How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw – Start Your Stihl Chainsaw for the First Time With Easy Step by Step Guide

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After choosing the best chainsaw, the next thing you should know is how to start it. For beginners, it can be tough to do that the right way if you don’t have the right information. To make your work easier, I have given you a comprehensive guide on how to start a Stihl Chainsaw.

Starting the Stihl chainsaw is fairly easy provided that you follow the right steps, and the manual included when purchasing this chainsaw. Just like other brands of chainsaws, The Stihl starting process is similar, with only a few differences.

Being the first time, many people are skeptical and a little apprehensive when it comes to starting a chainsaw. Read on to find the right procedure on how to start a chainsaw Stihl.

How to Start Stihl Chainsaw

Before Starting Your Stihl Chainsaw

With every procedure, you need to ensure that you have the right tools, and the item has all the parts intact. It is just like flying the pilots need a checklist to ensure everything is in place before taking off.

These are some of the things you need to check out before you start how to start a Stihl chainsaw.

  • Ensure Stihl chainsaw parts are intact with no loose bolts and tension is set correctly.
  • Look at the condition of the cutting teeth.
  • Ensure the chain brake can easily engage and move freely.
  • Check the chain lubrication. Stihl chainsaws have automatic lubrication and oil reservoirs.
  • Look at the spark plug, and the boot should seat firmly on the spark plug.
  • Fill the chain saw with the correct mixture of fuel and oil.
  • Wear protection glove, head, and hearing gear. You can also have adjustable face guards and chainsaw chaps.
  • Make sure you have a clear area to work on. Children, pets and other people should not near the working area.

Once the checks are complete, and everything has been verified. It is now time to start the Stihl chainsaw using the following procedure.

Step 1: Take Out the Bar Cover

Before engaging in anything else. You need to take out the bar cover to undertake the above checklist.

Step 2: Activate Chain Brake

Activate the chain brake by pushing it forward. If the chain brake is not activated in the right position, the chain will rotate when the recoil starter is pulled.

Step 3: Decompression Valve

If the Stihl chainsaw you own has a decompression valve. You need to push this valve so that it becomes easier to pull the recoil starter by relieving engine compression. It is located at the engine top cover behind the front handle.

Step 4: Primer Bulb

If your chainsaw has a primer bulb, just press it a few times. By pressing the primer bulb or fuel bulb, you can reduce the number of pulls you will undertake to start quicker the chainsaw. It removes air in the fuel pipe so that it easily flows to the carburetor.

Step 5: Lock the Throttle Trigger

This is done by pulling the trigger in a while depressing the throttle trigger lockout button at the same time. You will then set the master control switch located near the rear handle to choke position or closed throttle position.

Step 6: Place the Chainsaw on a Level Ground

Once the master controller has been set to the choke position. The chainsaw is placed on firm level ground. The bar and chain should not make any contact with the surface. If you didn’t engage the chain brake, this is the best time to do so.

Step 7: Grasp the Front Handle

Grasp the Front Handle

You need to place the toe or front end of your boot with your right foot on the space below the rear handle. You can then grasp the front handle using your left hand to hold the chainsaw firmly to the ground. Once you secure the chainsaw, get hold of the recoil starter rope with your right hand.

Slowly pull the starter rope upward to reduce contact between the rope and chainsaw casing. When you feel some resistance or tension, you should give it strong and quick tugs. The engine may fire up, splutter a little and stop. This is normal, and you have to pull a few times before the engine starts.

When the engine shuts off, you have to move the master control lever to half throttle. Pull the starting rope several times until the chainsaw engine starts. Pulling too many times can cause some flooding of fuel in the engine. You need to wait for some time before pulling again on the starter rope.

Step 8: Set the Master Control Lever

The master control lever moves from the run position to idle. This happens because the throttle trigger is tapped immediately after the engine starts successfully. You can then go ahead and lift the chainsaw while avoiding pressing the throttle trigger.

You are then required to pull the chain brake towards the handle. This is done by using a slight touch of your index fingers on your left hand around the front handle while placing a firm grip on the rear handle. Releasing the chain brake allows the chain to smoothly rotate on the sprocket.

