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Chainsaw Won't Start

The chainsawsmall engine often has a separate model number. Use the small engine model number for a complete list of symptoms and parts. Watch our model # lookup video for help finding the model number.

The part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Chainsaw won't start are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.

Most Frequent Causes for Chainsaw won't start

For the most accurate results, enter your model number.


Cause 1Spark Plug

The spark plug might be defective. To determine if the spark plug is defective, remove the spark plug and inspect it. If the porcelain insulator is cracked, an electrode has been burned away or damaged, or there is heavy carbon buildup at the electrode, replace the spark plug. Alternatively, if the spark plug hasn’t been replaced in a few seasons, replace it.

Parts
Cause 2Carburetor

The carburetor might be clogged. A clogged carburetor is often caused by leaving fuel in the chainsaw for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel will evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and prevent the engine from starting. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor isn’t effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.

Parts
Cause 3Carburetor Repair Kit

The carburetor might be clogged. A clogged carburetor is often caused by leaving fuel in the chainsaw for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel will evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and prevent the engine from starting. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor isn’t effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.

Parts
Cause 4Ignition Coil

The ignition coil sends voltage to the spark plug while the engine is running. If the ignition coil is defective, the engine may not start. Before you replace the ignition coil, make sure that the spark plug is in working condition. If you have confirmed that the spark plug is not defective, test the ignition coil using an ignition coil tester. If the ignition coil is defective, replace it.

Parts
Cause 5Rewind Spring

When the starter rope is pulled and released, the rewind spring recoils the starter rope onto a pulley. If the rewind spring is broken, the rope won't be able to recoil onto the chainsaw pulley. As a result, the engine may be difficult or impossible to start. If the rewind spring is broken, replace it. Many rewind springs can be replaced individually, but it may be easier to replace the whole recoil starter assembly.

Parts
Cause 6Recoil Starter

The recoil starter assembly engages the crankshaft to turn over the engine. If the recoil starter assembly is defective, the engine won’t turn over and the chainsaw won't start. Remove the starter assembly and inspect it to see if it is functioning properly. When you pull the starter rope, tabs extending from the pulley and cam should grab the hub on the engine, causing the engine to turn. When you release the rope, the tabs should retract and the rope should rewind back on the pulley. If the recoil starter assembly is not functioning properly, replace it.

Parts
Cause 7Recoil Starter Pulley

The recoil starter pulley retracts the starter rope when the rope is not in use. If the recoil pulley is broken or stuck, it won’t retract the starter rope. As a result, the engine will not start. If the recoil starter pulley is broken, replace it.

Parts