My chainsaw stopped working and I've got a tree that fell and needs cut up. Does anybody have any idea what I can do to get my chainsaw started? I've done a bit of stuff on cars so I'm willing to try to take it all apart, though part of me is tempted to just drop $200 for a new one. Still, an afternoon tinkering isn't going to cost me much. Here is what I tried:

So Far:

  1. check gas in tank Add Star Tron or Stabil Fuel Additive
  2. check for spark with screwdriver.
  3. Check Air Filter / intake for clogs
  4. Check Fuel Filter / to cylinder.
  5. Check linkages for Start/Stop and choke levers are operating
  6. Clean Magneto of Rust, ensure it holds a screwdriver up.
  7. Clean carburetor and fuel lines, especially if it may contain old fuel.

It's a husqavarna about 5 years old. I ran it hard 3 years ago when I had another tree topple but it made it through, though I may have vapor locked it once. It's also not been running since I failed to start it last year and it's been sitting there. With the spring I need to get on it before the weeds come.

  • This question will likely solicit polling and extended debate, and is not likely to get a single "correct" answer.
    – Tester101
    Feb 26, 2013 at 18:34
  • I'm expecting a fairly long checklist true. But I think a troubleshooting list to check 9 things is useful. Typically in other situations I know what that list is so I had assumed someone who works on motors a lot might be able to rattle off 10 things.
    – RLZaleski
    Feb 26, 2013 at 22:26

5 Answers 5


Most two cycle engines are sensitive to the newer gasoline blends that can contain up to 10% ethanol. Get a small bottle of fuel additive for small engines and add a small amount of that into your gas tank. It should run a lot better after that. I had a similar problem with my leaf blower last year and this did the trick.

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Star Tron is a much better brand than Stabil by the way.

If you are still having trouble and you have already checked the spark plugs, sometimes the magneto can have a buildup of rust on the surface that prevents it from generating enough current to sustain repeated firing of the spark plug as the engine turns. Take apart the pull start mechanism on the chainsaw until the magneto is exposed, and take a fine grit sandpaper to it to rub off all the rust that has formed on it by sitting all these years. To clarify the magneto is the part that is magnetic, it should grab your screwdriver.

  • 2
    – Tester101
    Feb 26, 2013 at 19:07
  • Wait, sorry. Magneto, not Magneto.
    – Tester101
    Feb 26, 2013 at 19:09
  • 1
    Not only is ethanol bad, but stale fuel is also bad. Dump out the old fuel and clean the fuel passages and carburettor as well as you can with carb cleaner. Refuel with freshly mixed fuel, ethanol free if you can find it. Incidentally, after prolonged storage, my saw takes MANY pulls before it will start. It starts easily if used regularly. If your saw was running well before, don't give up. It will start.
    – bcworkz
    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:28

Are you choking it properly? I had a problem once where my chainsaw wouldn't start because the choke switch wouldn't stay in the choke position. I opened up the chainsaw and saw that a hook had fallen off so the switch wasn't actually engaging anything.

If you are looking over your chainsaw, you should look at the air filter and the fuel filter.


To me it sounds like your carburetor is clogged; you should try opening it and cleaning it out. Here are some YouTube videos on chainsaw maintenance:

  • This video had NOTHING about carburetor cleaning
    – HerrBag
    Feb 28, 2013 at 14:50
  • LMAO!!! sorry man wrong vid lol man sorry here are th right ones part 1 and 2
    – H.M murdok
    Feb 28, 2013 at 15:09
  • I'll bump up after the edit is approved
    – HerrBag
    Feb 28, 2013 at 16:14
  • I'll second cleaning the carby. Most mowers I've used are absolute bears to start if the carby hasn't been emptied at the end of the last run.
    – staticsan
    Mar 1, 2013 at 3:24

Well, you missed a step in your list of things to look at. Your muffler may be plugged up so your saw can't exhaust. Take it off and try starting it - it should start as you cut stuff up. In the future remember to clean your muffler out. You can soak it in gas, if that doesn't work you have to buy one.


did you check and clear carburetor? It may be a reason. Also make sure your the exhaust are fine and the engine can breathe properly.

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