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My chainsaw Won’t Start: How to Fix This. With Helpful Tips

A chainsaw is a useful tool for homeowners until it stops functioning properly. When the chainsaw doesn’t start, it can cause an immense delay on a particular project. It could also set you back financially for repairs. That is why, in this guide, you will learn common issues that can arise with chainsaws and their possible solutions.

My chainsaw Won’t Start: How to Fix This:

  • Check the spark plugs.
  • Does the gas tank if it contains enough gas?
  • Check the ignition coil
  • Does the coil starter works ok?
  • Make sure air filters are not dirty
  • Check the clutch pads.

For many chainsaw users, once it stops working, it is an indication that it should be tossed and a new one bought. The device may be past its warranty, and therefore some owners can feel like it is better purchasing a new one instead of paying for the repairs.

Nevertheless, there are simple solutions you can invest in that can get your chainsaw running at little or no expense while giving you more years of use. Thus, to understand what may be causing problems when your chainsaw doesn’t start, it is crucial to understand the internal mechanisms of the device.

Underlying Mechanisms of a Chainsaw

There are different chainsaw models on the market. They come in unique features and types, including gas and electric chainsaws. But they all operate on one concept. Regardless of the nature of chainsaw you have, one element is common in them all- they are operated using an engine. The machines also have a blade made of sharpened steel and alloy built in the chain. Inside the motor, you will find gear wheels that turn the chain, thereby allowing it to run along that guide bar as you drive into the tree limbs as well as the lumber. Then there is the piston in the engine. This feature moves in and out of the machine’s cylinder while pushing through a connecting rod resulting in a crankshaft turning gears connected, causing the device’s chain to spin on the guide bar. Understanding how your chainsaw works can help you with clues as to what the impending issues can be when it stops working. Several things can go wrong, even in some of the highest quality models. Knowing exactly what to look for should give you a rough idea of how to fix the machine yourself, or if you will need to hire a professional.

Troubleshooting the Chainsaw

If you have done everything right but your chainsaw will not just start regardless of the number of times you have pulled the starter. There are possible causes that you may check to be able to resolve the problem on your own.

There are times when all you need to do is replace a few broken parts that are not functioning properly. These can be purchased online or from hardware stores roughly at a fraction of the amount it would cost you from a mechanic.

Here are common areas to check that can cause the chainsaw not to start and their possible solutions:

● Check the spark plugs.

The first thing you need to check is whether or not the plug ignites a spark. The spark’s responsibility is initiating combustion in the cylinder. It is common for spark plugs to corrode with time. To check if it gives off a spark, you should first remove it and use a plug wire to make contact with the engine of the machine. Observe the electrodes. If it does not give off a spark, you can use a steel brush to remove the corrosion. If it still does not ignite after cleaning; then it is time to replace it with another spark plug.

● Check the tank for fuel supply.

Every chainsaw has a fuel tank that needs to be topped with fuel now and again. There are three primary fuel-related checks to make. They include checking the fuel mix, blockages, and cracked lines. Start by emptying the tank then replace it with excellent quality fuel mix because if the chainsaw has been in storage for an extended period with fuel in the tank, then the fuel is probably contaminated—research on how you can mix two types of fuel.

You may discover that the fuel filter is blocked. If this is the case, a fuel cleaner can help. Invest in a fuel system cleaner and add it to the fuel tank. Allow it to sit for five hours. You should then begin to add more fuel to the tank and give it time to redistribute into the cleaner and throughout the engine. In case there are serious blockages, this should help in removing them.

Note- checking the tank is recommended, especially if the fuel has been in there for quite some time. You need to replace such fuel with fresh fuel. If your engine uses a mixture of fuels, consider getting such. Do not use boat oil or gas mixed with ethanol since it can damage your chainsaw’s engine. There is no generic ratio for chainsaws. Therefore, rest assured to refer to the manual on the gas ratio specifications for your model.

● Check the ignition coil.

