How To Fix A Chainsaw: 3 Common Issues

how to fix a chainsawAre you having chainsaw problems? If so, you’re probably wondering how to fix a chainsaw. However, this is not a one-answer problem. There could be a million different things wrong with your chainsaw. Today will go over the top reasons why a chainsaw might stop working, and what you can do to fix it.

Keep in mind that chainsaws are very dangerous pieces of equipment. Chainsaws are also very complex tools. Gas chainsaws use a lot of pieces, with a 2-stroke combustion engine and a carburetor. These are components that can malfunction and break, no matter how well you care for your chainsaw.

The biggest issues with a chainsaw involve the chain falling off the guide bar, the chainsaw not cutting through wood or being stubborn and needing extra force to cut, and a chainsaw that will not turn on. These are the most common reasons somebody needs to fix a chainsaw.

How to Fix a Dull Chainsaw

If your chainsaw is dull and will not cut, you more than likely have a problem with the chain. Either the cutters have become too dull, the tension is wrong, or the chain was not lubricated properly and is now having trouble to spin. You definitely have a dull chain if your chainsaw won’t cut through wood, or if you need to push the chainsaw extremely hard to make a cut.

Remember that you should never have to force a chainsaw. The chain should easily cut through wood without you using force. If your chain is dull, it is a very easy fix. You simply need to either sharpen the chain or buy a replacement.

A dull chain will not only be ineffective at cutting wood, but it will also hurt your engine in the long run. If you decide to sharpen the chain yourself, you will need a file to sharpen each chainsaw tooth individually. This may sound like a painstaking process, but it should only take a few minutes.

If you have recently sharpened your chain and it still won’t cut through wood, chances are it has been sharpened too many times. Your best bet is to purchase a new chain.

You also need to make sure the chainsaw chain is placed on the bar in the right direction. If your chainsaw was cutting fine before but has gradually worsened, chances are the chain is on properly. But if you just cleaned the chainsaw and put your chain back on and now it’s not cutting, chances are your teeth are facing the wrong way.

Read More: Chainsaw Maintenance – The Ultimate Guide

How to Fix a Chainsaw that Won’t Start

If your chainsaw will not start, it is probably something wrong with either the starting cord or the carburetor. This is definitely the worst problem you could have with a chainsaw. A chain is easy to fix and easy to replace, but if something has happened to your carburetor or your starter, it will involve a fair bit of technical fixing.

The first thing you want to do is open the chainsaw and take a look. You will need to check the spark plug to see if it has been damaged. If the spark plug is black and looks burned, you probably just need to replace the spark plug and everything will be good as new.

Alternatively, your carburetor could be clogged. There are numerous reasons for a carburetor to get clogged, but mainly it happens because fuel is left for too long inside the tank and it causes residue to clog the carburetor.

Try cleaning the carburetor with a special carburetor cleaner, or you can try to unclog it by shooting compressed air inside. If the carburetor still appears really dirty and won’t work, and everything else with the chainsaw is fine, you may need to think about getting a new carburetor. Chances are old fuel managed to completely destroy the component.

Another thing people often forget to check is the air filter. A dirty air filter can stop your chainsaw from running. To fix this, simply take out the air filter and clean it with soap and water, let it dry, then put it back into the machine. You will know if the air filter is the culprit for your chainsaw not starting if you remove it and find an inch of grime and dirt caked onto it.

The recoil starter could also be broken. This is an assembly that consists of a few different components, including the starting cord. If you rip on the starter cord and nothing happens – not a sound or any hint of life – something inside the assembly is probably broken. To fix this, you are going to need to install an entirely new assembly.

Read More: Chainsaw Won’t Start – 6 Things To Check

How to Fix a Loose Chain

If everything is OK with your chainsaw, but your chain continuously falls off the bar, you undoubtedly have a tension problem. This is actually quite common. If the tension is too weak, your chain is inevitably going to fall off the guide bar while operating. There should never be any sag between your chain and the bar. If there is, you definitely have a tension problem.

This generally happens because the tension mechanism itself has become loose. It could be that the screws are stripped, so even if you start the day with the perfect tension, it will get weaker and weaker until the chain falls off. This is not your fault – but it is extremely dangerous!

You will need to inspect the tension mechanism. Take out the screws and see what they look like. If they are stripped or no good, you are going to need to get a new tensioner. You will have to refer to your instruction manual for the proper part number, then order it through the manufacturer.

This is definitely a sucky problem, and it is one of the more expensive and time-consuming issues to fix. But if your chainsaw starts, spins, and your chain keeps falling off, there is not much else you can do other than to purchase a whole new tensioner.

Randy Peterson Cutter Life

Randy Peterson

Randy is a chainsaw enthusiast and an experienced lumberjack. He'll most likely be found cutting, chopping, and trimming trees, usually working with a wide variety of tools. Randy likes the outdoors and socializing with friends.