Used Motor Oil as Bar Oil

firecracker_77 Posted By firecracker_77, May 23, 2013 at 9:32 PM

  1. firecracker_77

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 16, 2010
    NWI office - 2 Heritages; Chicago home - Woodstock
    Anyone ever do this? I change oil on lawnmowers and cars. I end up with this oil. A guy from a local tree service uses old oil as bar oil. Says he has for years without problem.
  2. KaptJaq

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 31, 2011
    Long Island, NY
  3. Giles


    Nov 25, 2011
    N.W. Alabama
    You will get a lot of mixed opinions but this is mine-----Some people argue that the used oil is too contaminated or dirty for chain lube. It is my opinion that if the oil was good enough for an automobile or truck, in the last few miles, it's good enough for my chain.
    However, with this being said, I use bar oil. One reason is the "stickiness" of bar oil. It stays on the C/B longer and so lubricates better. If I chose to use old motor oil, I would add some STP or other sticky oil additive. I have done that in a pinch.
  4. Ashful

    Minister of Fire

    Mar 7, 2012
    The manual for each of my saws explicitly states, "do not put used motor oil in the bar oil tank". Most also state that you can run motor oil, particularly in cold weather, but that it must be new / un-used motor oil. The fact that Stihl, Husqvarna, and Echo all thought to write that in their manuals makes me think there must be good reason for this.

    Besides, I run my saws likely more than 90%+ of the folks on this forum, and still only manage to go thru roughly 2-3 gallons of bar oil per year. How much money would I really save running used motor oil?
  5. TreePointer

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 22, 2010
    Western PA
    Used motor oil contains toxins that I don't want in my body or in my ground. That's why I don't use it.
    Grisu, jeff_t, ScotO and 2 others like this.
  6. bogydave

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 4, 2009
    So Cent ALASKA
    Most don't use dirty oil.
    Cost for new oil not that much. Might save problems down the road.

    But some use it.
    Not many pro cutters do though. Probaly good reasons not to.
    NH_Wood likes this.
  7. StihlHead


    Not a good idea. For several reasons. Used motor oil contains blowby carbon, unburned gasoline and fine metal particles suspended in it. That stuff is toxic and not good for the environment. Also the fine metal grains in the used oil will stretch your chains and wear your bars down faster. Also most motor oil is multi-grade and has added polymers to achieve this. While they are said to be 'mildly toxic', these added polymers are still toxic. Also most motor oils have detergents and dispersants in them to suspend the crud and blowby (unless it is labeled ND, or non detergent). These induce the oil to fling off the bar faster than non detergent oil, and far faster than a bar oil with a tackifier in it. As a result your chains will stretch faster and your bars will wear faster. These detergent additives also get into the water runoff and are not good in streams, lakes and rivers.

    What you want to use is either a veggie based biodegradable oil that will not harm the environment, like canola oil with a tackifier in it, or a clean single viscosity (typically 30 WT) non-detergent bar oil that has a tackifier added to it so it sticks to your bar and chain longer. In a pinch, if you have to, use clean new ND 30 WT oil as bar oil, but bar oil is much better stuff.

    Man, I am getting tired of giving this sermon... as they teach us in avalanche training, one guy does something stupid and the rest have to follow, because they saw the first guy do it.
  8. MasterMech


    Anybody who wants to spray used engine oil all over my property is at the very least, asked to leave immediately. And I could cross the street without looking both ways and I bet I'd get away with it for a while without problems too. ;) Anyplace that sells oil will take it back for disposal. It's the law. Or if you accumulate enough of it, there are companies that will buy it from you.

    You can always tell a saw that receives a steady diet of used oil for bar lube. The saw is usually covered in black grime. And that's the least of many good resons to not use drain oil as bar lube. The only argument in favor is that it's cheap. It has little to do with how well or how poorly the oil will lubricate. Bad for the saw, bad for you, and bad for mother earth.

    Using clean motor oil isn't the worst sin but bar oil is heavier viscosity (much better in warm weather) and as has been pointed out by others, specially formulated to stick to the chain and bar rails much better than motor oil would.

    $10 buys a gallon of bar oil, or a ton of canola/veggie oil, and even 1 gallon gets a whole lotta wood cut.
    jeff_t, StihlHead and Nixon like this.
  9. ScotO


    Not only is it not good for you or the environment, but it is frigging MESSY as heck! I bought a couple McCulloch PM610's a few years back from a guy in a neighboring town, and when I went to pick them up, they were COVERED in used motor oil. I was ready to back out of the whole deal, just based on how messy the saws were from that crap. He ended up knocking the price in half (got both saws for a total of 60 bucks!), because of that garbage mess all over them. And I had several hours tearing the saws apart and cleaning that stuff off of them.

