potency. However, the machine is also susceptible to some rather annoying pitfalls because of the engine.

Solution 1: Replenish the Fuel Tank

This is the most fortunate mishap, as it only involves the occasional slip of the mind. The fuel should be the first thing you check when you’re about to operate your pole saw. Whenever you need to refuel, make sure to use fresh fuel and one that’s mixed according to the user’s manual.

The mixing ratio is 50:1, unleaded gasoline to 2-cycle oil, i.e., 1 US gallon to 2.6 fluid ounces. Use a separate fuel can; don’t mix the mixture in the pole saw’s fuel tank.

Follow the same mixing procedure if you opt to use blended fuels. In addition to the mentioned steps, use STA-BIL or an equivalent product as a fuel additive. Mix the gasoline carefully before adding it to the pole saw’s fuel tank.

To refill the unit safely,

  • Orientate the pole saw, so the fuel cap is vertical and faces up.
  • Slowly uncap the fuel tank.
  • Position the fuel container nose in the fuel tank refill hole and fill it up.
  • Don’t overfill the tank, and wipe clean any spilled fuel.

Solution 2: Press the Primer Bulb

When starting the engine cold, the primer bulb is responsible for filling the carburetor with the correct fuel amount. The engine might only work if the primer bulb is pressed enough. Fully push down the primer bulb slowly ten times.

Solution 3: Unflood Your Engine

Like a car, your pole saw’s engine will not work if flooded. Various reasons and actions may lead to a flooded engine but being able to tell when the engine has been flooded is essential and time-saving know-how.

The smell of fresh fuel near the muffler is often the surest sign that you’re likely dealing with a flooded engine. DEWALT recommends the following quick fix,

  • Move the choke lever from Position A back to B.
  • Press down on the throttle lockout while squeezing the throttle control.
  • Finally, give the starter rope a good pull until the engine starts.

Solution 4: Use Fresh Fuel

A man refilling the fuel of a chain saw.

You’ll want always to keep the fuel you use for your pole saw fresh. The fuel must be at most 30 days. If you suspect the fuel you’ve used was older than this timeframe, empty the fuel tank and refill it with fresh and clean unleaded fuel.

Ensure that you use the correct fuel mixture.

Solution 5: Replace the Sparkplug

If your pole saw’s engine is a non-starter or if it is running rough, the issue might be with a fouled spark. Locate the sparkplug next to the muffler and above the starter rope grip. It is in the same plane and side that the throttle lockout and on/off switch is on.

Inspect the sparkplug; replace it if you notice excessive dirt, cracking, or fouling. Under the “Maintaining The Sparkplug” subsection of your manual, right before the “Cleaning And Storage” section, you’ll find the exact replacement part number for your region.

Maintaining your sparkplug is essential to mitigate this exact issue. The sparkplug’s maintenance routine is pretty simple,

  • Cut the machine’s engine and allow it time to cool down. Firmly grip the sparkplug’s boot and disconnect it from the sparkplug.
  • Use a clean cloth to clean around the sparkplug. Use a 5/8-inch socket to remove the sparkplug from the cylinder head by turning it the usual counterclockwise.
  • Clean and inspect the sparkplug for any fouling.
  • Set the air gap at 0.025 inches by using a feeler gauge.
  • Reinstall the sparkplug using the same tools and turn it in the opposite direction you used in its dismount until you feel it lock snugly.
  • Reconnect the sparkplug boot and give your now veteran self a deserved high-five.

2. DEWALT Pole Saw Engine Won’t Idle

A man assembling an engine of the chainsaw.

Your pole saw’s rebellious starting and stalling might initially be frustrating. Still, once you realize that it is an easily solvable common occurrence, you can chalk it up to being a remediable phase.

Solution 1: Check the Air Filter

The air filter should be the first suspect on the list when you have idling problems, and you’ve had your gas pole saw for a while. You’ll want to examine the air filter before considering the other solutions.