Step 9: Look at the Chain Lubrication

You need to hold the chainsaw towards the light or against a light background. After that, squeeze the throttle trigger until the chain reaches its maximum revs. The lubricant will glisten on the chain. This proves that the chain is ready to work on firewood, trees, and hardwoods.

At this moment, you can decide to switch off the engine if you were just trying out the start procedure. Just move and press the master control lever switch to off, and the engine will stop.

Items to Check on When Your Stihl Chainsaw Won’t Start – Find the Starting Problems and Their Solutions With Primer Easy Steps to Start

So you have followed the steps, and still, your Stihl chainsaw won’t start. You are now wondering what could be the problem, and the thought of giving up is lingering. Before you start thinking about throwing in the towel, you need to check correctly on the steps you took.

You may have missed a step or performed the activities in the steps wrongly. It could also be Stihl starting problems. These are common problems that occur in the process of starting any chainsaw, not just Stihl Chainsaws. Here is a look at some of these problems.

Spark Plug

Spark Plug

The spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel. If there is no spark, then the chainsaw will not start. Failure of the spark plug is common with gas powered chainsaws. That is why you have to check on it first before addressing other problems.

The first thing to look at is whether the spark plug is secured properly. You can do this by pulling the boot off the spark plug, and a popping sound should be produced. If there is no sound, press it firmly to its correct position and try starting your Stihl chainsaw.

If the problem persists, you can take out the spark plug with a wrench and check on its condition. Start by testing the ignition of the spark plug by touching the metallic part of the plug to the engine head. You should then pull the recoil starter. If a spark is produced, then all is good.

The spark plug may also be covered with carbon or corroded and covered in rust. Try cleaning it with a wire brush. You can also use some gas in the cleaning process. If the spark plug has any crack on the ceramic top. You have to replace it with the recommended parts that fit with one of the best chainsaw brands like Stihl.

Flooding the Engine

Flooding of the engine is another major cause of Stihl gas-powered Chainsaw not starting. The engine floods when there is too much fuel or gas in the combustion chamber. The spark plug also becomes wet from the excess fuel.

Flooding occurs when you push repeatedly on the primer bulb than it is required. If you also pull the starter rope too quickly too many times, the engine will be flooded with gas.

In most cases, the flooding of the engine will be noticed easily through the smell of gas. You can remove the spark plug so that you can confirm the flooding of the engine. If the spark plug is wet, that is a definite sign of flooding in the engine. You need to release the excess gas.

You can do this by removing the spark plug and allowing the excess fuel to flow out through the spark plug opening. You can also try pushing back the choke in and pull the starter rope about eight times as you are holding the throttle to release the excess fuel.

Ignition Coil

Ignition Coil

When you remove and clean the spark plug, replace it with a new one. There should be some spark, and the engine will start normally. However, if this doesn’t happen the problem could be the ignition coil. You have to check on it before looking at another possible problem.

The ignition coil provides the needed boosted power to create a spark. When voltage is not sent to the spark plug, the chainsaw will not start or function effectively. You need to check on the coil if your chainsaw doesn’t start. You have to use a multimeter or ignition coil tester to check on the ignition coil.

You can also look at the connections on the ignition coil to ensure no wires are damaged, and the ignition coil is well secured. If you find out that the ignition coil is faulty. Your only option is to replace it with a new one.

Recoil Starter

Recoil Starter

If your chainsaw won’t start has spark and fuel. Then the problem could be the recoil starter. To check on the recoil starter, you have to remove its assembly. The recoil starter assembly has various components that take care of the starting of the Stihl chainsaw.

These components include recoil starter pulley, flywheel, and then rewind spring. Each of them can have some problems which make your chainsaw not start. You need to check on these components to make sure everything is fine.

The first component is the recoil starter pulley. When you pull the cord, the tabs will extend from pulley to cam, which then grabs the hub on the engine, causing it to fire up. These tabs will retract, and the cord gets pulled back in after releasing the cord. If this doesn’t happen, the recoil starter assembly may be faulty, and you have to replace it.

