How to Start Your STIHL Chainsaw?

Approx Reading Time: 9 minutes

STIHL is one of the best chainsaw brands available in the market today, so be rest assured if you have one. Starting a Stihl chainsaw is quite similar to how you start any other chainsaw from other brands. They usually come with the same levers and switches- the choke, throttle, recoil starter, and more. Although some features may vary, even from one Stihl model to another, most of them have a priming bulb and, most probably, a decompression valve. However, there are a few things that may differ between a Stihl and other chainsaws one of which is that most Stihl models have a switch for an on-off-run position. They have made the starting procedure quite easy and simple by including all these into a single master control lever located behind the handle.

To start your Stihl Chainsaw follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Check the Fuel Cap
  • Step 2: Activate the Chain Brake
  • Step 3: Remove the Bar Cover
  • Step 4: Press the Decompression Valve
  • Step 5: Pump the Primer Valve
  • Step 6: Set the Master Control to the Cold Start Setting
  • Step 7: Place the Chainsaw on Firm, Level Ground
  • Step 8: Hold the Chainsaw Down with Your Foot and Hand
  • Step 9: Pull the Starter Rope
  • Step 10: Set the Chainsaw to Open the “Choke”
  • Step 11: Move the Master Control to the Idle Setting
  • Step 12: Lift the Chainsaw Up
  • Step 13: Release the Chain Brake
  • Step 14: Check the Chain Lubrication
How to Start Your STIHL Chainsaw? 1

Now, knowing how to start a STIHL chainsaw is a bit easy as long as you learn the correct steps. If you’re new to operating a chainsaw by yourself, you may be a little anxious about starting your own STIHL chainsaw for the first time. However, there’s nothing to worry about, this article will provide a complete step by step guide on how you can start your STIHL chainsaw. So, if you are not sure about how to start your new Stihl chainsaw or you’re simply curious, you’re at the right place.

Things to Consider before Starting Your STIHL Chainsaw

Before you think of starting your Stihl chainsaw, there are some important details you should pay attention to, to avoid any problem.

  • Read the manual: Always read the user manual. This manual contains crucial safety information as well as operating instructions that you may not know about.
  • Never drop start: Never “drop” start your chainsaw. Throw-starting or drop-starting a chainsaw is a very dangerous position that makes it hard for you to control your tool.
  • Always wear protective clothing when using your chainsaw. Wearing safety goggles and gloves can be at a minimum, but hearing protection such as earmuffs, and a face mask is highly recommended.
  • Safety: Always consider your surroundings before you use your chainsaw. Ensure that there are no people or objects in your way. If anyone approaches you in the middle of running the chainsaw, you should engage the chain brake immediately.

How to Start Your STIHL Chainsaw

Stihl recommends starting a chainsaw from a sitting position, however, it is also possible to start it on uneven ground, if using a different technique. The right procedure for starting your Stihl chainsaw also depends on the type of tool you’re using: a gas-powered or electric tool. Don’t forget to read your chainsaw manual thoroughly to check for necessary information on how to operate the tool safely. Here is a step to step procedure on how to start your STIHL chainsaw:

● Step 1: Check the Fuel Cap

If you’re using a gas-powered chainsaw, you will need to fuel it up before using it. Also, you should make sure the fuel cap is tight and secured, and there shouldn’t be any drips of fuel on the outer parts of the chainsaw. If perhaps you see any fuel on the outside of the chainsaw, wipe it away carefully with a rag.

● Step 2: Activate the Chain Brake

The chain brake should first be activated by pushing it forward before you start the chainsaw.  For Stihl chainsaws, the chain brake is usually located just in front of the handlebar, and all you have to do is push it forward. Activating it will keep the chain locked as a form of safety while you are starting the chainsaw, and until you are ready to use the tool.

● Step 3: Remove the Bar Cover

Stihl chainsaws are often equipped with a cover that goes over the chain and bar. Remove this cover before starting your chainsaw. By doing this, you’ll make your tool ready to use once you start it.