To inspect or replace the air filter,

  1. Unscrew the air filter’s cover screw that secures the air filter cover.
  2. Take out the air filter from its housing—it sits above the choke lever.
  3. Inspect it for any dirt or a darkened hue to its constitution. A healthy air filter should be a white or an off-white shade.
  4. Use water and detergent to wash the air filter and rinse it thoroughly afterward.
  5. Apply a thin coating of SAE 30 oil to the air filter once it has entirely dried.
  6. Give the air filter careful squeezing to spread and drain excess oil.
  7. Put the air filter back into its housing.
  8. Clip the hooks on the air filter housing into the slots inside the cover.
  9. Finally, swing the air filter cover to the right to align the cover screw with the cover screw hole and give the cover screw a good tightening to lock the air filter cover in place. Don’t over-tighten the cover screw.

Solution 2: Use Fresh and Correct Fuel

You should only leave fuel in the fuel tank for a short period of not using the machine. When you do, it could lead to fuel caking and cause clogs. Old fuel can also lead to idling problems, so ensure that you replace all fuel older than 30 days.

Follow the advice in the previous subsection to get the correct fuel mixture and refill your engine-driven pole saw correctly.

Solution 3: Adjust Your Idling Speed

Fret not; making adjustments to the pole saw’s incorrect idle speed is easy.

  • Begin by following the correct starting procedure for the engine, and remember to engage the primer bulb properly and allow the engine time to warm up.
  • Release the throttle control that you were holding throughout the engine’s starting procedure and allow the engine a chance to idle.
  • If the engine immediately stops, increase the idling speed by using a small Phillips screwdriver to rotate the idle screw clockwise. Turn the screw 1/8 of a turn each revolution until you get the engine idling steadily.
  • But, if the saw chain spins as the engine idles, reduce the idle speed by turning the idle speed screw counterclockwise 1/8 of a revolution per turn until the saw chain stops its spin.

3. DEWALT Pole Saw Engine Won’t Accelerate

Because of the nerfed performance, you can only do a little with acceleration with your DEWALT pole saw. That’s why any acceleration problem requires immediate troubleshooting.

Solution 1: Examine Your Air Filter

Yes, the air filter rears up its head again. This is because an ill-maintained air filter can result in your engine performing poorly, such as not giving you the acceleration you expect. Clean or replace your air filter by following the previously established steps.

Solution 2: Replace Your Fuel

Again, your fuel mixture should be at most 30 days. If the fuel in the pole saw’s tank is dirty or has been lying around for a month, you should replace it with fresh and clean gasoline.

Solution 3: Replace Your Sparkplug

Like troubleshooting an engine that won’t work, you’ll want to locate the sparkplug, remove its attached boot and inspect it for faults. Clean the area around the sparkplug, remove it from the unit, and check it for any wear and tear. Replace if you find any damage.

4. DEWALT Guide Bar And Saw Chain Act Out

The guide bar and saw chain make your DEWALT pole see what it is; otherwise, you might as well get yourself a chainsaw. There are straightforward solutions to address the guide bar and saw chain running hot, smoking, or being stuck.

Solution 1: Adjust Your Saw Chain Tension

A man checking the blade of the chain saw.

The chain tension might be too tight if you’re having these issues. An incorrect chain tension will also decrease the lifespan of some components if it needs to be regularly checked and adjusted. To adjust the chain tension,

  1. Ensure that the engine is turned off and is allowed time to cool if it is running. Wear gloves to avoid being cut by the sharp saw teeth, and remove the sparkplug boot to prevent accidental starts during the procedure.
  2. Untighten the bar-retaining nuts but don’t take them out.
  3. Position the tip of the guide bar between your forefinger and thumb and tighten the chain-tensioning screw by winding it clockwise to fasten the saw chain; turn it counterclockwise to loosen it.
  4. Ensure that the saw chain settles perfectly on the guide bar’s bottom without any slack.
  5. While holding the guide bar tip, screw the bar-retaining nut back on until it’s locked back in place.
  6. Test the saw chain’s tension by moving it backwards and forward in its position. It should move freely, so loosen it if it does not.

