Chainsaw Won’t Start? Troubleshooting Tips

James Lawson
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Are you having trouble getting your chainsaw to start? Don’t worry, it’s a common problem.

With a few simple troubleshooting steps, you can get your chainsaw running again in no time.

In this article, we’ll go over some tips to help you diagnose and fix the problem, so you can get back to work.

We’ll start by discussing the ignition system, then move on to cleaning the carburetor, checking the fuel system, replacing the spark plug, and testing the compression system.

By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to tackle any chainsaw starting issue.

Let’s get started!

Checking the Ignition System

Alright, let’s take a look at the ignition system and see if that’s why your saw won’t fire up.

A chainsaw’s ignition system consists of a spark plug, a starter cord, a spark arrestor, and a flywheel.

You’ll want to check the spark plug and make sure it’s connected securely and that there’s no corrosion on the contacts.

If you have a voltmeter, you can test the voltage at the spark plug and the flywheel, and make sure that the voltage is correct and that the connections are secure.

If the spark plug appears to be in good condition, you’ll want to also check the spark arrestor and the starter cord for any signs of damage.

Once you’ve checked the ignition system, it’s time to move on to cleaning the carburetor.

Cleaning the Carburetor

Let’s get to work and give that carburetor a spark of life – figuratively speaking, of course! To troubleshoot your carburetor, you’ll need to take the time to clean it out and make sure the fuel lines and filters are free of clogs. Here are a few tips:

  • Remove the carburetor from the chainsaw and inspect for damage.
  • Take out the bowl, jets, and other components and clean them using a spray carburetor cleaner.
  • Replace any worn or damaged parts.

Reassemble the carburetor and use a small brush to clean the jets and other crevices.

Put the carburetor back onto the chainsaw and test it out to make sure it is running properly.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to give your carburetor the necessary cleaning it needs to get back up and running. Now that the carburetor is clean and running smoothly, it’s time to check the fuel system to make sure everything is working as it should.

Checking the Fuel System

Now that the carburetor’s running smoothly, it’s time to take a closer look at the fuel system and make sure everything’s running optimally. Checking the fuel filters is an important part of this process. If the fuel filters are clogged, it can prevent fuel from reaching the engine and cause the chainsaw to not start.

To check the fuel filters, remove them from the fuel line and inspect them for dirt or debris. If they’re clogged, then they should be replaced.

You should also test the fuel to make sure it’s not old or contaminated. Start by checking the fuel tank for any visible signs of contamination like rust or dirt. If the fuel appears clean, then you can test it by adding a small amount to a container and examining the color. If the fuel is dark or has a foul odor, then it should be replaced.

Once you’ve checked the filters and tested the fuel, you can move on to replacing the spark plug.

Replacing the Spark Plug

Changing the spark plug is the next step in ensuring your chainsaw runs efficiently. If the spark plug is old or damaged, it won’t be able to provide the spark needed to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber. You’ll want to replace the spark plug to make sure it’s still firing correctly.

It’s important to set the gap between the electrodes of the spark plug correctly, as well as make sure that the ignition timing is accurate. To do this, you’ll need to use a feeler gauge. The gap should be set to the manufacturer’s specifications before replacing the spark plug. Once you have the gap set, you can reinstall the spark plug and attach the spark plug wire.

Testing the compression system is the next step in troubleshooting your chainsaw. Compression is the air pressure created in the combustion chamber when the piston is at the top of its stroke. It’s very important for the chainsaw to have proper compression for it to start. If the compression is too low, it may not have enough power to start the engine.

Testing the Compression System

Testing your chainsaw’s compression system is the next step in making sure it runs smoothly – so let’s get to it!

First, you’ll need to check the recoil starter on your chainsaw. This will require you to remove the cover and inspect the recoil starter to make sure it’s in good working order. If the starter is damaged or worn, it may need to be replaced.

