There are two basic parts of a Poulan chainsaw: the motor and the bar which carries the chain. If you are having trouble with your Poulan chainsaw, then you can do some basic troubleshooting on these two facets of the tool before you take the chainsaw to a professional or simply opt to replace it. You can save yourself a great deal of time and money, and all you need are items that probably are already in your tool box.
Check the spark plug. The first step to check this out is, take your spark plug wrench and remove the spark plug by turning it counter clockwise. Squirt some starting fluid inside the spark plug hole -- about a half a second's worth -- and then put the plug back in. Firmly tighten it down. Pull the starter cord (you may have to do this a couple of times). If the chainsaw starts and runs, you are finished. If it does not fire, the spark plug is bad and needs to be replaced.
Replace the spark plug. Use the wrench to pull the old spark plug back out and twist the new one into place. If the chainsaw now starts, then you can continue to use it and your troubleshooting is done.
Clean out the Poulan chainsaw's gears. With your spark plug wrench or box end wrench, take off the one or two nuts on the side of the chainsaw. This will allow access to the actual chain gears. The gears can get clogged with sticks, wood chips and twigs. Clean the whole area out with an old toothbrush.
Test the gears. Replace the panel and grab the chain with your gloves on. Attempt to pull it on the bar. If it pulls along smoothly, you are ready to start sawing again.
Repair any pinched areas on the bar of the chainsaw. The bar has a track. Through use, the edges of this track may get pinched and hinder the movement of the chain. Place the screwdriver in the track and slowly run it around the entire outside edge . If your screwdriver stops at any point, the track needs to be gently pried open until you can easily move the screwdriver along once again. Continue until you have moved the entire length of the bar.
Pull the chain. If it now moves easily. you are good to start work. If not, you may need to get a new chainsaw or take your old one in to be repaired by a professional.