How It Works: Chainsaw


Chainsaw won’t start, runs poorly or engine stops? This video provides information on how a chainsaw works and offers troubleshooting tips to assist you in diagnosing and repair.

Here is a list of the most commonly replaced parts associated with each chainsaw symptom:

Chainsaw won’t start: spark plug, carburetor, ignition coil, rewind spring, recoil starter
Chainsaw engine stops after a few seconds: spark arrestor, carburetor, fuel filter, air filter
Chainsaw runs poorly: carburetor, air filter, fuel filter, spark arrestor
Chainsaw chain does not turn: clutch, drum brake
Chainsaw chain won’t stop turning: clutch
Chainsaw does not cut properly: cutting chain, chain bar, clutch

All of the information provided in this chainsaw troubleshooting video is applicable to the following brands: Craftsman, Dolmar, Echo, Homelite, Husqvarna, Poulan, Poulan Pro, Ryobi, Stihl, Worx
1Maintenance tips for your chainsaw
Maintenance tips for your chainsaw
The chainsaw is a staple tool for professional landscapers. Increasingly, homeowners have also discovered how chainsaws can simplify landscape and yard maintenance. Chainsaws make it easier and faster to prune thick bushes and trees, clear brush that’s too thick for a string trimmer or pole pruner, cut up firewood and clean up storm damage including fallen and tangled branches and trees. Like other types of outdoor power equipment, proper care and maintenance of a chainsaw is important for safe operation, energy conservation and longevity.
2Inspect the chainsaw for loose bolts or screws, before and after each use.
Inspect the chainsaw for loose bolts or screws, before and after each use.
3Regularly check the air and fuel filters.
Regularly check the air and fuel filters.
The air filter has the important job of preventing dirt and debris from getting into the engine. If it’s exceptionally dirty or torn, replace it. Air filters should be replaced every 100 hours of use or every three months. If there are tears or clogs in the fuel filter screen, replace it. Enter your chainsaw’s model number to find the fuel filterfilters designed specifically for your model.
4Regularly check the chain.
Regularly check the chain.
Check the chain for dullness and damage such as bent chain links. If you find any damage, replace the chain before using it again. Chainsaws are designed to smoothly cut wood; if it requires some elbow grease from you to penetrate the wood, the chain needs to be sharpened. Chainsaws can be professionally sharpened or you can buy a kit to do it yourself, but it’s often less expensive and easier to simply replace the chain.
5Use the proper gasoline and oil mixture in two-cycle, gas-powered models.
Use the proper gasoline and oil mixture in two-cycle, gas-powered models.
Make sure that you always follow the owner’s manual’s instructions for proper gasoline and oil mixture. Failing to use the right mixture can result in serious problems. Insufficient lubrication may cause engine failure. Too much oil can clog the spark arrester inside of the muffler.
6Regularly use a degreaser.
Regularly use a degreaser.
Spray on the degreaser only when the engine is completely cool. Let the degreaser sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping away with a clean cloth. Then use a hose to rinse off the unit. Be sure to allow the chainsaw to dry completely before using it.
7Clean the air filter.
Clean the air filter.
Clean the chainsaw’s air filter every five hours of use and replace it every 100 hours or three months, whichever comes first. If there are any tears or holes, replace it before using the chainsaw again.
8Regularly lubricate the bar and chain.
Regularly lubricate the bar and chain.
Use bar-and-chain oil to lubricate the bar. Conventional motor oil does not work well for this purpose because it doesn’t have enough viscosity; the rotating chain will expel the oil too quickly.
9Replace the spark arrestor.
Replace the spark arrestor.
Every 25 hours of use or once a season, replace the spark arrestor located within the engine’s muffler. Since spark arrestors are made of fiberglass, they’re not designed to be cleaned and reused.
10Clean the battery terminals in battery-powered models.
Clean the battery terminals in battery-powered models.
If you have a battery-powered chainsaw, follow the owner’s manual for instructions on cleaning the battery terminals and regularly charge the battery.
11Prep it for off-season storage.
Prep it for off-season storage.
Before storing your chainsaw for the off season, thoroughly inspect it for damage and replace parts as needed. Use a fuel stabilizer with fresh fuel to prevent clogging the carburetor.
12Repair broken parts.
RepairClinic has chains, oil, air filters, spark arrestors, fuel filters, spark plugs and many other products for chainsaws. Enter your chainsaw’s model number to view the chainsaw parts for your chainsaw. Not sure what’s broken? Chainsaw won’t start? Chain not turning? Check out our free chainsaw Repair Help for troubleshooting and repair help information specifically for your model.

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