It doesn’t matter if you are a professional or amateur chainsaw user, at some point during your chainsaw-wielding experience the tool may refuse to start. There are many reasons why this can happen, but it is important to know how to fix it when you need that power tool again.

Here are 11 simple tips on what could be wrong with your chainsaw and how to fix it.

Tip 1: Check the Oil

There are many reasons why your chainsaw won’t start. First, check that there is enough oil in your tool. If it’s dry then you will need to add more before you can turn on the saw.

If you have not used your chainsaw for a long time and the oil level is low, this could cause trouble starting. Check to see if there are no leaks at all in the equipment – usually around the seals of where parts meet together.

If so, then replace or fix these areas with gasket material or another sealant. Also, if you have used your chainsaw for a while without adding oil, the saw could be dry which will prevent it from starting.

Be sure to add enough oil before attempting to start again.

Tip 2: Stale Gasoline

If you have stored your chainsaw for some time, the gasoline may go stale. When this happens, it can cause issues with starting or lead to engine failure. To avoid these problems make sure you use fresh gas every season and if possible run through a full tank before storage.

If there is no sign of life after trying the following steps, always check to see if the gas is stale before doing anything else.

Tip 3: Carburetor Needs Cleaning

If you are having difficulties starting your chainsaw, it could be due to a dirty carburetor. If this is clogged up with gunk and debris then air can’t flow through properly meaning the engine can’t run.

If there’s a buildup of dirt, trash, or gunk on the surface of the carburetor, use a cleaner to clean up the mess. Make sure you shut off and unplug the tool before cleaning.

Clean the carburetor according to your chainsaw’s manual instructions and if possible replace any parts which may be damaged or worn out.

Tip 4: Spark Plug Needs Replacing

If your spark plug is broken then the engine won’t start as it needs a good connection to the spark plug to fire up. You can test this by removing your spark plug cap and connecting a wire directly to the end of the spark plug.

The spark plug in the chainsaw is responsible for transmitting electric energy to the combustion chamber. Without it, the chainsaw cannot start. A defective spark plug can be due to various reasons.

Check for anything around the spark plug, like water or dirt, which can cause it to malfunction. If there is anything, clean off the spark plug carefully with a rag or a brush. You can also try spraying compressed air onto it. Either way, make sure you do this before you try to start it back up.

If there is nothing around the spark plug and it still won’t work, the problem might be with a bad spark plug. Replacing your old one can fix this issue. It’s important to make sure you get the correct type of spark plug for your chainsaw model, otherwise, it will not fit or work properly.

Tip 5: Air Filter Needs Cleaning

If your air filter is dirty then it restricts the flow of gas and can cause very similar issues to stale gasoline. To resolve this issue, clean out the filter well according to your chainsaw’s manual instructions and replace it if needed.

Tip 6: The Ignition Coil Needs Replacing

The ignition coil on a chainsaw is responsible for providing the spark that lights the fuel in order to start your chainsaw. If your chainsaw keeps refusing to start after trying the tips above, then you may need a new ignition coil.

To replace an ignition coil on a chainsaw, you will need to remove the cover of your engine. For more detailed instructions on how to do this refer to your owner’s manual. After you have access to the top half of your engine simply unplug and unscrew the old ignition coil and screw in a new one. You are now ready to go back to using your chainsaw.

Tip 7: Rewind Spring May Be Broken

After each time you pull on the cord to start your chain saw, a spring inside rewinds and unwinds it. The rewind spring winds the cord after each pull. If you cannot wind it back up, then the problem is likely a broken rewind spring.

In some models of chainsaws, you can replace this part by itself. In other models, you may need to replace the recoil starter as a whole.

Tip 8: Engine is Flooded With Fuel

Chainsaws are amazing tools, but they can be tricky to start sometimes. It is not uncommon for the operator to attempt starting their chainsaw through its recoil starter system without first shutting off and then removing any residual fuel from inside of it as this could cause an engine flood or other similar problems with your machine.

If you notice gasoline fumes coming out around where there should only be air smells like flooding has occurred – don’t panic! Just pull on both sides (or front/back) while holding down hard enough so that does make contact).

Continue doing this until all signs disappear. Reinstall spark plugs one at a time making sure each goes into place smoothly and securely before moving on to the next.

Tip 9: Temperature is Too Low

The first thing you should check is the temperature of your chainsaw. If your chainsaw was exposed to temperatures below freezing, it’s possible that the engine is no longer able to turn over.

Be sure to let your chainsaw run for at least 30 minutes on its side or on a surface that will allow it to heat up if the engine refuses to start after warming up.

Tip 10: Check the Recoil Starter Assembly

This is the most common cause of a chainsaw not starting. The recoil starter assembly has to be moving in order for your chainsaw to start up, so it’s important that this piece isn’t jammed or broken.

If you are having problems with your recoil starter assembly then take apart the housing and make sure that the spring is intact.

Tip 11: Blocked Or Clogged Spark Arrestor

Clogging the spark arrestor on a chainsaw is an easy mistake to make. When you are cutting wood, it doesn’t stay in one place for long. The protective cover that surrounds the chain may get coated with debris from the wood which can stop airflow.

This will prevent the fuel from getting to the engine resulting in a dead chainsaw. If this happens, take your blade off and remove any debris that has collected in the spark arrestor before it gets worse.


Chainsaws are one of the most useful tools in a professional or amateur woodworker’s arsenal. They can be used to cut down trees, clear brush, and much more. However, sometimes even the best power tool will refuse to start up when you need it most.

This is because there are many reasons why your chainsaw might not work at any given time, but as seen above we’ve compiled 11 simple tips on what could be wrong with your chainsaw and how to fix it.