What Should You Do If A Poulan Chainsaw Won’t Start?

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“Oh no, my Poulan Chainsaw has stopped working. Should I buy a new one?” Well, there’s no need to overreact or panic. It’s important to approach this situation calmly and methodically. As someone with expertise in chainsaw maintenance and repair, I can tell you that the best way to tackle this issue is by carefully assessing the problem and working towards a solution.

Fortunately, I’m here to simplify the problem-solving process for you. I’ll outline a few steps you can take to troubleshoot your Poulan chainsaw. By following these steps, you’ll likely have your chainsaw up and running in no time, saving you the trouble and expense of buying a new one.

Possible Reasons, Solutions, and Contingencies

Here are some potential explanations as to why your Poulan chainsaw has begun malfunctioning. I’ll also guide you through the immediate steps you can take to address these problems. It’s worth mentioning that the user manual often provides valuable solutions for these issues, so it’s a good idea to refer to it for extra steps and information.

Inspect the Fuel 

Before proceeding with other tasks, the first step should always involve checking the fuel. Fuel is essential for the proper functioning of the chainsaw. Without an adequate fuel supply, the tool will not operate effectively.

adding fuel to Poulan Chainsaw

For the best results, you want to go for a fuel to oil ratio of 40:1[1]. You can accomplish this by applying the following components and following the respective proportions:

  • Fresh unleaded gasoline (1 gallon)
  • Poulan 2-cycle air-cooled engine oil (3.2 ounces)  

Once you have finished incorporating the mixture, make sure to put the current date to know when to change the fuel to avoid a poorly functioning Poulan chainsaw. You need to change the fuel once every 90 days. Don’t start the saw right away if you smell fresh gasoline coming out of the saw. Let it rest and evaporate for about 15 to 20 minutes. After doing this, you can now pull the rope until the chainsaw starts.

Clean Your Filters

One of the reasons why your electric chainsaw or even gas chainsaw fail to start is because it may contain dirty filters. Therefore, you need to always check your air filters if there is oil residue or dirt surrounding it.

To prevent any potential damage, I recommend carefully removing the filter from the cylinder cover. After that, the next step involves cleaning it using hot water and a mild soap. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the filter, be sure to rinse it with cold water. It’s important to ensure that the filter is completely dry before you reinstall it.

Poulan 306a Chainsaw

To maintain your filters in the long run, wash them with water and soap once after five hours of operations, which is equivalent to 10 fuel tanks. If cleaning is not enough, you may need to replace your filters. Poulan’s recommendation is to change your filters at least once a year.

Fix the Carburetor

If you live in warm and humid areas, your chainsaw may not start after 15-30 minutes. “Why is this the case?” you may ask?  The carburetor becomes vapor-locked, which happens whenever hot gas evaporates in the carburetor, thus preventing the fuel from entering it. 

To solve the carburetor issue, flip the saw to the side area so that you can loosen the gas cap and lessen tank pressure. As a result, the fuel should fill up the tank, and your saw should begin functioning once again.  

If you plan to cut trees with immense height, using high-powered cordless pole saw is advisable

For a detailed workaround, refer to this guide detailing the ways to adjust your Poulan chainsaw carburetor

Examine the Chains

Your Poulan chain may not experience startup problems anymore, but the chains may not be cutting as well as they should. If the chains are not working properly or the chain goes to wrong direction, you may need to keep an eye on the chain brake. It should automatically stay attached to the chains when sudden movements occur. 

Poulan Pro Chainsaw

If you’re still facing issues with the chains not turning, even after disengaging the brake, the next step I recommend is turning off the saw to investigate whether there are any burrs causing the chain to be obstructed. It’s also a good idea to inspect the chain’s bar groove for any dirt, residue, or foreign objects that might be causing the problem.

If the chainsaw starts becoming dull, it is advisable to buy a file sharpener to enhance its blade quality. You can consider this file size chart for chainsaw before buying one. 

Coordinate With the Poulan Company 

If all the solutions above still don’t result in a fully functional Poulan chainsaw, you may need to seek help from Poulan.The brand offers a 1-2 year warranty for their chainsaws, so you want to take advantage of this service if you encounter defects. 


I hope I gave you peace of mind if and when your Poulan chainsaw stops cooperating. 

Whether you solve the problems yourself or with someone’s help, these solutions should be more than enough to get your chainsaw back to “good as new” status. Troubleshooting the issue can save you a lot of time and money, because when your Poulan chainsaw won’t start, it doesn’t always need to be replaced. 

For reliable yet affordable chainsaws, you can check my list of high-quality chainsaws under 200. Read next!

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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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