Chainsaws and other small two-cycle engines that operate using recoil starters use ignition coils because these instruments are essential in the device’s starting process. A defective ignition coil can easily be a culprit when the engine fails to start. This can send the voltage to that spark plug when the chainsaw is running. If you have assessed the plugs and cleaned them or replaced them with a new one but you’re still experiencing starting challenges, then the ignition coil could be the issue. Use a tester to determine this. Is it defective or not? If it happens to be, then you will have to replace it.

● It could be the coil starter.

The recoil starter comprises several different elements that help initiate the engine, particularly when starting the machine. Various issues may arise with these elements and can prevent your chainsaw from starting. For instance, it could be the rewind spring that reels in the rope of the starter once it has been pulled and then released onto the pulley of the recoil starter. On that note, if the rewind spring is not fully functioning correctly, then the starter rope may not be in a position to recoil onto the pulley. This will make the starting of the chainsaw difficult. It may be impossible all the same. You should consider purchasing a new coil starter by replacing the rewind springs of the chainsaw. 

● Watch out for the dirty air filters.

A chainsaw has an air filter. This component supports the proper functioning of the machine. When the filter is clogged, it may interfere with the starting of the chainsaw.  Such filters are known to draw more gas and not air. Running a chainsaw with clogged filters can increase carbon deposits since the engine is known for producing unburned fuel. Another causative agent for carbon build-up could be an idling engine. 

It is highly recommended that you give the machine a regular hard run to facilitate its operation. This is especially true if you have a smaller model. If you have used the chainsaw for more than 6 hours, then you need to remove the air filter and then use soap and water to clean it. Your chainsaw should start.

● It could be the clutch pads.

Inspect the machine’s clutch pads for wear.

If the engine of your chainsaw is not running, then it may be as a result of overused, worn-out clutch pads. If they are worn out from continuous usage, they will not engage the clutch drum, which is an essential feature of the device that spearheads the turning of the chain. An additional possible cause for your chainsaw not to turn is if the level has not been activated. Disintegrate to make sure that this is not the actual cause. If the clutch pads are not in excellent operating condition, then the clutch assembly should be replaced.

Chainsaw maintenance

As with any power tool, your chainsaw has several moving parts in the motor. People often tend to ignore the need to maintain this machine and care for it. They believe that excellent working machines are naturally built to work well. With time, the use of your chainsaw should wear out the parts. That is why there is a need to check the parts regularly. To accomplish this, you need to clean and maintain the necessary components as this can be effective in preventing common future problems, including the starting of your chainsaw. You also need to recognize the fact that you will enjoy more extended usage out of the tool if you take care of it.

How should I maintain my chainsaw:

  • Ensure that you make the necessary adjustments to it to tighten the nuts as well as tension on your chain
  • Cleanliness is an essential routine to maintain the proper functioning of your chainsaw. Clean off, remove dirt, debris, and sawdust
  • Inspect the blade’s sharpness.
  • Make sure that all the moving parts of the machine including gears are adequately lubricated
  1. Arthur Williams says:

    How often should I be replacing the spark plugs on my chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Consider replacing spark plugs annually for optimal performance. Make sure to check the other areas mentioned in the post for troubleshooting common issues as well.

  2. Stacy Simmons says:

    I always run my chainsaw for hours on end without cleaning the air filter, I’ll be sure to do that next time.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Make sure to clean your air filter regularly to keep your chainsaw running smoothly. It’s a simple maintenance step that can save you from costly repairs in the future.

  3. Danny Moore says:

    This article is very informative, I feel more confident in diagnosing issues with my chainsaw now.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Danny! I’m glad you found the article helpful in diagnosing your chainsaw issues. Keep up the good work!

  4. Colleen Montgomery says:

    What are some signs that the clutch pads are worn out and need to be replaced?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Inspect your clutch pads for wear. Worn-out pads can prevent proper engagement, causing your chainsaw not to start. If they are damaged, consider replacing the clutch assembly.