After the recoil starter is checked, you’ll need to inspect the flywheel and recoil spring. If either of these components are damaged, they may need to be replaced. You’ll also need to make sure the flywheel spins freely, as an obstruction can prevent the engine from starting.

Finally, you’ll need to test the compression of the engine. To do this, you’ll need to remove the spark plug, insert a compression gauge, and pull the starter cord. If the compression reading is within the manufacturer’s recommended range, then your chainsaw is in good shape. If the reading is too low, then the engine may need to be serviced or replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I replace the spark plug?

You’re probably feeling like your chainsaw is taking you for a ride when it won’t start – but don’t worry, replacing the spark plug is a simple solution!

You should check the gap and clean the spark plug about every 100 hours of use, or more often if you’re using your chainsaw in dusty or wet conditions.

Replacing the spark plug is a simple but important step in keeping your chainsaw running smoothly. So don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – you’ll be starting up your chainsaw in no time!

What type of oil should I use in the chainsaw?

When it comes to the type of oil you should use in your chainsaw, you must take a few factors into consideration. You need to understand the oil mixing ratio and the oil capacity of your chainsaw, as well as the various grades of oil available.

Different chainsaws may require different types of oil, so make sure to check your manual for the correct type. Most two-stroke engines require a high-grade oil such as SAE 30, 40, or 50. Additionally, you may want to consider using synthetic oil for better engine protection, although this can be more expensive.

When it comes to brands, there are plenty to choose from, but be sure to choose one that is recommended by your manufacturer.

Is it normal for the chainsaw to smoke when starting?

You’ve just taken out your chainsaw and you’re about to start it up, but it begins to smoke. It can be alarming, but it’s usually normal.

The smoke is usually caused by an incorrect fuel mixture or a clogged air filter, both of which are easily fixed. To ensure the correct fuel mixture, check that your fuel is a 50/50 mix of unleaded gasoline and two-stroke oil.

If this is correct, then you should check the air filter. If it’s clogged, it won’t allow the right amount of air in and will cause the chainsaw to smoke. Clean it with a dry cloth or replace it if you can’t remove the blockage.

With these simple steps, you’ll be back to cutting in no time.

Can I adjust the carburetor myself?

Adjusting your chainsaw’s carburetor can be a tricky process, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the internal workings of the saw. To get the optimal fuel mixture, you’ll need to adjust the carburetor.

This process involves fine-tuning the carburetor to get the correct fuel/air mixture for the engine. You’ll want to start by adjusting the low speed and high-speed screws, which control the fuel flow at different RPMs. Then, you may need to adjust the idle speed, which determines how much fuel is used when the saw is idling.

Finally, you’ll need to adjust the idle mixture to ensure the proper fuel/air ratio. If done incorrectly, it can cause your saw to run poorly or not start at all.

If you’re unsure of the process, it’s best to consult a professional to help you make the necessary adjustments.

Is there an easy way to tell if the compression system is working correctly?

You may be wondering if there’s an easy way to tell if the compression system is working correctly.

One of the most important things to check is the air filter. Over time, the air filter can become clogged, leading to a decrease in the amount of air available for the engine to combust.

Replacing the air filter is generally an easy fix, so if you suspect that the air filter may be the culprit of your engine’s lack of compression, make sure to check it. Checking the air filter is a great way to tell if the compression system is working correctly, as it can help identify any issues with the air supply.


Troubleshooting your chainsaw can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, you can have your chainsaw up and running in no time.

Take the time to:

  • Inspect the ignition system
  • Clean the carburetor
  • Check the fuel system
  • Replace the spark plug
  • Test the compression system

For example, a recent case study showed a chainsaw that wouldn’t start. After inspecting the ignition system, cleaning the carburetor, checking the fuel system, replacing the spark plug, and testing the compression system, the chainsaw started right up and was ready for use.

Taking the time to troubleshoot your chainsaw can save you time and money in the long run.

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