How To Fix A Chainsaw That Won’t Start – 11 Reasons & Solutions

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to start your chainsaw, only to have it refuse to turn on no matter how many times you pull the cord. If your chainsaw won’t start, there are a few possible explanations – and thankfully, a few easy solutions.

A chainsaw is a critical tool for anyone who loves working in the garden or landscape. Whether you’re pruning branches, cutting firewood, or clearing fallen trees from your yard, having a reliable chainsaw can be a real time-saver – and it’s much more convenient than trying to use a hand saw or an ax.

Fix A Chainsaw That Won't Start

If your chainsaw won’t start, try these tips:

  1. Check the fuel level – if it’s too low, you may not be getting enough gas to make your chainsaw run properly. If you are using a gas powered chainsaw, fill up the tank and see if that fixes the problem. If you try operating a chainsaw with no gas in it, the air running through it could cause damage as it overheats.
  2. Check the air filter – if the intake is blocked or dirty, your chainsaw may not be getting enough oxygen to start up properly. Wipe off any debris and make sure there are no other issues that could be preventing your chainsaw from turning on. Make sure it’s properly adjusted – if your chain tension, chain brake, and anti-kickback device aren’t working properly, it can be difficult to start your chainsaw.
  3. Your Spark Arrestor is Probably Clogged – Your spark plug creates sparks that mix with oil to keep your engine running. The spark arrestor on your chainsaw stops these sparks from causing fires. If it becomes clogged, your chainsaw may be unable to start.
  4. The Exhaust Port Is Clogged – Clogged exhaust ports prevent chainsaws from starting for the same reason a clogged air filter does. If your chainsaw is having trouble starting, check the exhaust port and clean it out if necessary. If there is a soot deposit in the exhaust port, it will block the airflow to the spark plug and prevent your chainsaw from turning on. A clogged exhaust port may also cause your engine to run poorly or stall out, so it’s important to keep it clean and functioning properly.
  5. The Spark Plug Isn’t Working – If you have tried all of these steps, the last possible explanation is that your spark plug isn’t functioning properly. Try replacing the spark plug to see if that fixes the problem and get your chainsaw running again. Replacing spark plugs is inexpensive and easy. To replace it, locate the spark plug and unscrew it from its cylinder using a wrench. Then, screw in a new spark plug and tighten it using the wrench.
  6. External Temperature Changes – If your chainsaw isn’t starting properly even after testing all of these tips, it could be a sign that the external temperature is affecting how your chainsaw works. If it’s particularly hot or cold out, this might make it harder for your chainsaw to start. At very low temperatures, many chainsaws do not run this is because the oil within them thickens. If the oil is thicker, it will be harder to combust. So, if you’re having issues starting your chainsaw, idle it for a bit longer so the oil-fuel mix has time to warm up.
  7. Faulty Ignition Coil – If your chainsaw still won’t start even after trying all of these tips, it may be a sign that the ignition coil is faulty. A faulty ignition coil can cause the spark plug to misfire or not get enough voltage. The ignition coil in a chainsaw is responsible for transmitting electricity to the electrodes of the spark plug. This, in turn, generates the spark needed to combust the oil-fuel mix and start the chainsaw. If the ignition coil is faulty, it may not be getting enough voltage to create the spark that’s needed.
  8. Faulty Recoil Starter – Another potential problem could be a faulty recoil starter. The recoil starter is the spring mechanism used to start up a gas-powered chainsaw. To check if the recoil starter is working properly, try pulling it several times and see if the chainsaw starts. If not, you may want to consider having the recoil starter replaced.
  9. The Recoil Starter Pulley May Be Broken or Stuck – The recoil starter pulley helps to retract the starter rope. If the starter rope does not return to its original position and loosens up, this may be a sign of a broken or stuck recoil starter pulley. Try pulling the rope several times to see if it returns properly. If not, you may need to have the recoil starter replaced.
  10. The Fuel Filter Is Clogged – The fuel filter on your chainsaw helps keep debris away from your engine and ensures that combustion happens smoothly. If the fuel filter is clogged or dirty, it may be hard for your chainsaw to start. To test if this is the problem, remove and clean out the fuel filter by removing any debris stuck in it.
  11. The Fuel Mixture Is Dirty – If you’ve already checked the fuel filter and it’s clean, the problem may be that the mixture of oil and gas is dirty. If this is the case, try emptying out half a gallon of gas from your chainsaw tank and filling it back up with fresh gas.

Making a chainsaw last longer

Like any tool, a chainsaw requires proper care and maintenance to function properly and last as long as possible. With a little TLC, you can extend the life of your chainsaw and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

Using a Chainsaw to Clear Brush

Clean Your Chainsaw After Every Use

It’s important to clean your chainsaw after every use, even if it doesn’t look particularly dirty. Over time, sawdust, sap, and other debris can build up on the blades and in the crevices of the saw, making it harder for the saw to function properly. A good cleaning will help keep your saw running smoothly.

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To clean your chainsaw, remove any debris from the chain with a brush or cloth. Then, wipe down the body of the saw with a damp cloth. Be sure to clean all the nooks and crannies, including under the handle where residue can accumulate. Once you’re finished cleaning, dry the saw completely before storing it away.

Sharpen Your Chainsaw’s Blades Regularly

Another important step in maintaining your chainsaw is sharpening the blades regularly. Dull blades not only make it harder to cut through the wood – they are also more likely to kick back, which could cause serious injury.

A sharp blade will make cutting easier and safer. You should sharpen your chainsaw’s blades at least once a month, or more often if you use it frequently.

Store Your Chainsaw Properly

When you’re not using your chainsaw, be sure to store it properly to prevent damage. Clean and oil the chain before storing it – this will help prevent rusting.

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Keep your chainsaw stored in a place where it won’t get wet or damaged by other tools or equipment. Ideally, you should keep it in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme heat.

Lubricate moving parts

Another important step in maintaining your chainsaw is to regularly lubricate all moving parts. This includes the bar, chain, sprocket, and bearings. Use only lubricants that are specifically designed for chainsaws – regular motor oil will not suffice.

Apply the lubricant carefully so that it does not gum up or drip onto the engine. Check your chainsaw’s user manual for recommendations on how often you should lubricate the moving parts, and be sure to follow the specified schedule to keep your saw in good working order.

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Get it serviced regularly

Just like any other type of machinery, a chainsaw needs to be serviced by a professional on a regular basis. A professional will be able to inspect and clean all the moving parts, fix any damaged or worn parts, and replace the filter as needed.

Can you Chainsaw a Stump?

If you don’t have the time or skills to regularly service your chainsaw yourself, it’s best to take it in for a professional tune-up at least once a year. Doing so will help keep your chainsaw running smoothly and prevent costly repairs down the road.

Final Thoughts

There are a few possible explanations for why your chainsaw might not be starting – but the good thing is there are also a few simple steps you can take to extend the life of your chainsaw and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

By cleaning your chainsaw after every use, sharpening its blades regularly, and getting it serviced by a professional on a regular basis, you can help ensure that your chainsaw lasts as long as possible.

If you’re looking for even more ways to maintain your chainsaw, you may also want to look into investing in a high-quality saw chain and a good-quality saw chain oil. By taking these simple steps, your chainsaw will be ready to tackle any project with ease and efficiency.