  5. Jamie Obrien says:

    Thank you for the tips on maintaining my chainsaw, I will be sure to take better care of it from now on.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Jamie! I’m glad the tips were helpful. Keeping up with maintenance will definitely extend the life of your chainsaw. Happy sawing!

  6. Violet Carpenter says:

    Are there any special tools needed to replace the ignition coil if it’s defective?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, a few special tools may be needed to replace a defective ignition coil on a chainsaw. It’s best to have a chainsaw wrench, socket set, and a multimeter on hand for this kind of repair.

  7. Jamie Cole says:

    I never thought to check the fuel tank for blockages, I’ll have to remember that next time I have trouble starting my chainsaw.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad you found the tip helpful, Jamie! Checking the fuel tank for blockages can make a big difference in getting your chainsaw started. Best of luck with your next project!

  8. Taylor Frazier says:

    I never knew about the ignition coil, I’ll have to check that next time my chainsaw won’t start.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad you found the information helpful, Taylor! Checking the ignition coil is a good next step. Good luck getting your chainsaw up and running again!

  9. Bill Chapman says:

    Is it better to buy a new chainsaw or repair an old one that won’t start?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Bill, I recommend checking the spark plugs, fuel tank, ignition coil, air filters, and clutch pads before deciding to buy new. Simple repairs might get your old chainsaw working again.

  10. Michele Howard says:

    How often should I be cleaning my chainsaw’s air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Michele! It is recommended to clean your chainsaw’s air filter every 3-5 hours of use, or more frequently if operating in dusty conditions. This will help maintain optimal performance.

  11. Maureen Nelson says:

    I had no idea that the clutch pads could be a reason for my chainsaw not starting, thank you for the information.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your comment, Maureen! I’m glad the information about the clutch pads was helpful for you. Good luck with getting your chainsaw started!

  12. Colleen Rivera says:

    My chainsaw is always giving me trouble when I try to start it, so this article is very helpful.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Colleen! I’m glad you found the article helpful in troubleshooting your chainsaw. Remember to check the spark plugs and fuel supply, as these are common issues. Happy sawing!

  13. Rosemary Richards says:

    I appreciate the step-by-step troubleshooting advice in this article, very clear and helpful.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Rosemary! I’m glad you found the troubleshooting advice helpful. Happy to assist with any other chainsaw related issues you may have.

  14. Gina Rice says:

    Can using a chainsaw with clogged air filters cause long-term damage to the engine?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, using a chainsaw with clogged air filters can cause long-term damage to the engine. Make sure to regularly clean and replace the filters to prevent any issues.

  15. Tony Andrews says:

    The video tutorials linked in the article were very helpful, I learn better from visual demonstrations.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Tony! I’m glad you found the video tutorials helpful in learning how to fix chainsaw starting issues. Happy sawing!

  16. Aaron Ward says:

    I feel more empowered to handle chainsaw maintenance after reading this article, thank you for the guidance.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Aaron! I’m so glad to hear that the article empowered you to handle chainsaw maintenance. Keep up the good work!

  17. Charlotte Newman says:

    This article saved me from spending money on a new chainsaw, I’m going to try fixing mine first.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Charlotte. I’m glad the article was helpful to you in saving money on a new chainsaw. Good luck fixing your current one!

  18. Mason Richardson says:

    I never knew chainsaws were so complex, but this article broke down the internal mechanisms very well.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Mason! I’m glad you found the breakdown helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions about chainsaw maintenance. Happy sawing!

  19. Lori Shelton says:

    Do you have any tips for preventing future issues with my chainsaw once I get it started again?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Make sure to clean the air filters regularly and inspect the clutch pads for wear. These simple maintenance tasks can help prevent future issues with your chainsaw.

  20. Evan Morales says:

    I’m glad I read this article before giving up on my chainsaw, I think I can fix it now.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      I’m glad you found the article helpful! Best of luck fixing your chainsaw, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need further assistance.

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