How to Start a Chainsaw

How to Start a Chainsaw – Step by Step Guide

You can’t start a chainsaw? Forget about the long procedures. Here are 8 simple steps to guide you on how to start a chainsaw. After reading this article, everything that you need to know will have been covered. What is more? You will again know some of the common problems that have been stopping you from starting your machine. Again, you will learn why your machine may start then turn off automatically.

Keep in mind that the procedure of starting a chainsaw may not be similar in all types of chainsaws. For example, some Echo chainsaws do not start in the same manner as the Stihl chainsaws. However, this article makes everything as friendly as you can ever imagine. Let’s dive in.


Best Ways to Start a Chainsaw

  • Step 1: Safety First 

A chainsaw is one of the most important tools you should never lack if you plan to cut wood. However, it can be one of the most lethal tools ever manufactured on this plant. This happens if you do not handle it with care. To start a chainsaw, ensure your safety is guaranteed. First, ensure you have all your protective gear on. These include the ear protection, eye goggles, chain chaps, chain gloves as well as protective wear.

Again, you should stabilize the chainsaw before starting it. Ways of making the chainsaw stable include:

  • Starting the chainsaw on level ground (not up in the air.)
  • Placing your right foot firmly inside the rear bundle then pressing it downwards — while your left hand is on the top handlebar.
  • Ensuring that nothing touches or nears the chain or the guide bar.

Nevertheless, the cutting edge should not touch the ground since this can make the cutting teeth blunt. In a situation where you lack a suitable place to place the chainsaw, you can hold the chain tightly between your legs. Using this option, place the rear handlebar between your legs. This should be just above your knees. Then, grip the chainsaw firmly with your legs. Next, position your left hand on the front handlebar.


  • Step 2: Engage the Chain Brake

After stabilizing the chainsaw, you should engage the chain brake. The chain brake is the system that controls the kickbacks that may result when starting the chainsaw. To engage the chain brake, place one of your hands on the handlebar. Leaning forward, push the chain brake forward until a click sound comes out. By so doing, you prevent the chain brake from spinning during the process.


  • Step 3: Press the Decompression Valve

Chainsaws with high-ends such as the Stihl type have a decompression valve. This helps by firing the engine as well as starting the chainsaw. After removing the bar cover of the chainsaw, you need to remove the decompression valve. You remove it by simply pushing it.


  •  Step 4: Pump the Primer

Many chainsaws have a primer that is used to expel air from the gas line. In case your chainsaw has a primer, push it in for 4 to 5 times or until the bulb becomes stiff. In this state, you can see some fuel in the bulb. This draws fuel into the carburetor from the tank. Again, it pumps some gas through to the carburetor.


  • Step 5: Activate the Choke

Whereby you are starting a chainsaw after the engine has cooled down completely, since you last used it, you need to activate the choke. In this case, the chainsaw is said to be cold. You need to keep in mind that not all chainsaws possess a choke; some lack whereas the ones that have one, it varies from one chainsaw to the other.

To cold-start, the chainsaw you should set the choke to start by ensuring it has been turned on to full value. In case your chainsaw lacks a choke, you will be forced to skip this step. Otherwise, it is recommended that you check your Owner’s Manual for specific guidelines regarding your chainsaw.


  • Step 6: Pull the Starter Cord

While holding the top handlebar with your left hand, grab the starter rope with your right hand. At the same time, the right handle should be in the rear handle and the chain brake should be engaged. Next, pull the starter rope slowly until you start feeling a resistant force against your pull. At this stage, give the starter cord a firm touch as well as a sharp pull.

Do this like 4 to 5 times as you guide the starter rope steadily back in. Failure to guide the starter rope back in would destroy the starting mechanism inside the chainsaw. The pull should be upwards as you maintain the starter cord as vertical as you can. After 4 to 5 pulls, the engine should fire briefly. The engine should start briefly then die again immediately.


  • Step 7: Close the Choke

Note that after the first pull, there will be a “pop” from the engine. Here, the engine turns over but does not quite start. If this occurs, move the Master Control lever up to the half-throttle position to open the choke. The choke should be at a half-choke position. Again, pull the starter cord. Here, the engine will start then idle. Allow the chainsaw to idle for about 30 seconds. This is to prevent the chainsaw from stalling out.

Once the engine has started and is running smoothly, using your index finger, briefly touch the trigger of the throttle. Here, the master control will return to its initial position (normal idle setting.) Thereafter, slowly raise the chainsaw without touching the trigger of the throttle.


  • Step 8: Detach the Chain Brake

Using your left hand, pull the chain brake towards your body. This disengages the chain brake, without which the chain will fail to spin after you have started the engine. Your left hand should continue holding the handlebar. A click sound notifies you that the chain has been released. Then, it can switch the bar on.

Before you get started, examine the lubrication of the chain. To do this, raise your chainsaw against a background that is slightly colored, for example against a piece of paper on a clear ground then fully open the throttle. In case some chain lubricant emerges in the background, then you can begin the work. Up to this point, your chainsaw should be set to start its cutting purposes.

What if…?

Here comes the catch. You strictly follow every step as described above. Unfortunately, your chainsaw fails to start! How will you react? It is simple. Seek professional support to troubleshoot your chainsaw, won’t you? Contrarily, you don’t have to. Just do the following before taking a step further:

Inspect the spark plugs

Check whether the plug can ignite a spark. If this does not happen, it may mean that the plug is worn out or corroded. Check its corrosion by removing the plug then checking if any sparks are produced. If corrosion is confirmed, clean the spark plugs using a steel brush or replace them.

Check Ignition Coil

A defective ignition coil will not allow the chainsaw to start. For this reason, it will not submit the voltage to the spark plug as the chainsaw starts to run. Test it using its tester. If you realize that it is not effective, replace it.

Check Fuel Tank

Your chainsaw will fail to start if the fuel tank is empty. Check the tank and make sure it has some fuel. In case the fuel has taken a long time without being used, you should consider draining the fuel. After this, refill the tank with fresh fuel. The fuel should be compatible with the engine of your chainsaw.

Test for Flooding of the Engine

On starting the engine, you come across the excessive smell of fuel. This is an indication that the engine of the chainsaw is flooded. To confirm this, check whether the plug contains some moisture. Drain the fuel and deactivate the choke to solve this issue.

Closely Examine the Carburetor

Usually, some components of gasoline escape from the fuel through evaporation. This happens once the fuel has overstayed in the engine. After evaporation, a thick remainder of the fuel leads to the clogging of the carburetor. To solve this, clean or replace the carburetor. Besides, you can thoroughly clean the air filters.

Bottom Line

That’s it! Just as you strictly follow strict rules to have an organized lifestyle, so does your chainsaw. Without ignoring any step, follow to the latter (unless your Owner’s Manual states otherwise) the above steps. Which is more? You will be in a position to comfortably start your chainsaw. In case your machine does not start after obeying the outlined order, try to look into the above-discussed remedies. Keep in mind that the failure of a chainsaw may result from countless engine issues; more than the ones discussed above. Meaning that if you still cannot find a solution, you should consider seeking professional support.

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