8 Methods To Solve Stihl Chainsaw Won’t Start Problem

stihl chainsaw won't start
stihl chainsaw won’t start

A chainsaw is a great tool to clean your trees and cut wood in winter to light up the fire. It can be used for multiple purposes. Stihl chainsaw is considered to be one of the best chainsaws worldwide.

They are known for their amazing quality and warranty. However, they can be a bit problematic sometimes.

The issues with this chainsaw can almost always be linked to the ignored maintenance of the system. It can be pretty difficult for first-time owners to keep up with the maintenance of the unit, and you will struggle with similar issues in the long run.

These issues can be hard to manage at times, and seeking help from an expert will help you get through the issue pretty quickly.

It all comes down to how you’re planning on addressing the situation. So, be sure to seek help from a local expert or a dealer from the official support team.

How to Fix Stihl Chainsaw Won’t Start?

The most common problem people often face is that the “Stihl chainsaw won’t start.” Therefore, we will provide you with some solutions to such problems to help you get rid of them.

  1. Defective Spark Plug

A defective spark can be the culprit of such a problem. If the spark plug is defective, it cannot create an electric current that will help start the system. Check if the spark plug is defective or not, remove the spark plug and inspect it.

If the electrode has been burned, the porcelain is cracked, or heavy carbon has built up at the electrode, then you might need to replace the spark plug with a new one. In the future, make sure to replace the spark plug after a few months.

spark plug

This situation is not that serious, and you can get through the replacement even if you have basic knowledge of the system.

It all comes down to how you’re planning on addressing the situation. You can’t really clean up the plug or remove the gunk to get everything in order. 

Otherwise, you will be running into the same issue within a few weeks. So, be sure to get a new spark plug, and that will help you get a consistent response from the unit for months.

The upside here is that the spark plug replacement is pretty cheap, and you can get one from your local hardware store.

  1. Clogged Carburetor

The main function of a carburetor is to mix air and fuel that helps start the internal combustion engine.

If the chainsaw has not been used for a long time or if the fuel has been left inside the tool for a long time, it becomes sticky. This may cause the carburetor to block.


A clogged carburetor prevents the chainsaw from starting. Check the condition of the clog. If there is little clogging, simply clean the carburetor. This will solve your problem.

In order to clean the carburetor of your Stihl chainsaw, drain the fuel, and spray the carburetor with a specialized cleaning solution that will help release the clogging. Lastly, wipe the carburetor with the help of a cloth.

In case the carburetor is too clogged up that it cannot be cleaned out by the process discussed above, then it may need to be replaced with a new carburetor. Remove the filter, pour some fuel into it, and pull the starter rope. 

If the chainsaw starts up and then dies again, then the carburetor is surely the culprit of the problem. Therefore, replace the carburetor with a new one that is compatible with your device.

  1. Faulty Ignition Coil

The ignition coil helps send voltage to the spark plug when the engine is running. If the engine coil is defective, the engine may not start.

ignition coil

Check the condition of the spark plug. If the spark plug is working fine, then the ignition coil may have become defective. The damage may be caused by excessive wear and tear due to repeated use.

Check the ignition coil. If the coil is defective, simply replace it with a new one that is compatible with your device. For compatibility, check the device’s manual.

  1. Damaged Recoil Starter

Another reason why your Stihl chainsaw won’t start can be due to a damaged recoil starter. The pulling up of the starter and engagement of the internal starting mechanism to turn on the engine is mainly controlled by the recoil starter.

recoil starter

If the recoil starter is defective or not installed properly, then the engine will not start.

To check the continuity of the recoil starter, remove the starter from the chainsaw to find out what is happening.

It is possible that the pulley system is stuck and needs to be replaced back into its main position. If doing so does not help, then the replacement of the recoil starter is required.

  1. Broken Rewind Spill

As the name suggests, the rewind spill rewinds the starter cord after each pull. If the cord does not rewind after the initial pull, then the starter won’t start.

In such cases, a broken or damaged rewind spill is the main cause of the problem. Therefore, it needs to be replaced with a new one.

  1. Fuel Problems

Another cause can be your chainsaw’s fuel being flooded with fuel. This often happens if you are continuously trying to start the chainsaw through the recoil starter system, then you may have accidentally flooded the engine with fuel.


The most common symptom of such a situation is the smell of gasoline in the air.

If the engine has been flooded with fuel, then pull the starter cord several times while holding the throttle, dry the spark plug and replace it. After replacement, try starting the chainsaw again.

In other cases, check the fuel quantity. If there is not sufficient fuel in the chainsaw, then it won’t start. In such a case, simply refill the fuel, as this will solve your problem.

Also, the quality of fuel matters a lot in a chainsaw’s operation and function. Therefore, make sure to use good-quality fuel for your chainsaw.

  1. Air Filter

If the air filter is clogged, damaged, or dirty, it will affect the air-to-gas ratio. This will prevent the engine from starting.

Clean the air filter and try restarting the chainsaw. This will solve the problem for you. You can further check the compartment for more errors.

air filter

There might be issues with the gunk stuck behind the filters, and you will have to do a thorough cleanup here. There are no other methods, and you can’t expect the unit to start when there is no air going in for combustion.

If you have not cleaned the filters in a while, then you might be in the same situation. However, if you have been doing a good job managing the components of the chainsaw, it might be time to get a new filter.

You can’t expect one filter to last you for years, and getting a new one will make your life easier. 

Hopefully, that will be it as you’re trying to get the chainsaw to start, and you will not have to bother about more errors down the road. Just make sure that there are no errors with the fuel supply, and that will be it.

  1. Temperature Problems

temperature check

The temperature matters a lot when it comes to chainsaw operations. If the temperature is too low, it will make it difficult for you to start the chainsaw. This is because the fuel may freeze, or the starter mechanism may become hard.

In such a case, try giving the chainsaw a little more choke. This should help in starting the chainsaw. The choke positioning helps increase the air and fuel mixture in the carburetor to improve the fuel flow.

In the opposite case, if the temperature is too warm or high, it can quickly flood the engine with fuel.

This is because it does not need a lot of heat to start up due to the warm weather. Make sure that the choke has not been activated in warm weather to prevent such situations.

The Bottom Line

To conclude, the Stihl chainsaw is an amazing tool that can be used for various purposes. But it can be quite irritating when your Stihl chainsaw won’t start.

However, there are some solutions listed above that you can try to get rid of the problem.

If you’re lucky, the fix will be fairly simple, and you will have to check the power connections.

However, the situation can become a bit complicated when you’re not too sure about the hardware status. There are a lot of factors that can play into this situation.

So, be sure to keep that in mind when you can’t seem to get any performance out of the system. It all comes down to how you’re planning on addressing the situation, and reaching out to the dealer is the only option in case of hardware issues. 

You will not be able to rely on any quick fixes. So, be sure to ask an expert to help you install the replacement components regarding the Stihl chainsaw not working.

Hopefully, that will be it, and you can also engage the dealer to inquire about the warranty and secure a replacement from these experts.

1 thought on “8 Methods To Solve Stihl Chainsaw Won’t Start Problem”

  1. I just bought my new MS251C-EB. Took it home, filled it with Stihl MotoMix, and also filled the oil reservoir with bar/chain oil. It will not start. I have owned a 251C for years and know how to start these wonderful machines. The brand new, out of the box saw will not even cough.

    What could be the problem?


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