How to Fix a Craftsman Chainsaw That Won’t Start: Top Troubleshooting Tips

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Are you currently experiencing issues with your Craftsman chainsaw, wondering why it’s not performing as expected after just a few uses? You’re not alone in this concern, as there can be a variety of factors contributing to this problem. It could be related to the quality of the fuel you’re using, or there might be an obstruction in the carburetor.

I’m here to assist you by sharing a comprehensive set of troubleshooting tips specifically designed to address the common challenges associated with a non-starting Craftsman chainsaw. Together, we’ll work to get your chainsaw up and running smoothly again.

Common Solutions to a Craftsman Chainsaw Starting Issues

Here are the most common solutions to fix the starting issues of your Craftsman Chainsaw:

Fix #1: Ensure You’re Using High-Quality Fuel + Correct Fuel Mix

To ensure that your chainsaw will work adequately, always put fresh and high-quality fuel. Fresh fuel burns perfectly and does not accumulate water in the tank. You also need to add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas fresh in the tank. 

adding fuel to craftsman chainsaw

Do not store the fuel inside the tank for longer than three months without a stabilizer. If you are unsure about the correct fuel mix, you can purchase an ethanol-free pre-mixed fuel [1]

Fix #2: Clean the Fuel Filter

Check the next passageway and the fuel filter if you have fresh fuel and the chainsaw still doesn’t start. Similar to a Poulan chainsaw that refuses to run, your chainsaw can be difficult to start if the fuel is not correctly passing through due to a dirty fuel filter. 

You may clean the fuel filter or replace it. You should change a fuel filter at least once a year regardless of how much you use the chainsaw. 

Fix #3: Clean the Air Filter

Like a dirty fuel filter, a dirty air filter can cause problems for your chainsaw. The chainsaw may start then die when given gas, or worse, it may decrease the performance and lifespan of your saw. Check the air filter after using the chainsaw for five hours or refilling your fuel fifteen times. 

craftsman chainsaw air filter

You can clean the spongy air filter by brushing it. Do not use compressed air to prevent damage. To clean it thoroughly, use warm soapy water and rinse it in cool water. 

Dry it out before putting it back on the chainsaw. You may also replace the filter once a year or as necessary. For compatibility, it’s best to purchase the filter from who made your chainsaw—Craftsman.

Fix #4: Clean the Carburetor

A carburetor combines the fuel and the air to start the engine’s internal combustion. A stock fuel in the engine can become sticky and may clog the carburetor. If the carburetor is clogged, it is hard to start the chainsaw. 

You can do this test to know whether the carburetor is the problem why your Craftsman chainsaw won’t start. Remove the air filter and pour a teaspoon of fuel into it. Try starting the saw. If it starts and dies immediately, the carburetor must be the problem.

craftsman chainsaw carburetor

Remove the fuel and use a specialized cleaning solution to clean minor clogs. Wipe the carburetor clean. However, if the carburetor is clogged too much, you may need to replace it. Make sure to purchase a compatible carburetor for your chainsaw

Fix #5: Check the Spark Plug for Damages

A spark plug provides a spark needed to ignite a gas-powered chainsaw. If the spark plug is defective, it can’t create a spark to make the chainsaw work. Remove the spark plug from the saw and check for damage or dirt. 

You can also find burned-up electrodes and carbon buildup in the spark plug. You can’t easily clean a spark plug, unlike the previous parts of the chainsaw. Usually, if the spark plug has one or more of the above problems, you need to replace it to safely use the chainsaw. You can also change it annually. 

Fix #6: Replace the Ignition Coil

The ignition coil plays a crucial role in supplying power voltage to the spark plug for proper functioning. Over time, repeated use can cause damage to the ignition coil, leading to starting issues with your chainsaw. If the spark plug appears clean and undamaged, and you’re not seeing any spark, it’s essential to inspect and test the ignition coil.

craftsman chainsaw ignition module

You may either buy an ignition coil tester or replace the ignition coil itself. If you have a tester and a spark is not produced during the process, you may need to change the ignition coil.

Fix #7: Check the Rewind Spring for Damages

The rewind spring recoils the starter cord after every pull. The engine won’t start if the cord doesn’t rewind after the first pull or if the rewind spring is broken. You need to change the rewind spring if this happens. 

Check your chainsaw model and see if you can replace the rewind spring individually or if you need to change the whole recoil starter. 


To address a non-starting Craftsman Chainsaw, it’s imperative to pinpoint the precise component responsible for the issue. Maintaining the cleanliness and overall health of every constituent part is fundamental to averting further damage. 

Nevertheless, it’s advisable to proactively replace certain key components, as outlined above, on an annual basis, particularly if your chainsaw sees frequent use. This prudent maintenance routine not only ensures optimal performance but also extends the lifespan of your valuable tool.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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