The second item is the flywheel. When there is no resistance from the engine when you pull the recoil starter, the flywheel be damaged, and it needs to be replaced.

The other problem on the recoil starter maybe its rewind spring. If you pull on the recoil starter and it doesn’t return to its normal position. There is a higher probability of the spring being defective.

The spring is responsible for rewinding the starter cord after every pull. When you discover the spring is broken, the only option is a replacement. However, with most models, the whole assembly has to be replaced.

Check the Fuel Tank

In most instances, people check the fuel tank to ensure it is not empty or the fuel being insufficient that it can’t enable the engine to start. However, they don’t consider the chainsaw may not start since it has bad fuel in the fuel tank.

Bad fuel consists of fuel that you left in the fuel tank for a long time. Such fuel is more likely to go stale. This is due to the chemical breakdown of fuel that occurs and the evaporation of some components of gasoline.

You need to drain the tank and clean it to ensure there isn’t any bad fuel. You will then use fresh fuel and try starting your chainsaw. The other problem may be mixing the wrong fuel to oil ratio. The manual provided will show the correct ratio since there isn’t one generic ratio for each model of Stihl Chainsaw.

You should also avoid using any automotive or gasoline mixed with ethanol or methanol. This is because such gas becomes acidic when you leave it in the tank for some time. It could also damage the engine resulting in unnecessary costs.

Clogged Carburetor

When fuel is left for a long time in the engine, the carburetor can clog because the fuel will turn to be sticky. The lighter elements of fuel evaporate, and the thick elements remain to leave a sticky, tar-like residue.

The best solution is cleaning the jets inside the carburetor with your ideal carburetor cleaner. Once the sticky substance has been removed. You can go ahead and fit the carburetor and try to warn start your chainsaw.

There can be some sticky and thick substance on your chainsaw too. That should be cleaned as well. If by cleaning the sticky substance doesn’t come off. You should replace the carburator.

Air Filters

If your chainsaw doesn’t start after checking the above components of the chainsaw. You have to look at the air filters and ensure they are clean. When the filters are dirty and clogged, this will affect the air-to-gas ratio preventing the engine from firing up.

When you run a chainsaw that has clogged filters, carbon build-up will occur since the engine releases more fuel that is not burned. Carbon build-up can also occur when the engine is constantly idle. You are required to clean the air filters using mild soap and water if your chainsaw has been in use for more than five hours.

Important Things to Note

If your chainsaw doesn’t start, these are some of the troubleshooting solutions you can undertake. You should take caution when performing any of these activities since the engine may wrench tart while checking it. If the above procedures don’t work, seek the help of a professional.

You should also take caution and preventive measures when working with your chainsaw. This entails wearing protective gear, engaging the chain brake in an emergency, and having a firm grip on the chainsaw handle.

Ensure that you follow through the manual provided after acquiring a particular Stihl Chainsaw model. Maintenance of the chainsaw is also important. Some of these starting problems are caused by poor maintenance of your chainsaw.

Stihl Chainsaw tune-up and replacement of Stihl Chainsaw parts that are damaged save you a lot in the long run. Diagnosing any possible issue requires that you methodically address each problem. Take the necessary measures, and your engine will start smoothly.


Starting gasoline chainsaws follows the same steps in a warm or cold start. The steps indicated works for all Stihl chainsaws. The steps must be followed to the latter to avoid experiencing starting problems. A lot of individuals who purchase chainsaws don’t have a platform where they can get comprehensive information regarding starting.

I have provided you with the right steps on how to start a Stihl chainsaw. You also get to have a solution to various problems that may cause your chainsaw not to start. Make sure that you follow through the steps to get your engine fired up in a few minutes. You have got the information you were looking for, and now it’s your time to implement.

You May Also Read:

1. How To Sharpen A Chainsaw With A Dremel

2. How To Measure a Chainsaw Bar

Robert Terry

Robert Terry is a specialist author at He is very enthusiastic about woodworking and carpentry. His writings have been published in the wood magazine before. His passion for working with wood and woodworking tools lets him explore many pieces of informative content and resources. Besides working as a creative writer, he loves to share his skills and experiences with the woodworking and carpentry community.

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