● Step 4: Press the Decompression Valve

Only professional-grade Stihl chainsaws have a decompression valve, so unless you have one, you should skip this step. If you have a professional-grade saw, simply press the decompression valve down, often located on the top of the chainsaw, beside the starter rope.

● Step 5: Pump the Primer Valve

A lot of Stihl models come with a primer valve which is located on the side of the chainsaw, near the handlebar. If your chainsaw happens to have one, simply push it down about 4 times. At one side of the chainsaw, a small, translucent plastic bubble is usually present. This is the primer bulb, which is used to remove air from the fuel pipe, to allow it to flow freely to the carburetor. Pressing it a few times will allow the engine to start quicker.

● Step 6: Set the Master Control to the Cold Start Setting

There’s a throttle trigger lockout located on the side of the chainsaw, press and hold it with your thumb, and push the master control (located on the rear left of the chainsaw) down as far as it can go. You should always do this each time you want to use your chainsaw.

The work of the master control lever is that it sets the idling speed and choke. So you should set this lever to the choke or cold start position. To do this, hold the handle and press down on the throttle trigger lock, which is located on top of the handle, then use your thumb to depress it. Next, pull the throttle in with your forefinger and move the master control lever down to the choke position. If perhaps, you have used the chainsaw recently, then you should turn it off for some minutes before you use it again. You should also set the master control to the warm setting before you start.

● Step 7: Place the Chainsaw on Firm, Level Ground

Carefully place the chainsaw on a leveled surface, but ensure that the bar and chain don’t make contact with the surface. Stihl recommends starting the chainsaw from a sitting position. So place the saw on level ground, and make sure there is no object touching the bar and chain. As mentioned earlier, DO NOT “drop” start or “throw” start your chainsaw as these positions are dangerous and won’t allow you to control your tool well.

● Step 8: Hold the Chainsaw Down with Your Foot and Hand

Slip your right toe into the opening on the rear handle. At the same time, press down on the front handle with your left or less dominant hand, wrapping your fingers around it tightly and locking with your elbow. This position will secure your chainsaw as you start it.

● Step 9: Pull the Starter Rope

Hold the handle of the starter rope and slowly pull it vertically until you can feel some resistance. Next, pull the rope quickly several times until the chainsaw fires up briefly. Pull the rope upward, making sure it is in a vertical position, and without allowing the rope to chafe against the fan housing. Also make sure you only grab the starter rope handle (not the rope itself), and never wrap the rope around your hand.

● Step 10: Set the Chainsaw to Open the “Choke”

Your chainsaw may fire up but then die immediately. When this occurs, move the master control up to the half throttle (warm start) setting. For a chainsaw that was recently used, the master control should already be at the warm start setting. Next, pull the starter rope again to fire the chainsaw. Use the same technique as in step 9 above, and grab the starter rope handle again, pulling it vertically. The engine of your chainsaw should fire again.

● Step 11: Move the Master Control to the Idle Setting

Once your chainsaw is running, press the throttle trigger briefly with your forefinger. When you do this, the master control lever will move back to the normal idle setting. Remember that only a slight touch of your finger will get it done. This will keep your chainsaw running.

● Step 12: Lift the Chainsaw Up

Observe your surroundings one more time to be sure that there are no people or objects in your way. Stand up slowly and carefully, holding your chainsaw at the handlebar. Then carefully release the chain brake by pulling it back towards you. Once you have done this, your chainsaw should be ready for use.

● Step 13: Release the Chain Brake

You can release the chain brake by pulling the handle towards yourself with your left hand. Try to not lose hold of the handlebar as you do this. When you hear a click sound, it means the chain has been released and you can now turn on the bar. This will releases the chain brake and allow the chain to rotate on the sprocket.

● Step 14: Check the Chain Lubrication

As mentioned earlier, you should always check the chain lubrication before you start. Carry your saw and hold it up against a light-colored background, such as a piece of paper on the ground, then open the throttle fully. If some of the chain lubricants appear on the background, it means you can start work with your chainsaw. Don’t forget that your safety and that of others come first. Make sure you observe the necessary safety precautions before you do anything. Good luck!