You should consistently check the saw chain tension before and after using your pole saw as the chain expands and contracts depending on the heat from the machine’s operation. This contraction holds especially true for a new saw chain, which might need an adjustment after just five cuts.

The saw chain needs an adjustment if you can see the flats on the saw hanging out of the bar groove.

Solution 2: Refill Your Chain Oil Reservoir

Like with fuel, you’ll want to inspect the oil regularly so it remains at sufficient levels and stays healthy-looking. The guide bar and saw chain need adequate oiling to reduce friction.

Among other detrimental things for your machine, you might notice a decreased cutting efficiency if your pole saw runs without enough lubrication.

A sure-tell sign that oil levels might cause the lack of rotation would be smoke from the cutting pair, a guide bar turning an off-color, and the unit begins deviating and increasing from its 3/8-inch pitch.

To check the oil level,

  • Set the machine on a level surface and position it with the chain oil cap facing up.
  • Check that the chain oil fills at least half the reservoir; if it is below that, it is time to refill it.

Refilling the chain oil tank is another straightforward task. To do so,

  • Keep the power tool on a flat surface with the oil reservoir facing up towards you.
  • Ensure that no sawdust, dirt, or debris sneaks into the reservoir, and use a damp cloth to the chain oil cap and the area around it.
  • Remove the chain oil cap, slowly pour the oil into the tank, and fill the oil to the lip of the fill opening. Don’t overfill the fuel tank.
  • Screw the oil cap back on and tighten it firmly.
  • Wipe up and clean any oil stragglers.

5. DEWALT Saw Chain Doesn’t Rotate

A man cutting small branches using pole saw.

If your pole saw’s engine works and the unit turns on, but the saw chain doesn’t rotate, the issues can range from saw chain tension to a damaged drive assembly.

Solution 1: Check Your Chain’s Tension

It can’t be emphasized enough just how important keeping your saw chain tensioned correctly is. If the tension of the saw chain is too tight, it can restrain the chain from rotating and doing its job.

To loosen the tension of the saw chain, you’ll adjust the saw chain’s tension using the steps that were covered in the previous section.

Solution 2: Examine Your Guide Bar and Saw Chain Assembly

Another likely cause for the saw chain not rotating might be the guide bar, and the saw chain being put together incorrectly. Check your user manual to ensure that your guide bar and saw chain are assembled correctly.

Solution 3: Replace Guide Bar And Saw Chain

To completely rule out the guide bar and saw chain from suspicion, carefully examine the assembly for any damage and excessive wear. Replace any parts that are visibly damaged or a bit too worse for wear.

Solution 4: Service Your Pole Saw

Another potential cause of this problem could be a damaged drive assembly. You’ll need to refer to the service information in your pole saw’s guide if you’ve exhausted all the other solutions.

6. DEWALT Pole Saw Rotates but Doesn’t Cut

The last common problem you might be facing with your gasoline pole saw could be that everything appears to function perfectly fine with the machine, with even the saw rotating, but its baffling won’t cut.

Solution 1: Sharpen or Replace Saw Chain

The teeth of the saw chain do hard work, and it’s only natural that they sometimes come across an adversary that dulls the blades more than you expected.

Just like with a knife or any metal with an edge, the saw chain is dulled if you can visibly see that it’s been ground down or if you think you can run your finger down the edge without fear of being cut.

In this case, you can either take the pole saw to a DEWALT authorized service dealer and have the blades sharpened or replace them. Please note that generally, every time you have the saw chain sharpened, it loses more of its kickback safety features.

Avoid placing the pole saw directly on concrete on its saw chain, as this can cause rapid degradation to the power equipment’s blade sharpness. Also, keep the saw chain far away from the material it isn’t intended to cut.

Solution 2: Correct Your Saw Chain Orientation

Chainsaw on a wooden background.

The pole saw will also not cut if the saw chain has been installed backward. You should check to see that the saw chain has been installed correctly and according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Rectify the saw chain’s direction if it is installed incorrectly.


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