How to Troubleshoot a Stihl chain saw that Is Hard to Start

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Things You'll Need

  • Replacement Spark plug

  • Socket set

  • Electrode gap measure

Install a new sparkplug after 100 operating hours.

Regular maintenance will help to ensure that your Stihl chain saw will always start. In addition, some storage steps can help with starting when the chainsaw has been left for an extended period. Problems starting a Stihl chain saw can be related to gasoline storage, spark plugs, and incorrect starting procedures. Issues like these can be corrected by following some troubleshooting steps.


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Step 1

Check the gasoline in the tank if the chain saw is hard to start. If the chain saw hasn't been used for a month or so, discard the gasoline and replace it with fresh. Start with new gasoline at the beginning of each season.

Step 2

Check the Stihl's spark plug if the engine is still hard to start. Take it out with a socket set and clean it if it's dirty. Check the electrode gap, it should be 0.02-inches on the Stihl 026. Install a new sparkplug after 100 operating hours anyway. Anything other than a light-tan colored spark plug indicates potential engine problems and requires service.


Step 3

Start the saw correctly if the saw is still hard to start. Make sure the choke is on if you are starting from cold, and immediately push choke lever to the warm start position when the engine starts to run. Press the throttle trigger quickly too. If the engine is new, pull the starter grip several times first to prime the fuel line.



Patrick Nelson

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.