Most common Chainsaw Engine Problems

A chainsaw can experience a number of issues and some can involve the engine. (Courtesy: Greg Bishop at

A chainsaw can experience a number of issues and some can involve the engine.
(Courtesy: Greg Bishop at

No matter how reliable your chainsaw engine appears to be, there is going to be a time or two when it doesn’t perform as advertised. Keeping proper care and performing scheduled and preventative maintenance will assure that the troubles will be fewer with long periods in between. Still, engines are engines and they are going to go haywire sometime.

The most common problems you should expect include:

· No start.
· Start-stop
· Hard starts.
· Poor engine performance
· No turnover.

I discussed the problem of chainsaws not starting in a previous blog titled Chainsaw Starting Problems and focused on the problem of troubleshooting carburetor problems. Other causes can include switches, bad wiring and ignition coils that don’t perform properly.

A start-stop problem or condition is when the chainsaw actually starts, but does not run continuously for more than a few seconds. Parts can be the culprit in this case. If this happens to you, experts suggest that you check out the plug spark arrestor screen, the carburetor, spark plug and fuel filters.

A hard-to-start chainsaw engine is another sign of faulty parts. Check the chainsaw’s fuel system, air intake or spark system. Start your troubleshooting with the spark plug and check to see if a strong spark takes place when you pull the cord to start the machine. If the plug is okay, then check the intake and exhaust to determine if they need cleaning. The last possibilities to check out are fuel delivery problems starting at the tank and moving through the fuel filter and carburetor.

What if your chainsaw starts okay and continues to run, but it just doesn’t perform well? Experts say that this signifies that the engine needs to be tuned. Simply stick to a regular maintenance schedule and replace worn out parts when necessary including air filters and you probably won’t experience any problems. If the parts are all okay, then the remedy is to make small adjustments to the idle speed or the fuel ratio on the carburetor.

Chainsaws rarely suffer hard or no turnover issues. Still, it does happen at times. When it does happen it is probably because the chainsaw hasn’t been used very often or the engine has been abused. Experts say that the culprit when this happens is improper lubrication in the engine. If the engine is not lubricated properly, then heat builds up due to metal-to-metal contact. As a result, engine parts tend to fuse together. If this happens, then you will need to seek out a mechanic to perform a major repair. The cost of an extensive repair can be as much as the price for a new engine. So either way you are destined to lose some heavy coin. To assure that this problem never occurs, always lubricate the engine of your chainsaw as prescribed by the chainsaw’s owner’s manual. Never allow a chainsaw engine to run dry.

If you don’t trust yourself to make repairs, then seek the help of an experienced mechanic. However, by troubleshooting yourself you know exactly what the problem is and can’t be fooled by an unscrupulous repairman.

(Next time: troubleshooting chainsaw cutting problems)

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.