    IMO, it's best to get the right stuff for your bar lube. buy a couple gallons of canola oil or bar oil (bar oil locally at a surplus store down the road is 10 bucks a gallon), it'll last you quite a while...
    jeff_t and StihlHead like this.
  10. StihlHead


    Yah, used crankcase oil is really messy stuff. I bought a used 026 once from a guy and it had used motor oil in the oil tank. Had to drain the tank, then had to clean it out, then had to remove all the grime on the saw where that crap had gotten into. It had a bad smell to it as well. That wound up being my 026 doner saw. I swapped all the crappy parts from my 026/260 collection onto it and all the good parts from that saw to the others. Then I sold it really cheap on CL as a beater. It ran good but... it was seriously abused.
  11. HDRock

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 25, 2012
    Grand Blanc, Mi
    Bottom line is ,as said, Used motor oil is dirty,It contains blowby carbon, unburned gasoline and metal particles. Just use CLEAN sticky bar oil,or CLEAN canola oil
    Most likely you would not put used oil from your car,in your lawn mower, why in hell would U think it's ok to put it in a chainsaw or any other equipment ;?
    Might as well throw a little sand in the tank while you are at it ::P
    StihlHead likes this.
  12. mywaynow

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 13, 2010
    I used it for a while as a 50/50 mix. New saws and big sale on bar oil and I am officially out of the motor oil reuse market. Scored 10 gallons of Husky bar oil when TSC discontinued the line at a 50% discount (along with a case of 50:1 mix) and don't see the need to buy more for years and years.
  13. raybonz

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 5, 2008
    Carver, MA.
    I have used some used motor oil on the splitter where pusher slides but it is messy. People here suggested using canola oil for the bar and it works well plus will not harm anything. Canola oil is inexpensive and I used Walmart great value version of pure canola oil with no issues. Canola has a little tack to it so it sticks to the chain better too. Bar and chain oil is made with a tack additive for this reason whereas engine oil has no tack additive..

  14. maple1

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    I found a ms250 on Kijiji a month ago, for $60. It needed a bar - the sprocket was jammed up, and the groove all messed up next to the sprocket. It also had a layering of the black mess all over the bar side. No problem telling what was going on there. Maybe the bar was at the end of its life anyway, but the black stuff in the oil tank sure didn't do it any good. I brought it home, cleaned it up, put a new B&C on it, and it's working awesome.
  15. gzecc

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 24, 2008
    I mix bar oil and my used engine oil. Its called recycling. It goes back to mother earth fast that way.
    wazzu and Bigg_Redd like this.
  16. stephiedoll

    Burning Hunk

    Feb 10, 2008
    omaha, ne
    Tractor Supply Company. On sale now for $6.29 a gallon here. Need to pick up a few more gallons.
    PapaDave likes this.
  17. jeff_t

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 14, 2008
    SE MI
    Every container I have in my garage carries a warning label explaining the cancer causing properties of used engine oil on laboratory mice. All of my drain oil goes back into the empty container, then taken to friends that have a modern used oil burning furnace in their shop.
    raybonz likes this.
  18. StihlHead


    You would do far better to recycle your used motor oil at a recycling center where it will be filtered properly. Also Mother Earth does not like the heavy metals, blowby gasses, and detergent in the used motor oil, and in that regard it is called polluting.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 19, 2008
    Shelton, WA
    I would do it. I don't. Because it's a super messy pain in the @$$. But I would.
    Ashful likes this.
  20. StihlHead


    This thread has me thinking of mixing bar oil and canola oil 50:50. That way I get the tackifier in the bar oil, and reduce the pollution by a factor of 50%.
    PapaDave and raybonz like this.
  21. nate379


    I buy bar oil in 5 gallon pails. Went through 2 pails last year, now with the processor I'm sure I'll double or triple that. I refuse to use used motor oil. Maybe in a crap $74.99 "Wild Thang" saw, but I woudn't think of it on any of my equipment.

    My used oil gets burned. Either in my trash barrel or in my friends waste oil heater.
  22. raybonz

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 5, 2008
    Carver, MA.
    I have done this and also have run canola oil straight and it has a light tack to it and works very well too.. A couple respected chainsaw people here have recommended this and do it as well.. Zap does lots of cutting and uses straight canola oil.. I bought Walmart brand pure canola oil cheap and it works great and flows excellent in cold weather..

  23. PapaDave

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 23, 2008
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    I still have about 1/2 qt. of canola I plan to mix in with the inexpensive, $6/gallon b/c oil I got at TSC.
    I like the idea of keeping any more crap out of the ground if at all possible.
    So, to the OP, I wont do it.
    "A guy from a local tree service uses old oil as bar oil. Says he has for years without problem." Maybe not for him, but how about the rest of us and future generations?
    This attitude bugs me.
    StihlHead and raybonz like this.
  24. nate379


    I get the oil at a local dealer, it runs about $30 a pail so $6/gal. Never heard of using Canola oil, but to save maybe $50-100 a year and use something that really wasn't designed to be used on a bar/chain, not worth it.

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