Why Does My Circular Saw Keep Stopping? Common Problems & Reasons

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Like most power tools, circular saws are not immune to technical issues and failure. But, users are often baffled when their circular saw suddenly stops working or the blade stops rotating. 

There are various reasons why this issue occurs, and it is not one without a solution. In this guide, our woodworkers will elaborate on the reasons why your circular saw keeps stopping.

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Circular Saw Stops Working

#1: Insufficient Battery

One of the reasons a circular saw is that the battery is dead, given that your circular saw is a battery-powered model. The saw will be able to work with whatever charge the battery has left. It usually works for a few more minutes to stop spinning completely. 

However, the battery may recover enough for you to be able to turn it on and allow it to function. If this happens, make sure to recharge the battery. 

However, if it still does not work, the battery might be damaged and up for replacement. 

circular saw battery

#2: Issue With the Motor or High Voltage

Make sure to check the circular saw’s motor. A motor issue can also cause your circular saw to stop working. Make sure to check if the blades are working properly, including the motor brass of the saw, motor arbor, etc. 

A high voltage is damaging to the circular saw and can lead to a motor issue. High voltage will break down the insulation of the power code due to this electric surge.

#3: Overheating

Overheating is also a reason for circular saws to stop working. Using unsharpened blades for cutting needs more pressure and results in more friction. This will most often lead to overheating of blades. 

The increase in heat as a result of overheating will trigger the thermal switch and thus stops the saw blade as a part of its safety feature. While using the circular saw, ensure that you are not using it aggressively without rest.  

#4: Power Cord Defect or Damage

If your circular saw is corded, then you may want to check the power cord itself. The outer shell of the power cord contains multiple small wires. 

corded circular saw

These tend to wear down after some time and the damage to the outer wires of the power cord may also damage the interior wires with time. 

Also, be careful with tangled cords during cutting operations. Sometimes these cords are left tangled and may be crushed under heavy objects. This pressure on the cords may result in damage to interior wires fraying them or snapping them completely.

If you observe that the saw occasionally turns on or off depending on the position of the saw, then there are problems with the cord. Replace the cord immediately so you can use your saw once again.

Before replacing the power cable, inspect the unit and make sure that everything is properly connected. Once everything has been checked, proceed to replace the power cable or have the store attendant replace it for you. Make sure to call in a professional to assist you so you won’t risk your safety and avoid any injuries involving your circular saw

#5: Wrong Blade Depth Settings

Another overlooked reason why the circular saw keeps on stopping is that the saw blade is not set at the appropriate depth for the piece you would like to cut.  

blade depth adjustment

The saw has the tendency to stop or stall when the blade is not deep enough nor protrudes far enough to cut on the wooden piece.

This can easily be solved by setting the saw blade to allow it to protrude more. If your saw, on the other hand, is large, then you will need a bigger saw blade. 

You can now make straight cuts or cuts of your choice with the correct settings.

#6: Wrong Blade Type or Size for the Project

Another reason why your circular saw keeps stopping in the middle of cutting is that you are not using the right blade for the job. You may be using a wood blade to cut a piece of metal or other materials.

circular saw blade for softwood will not work well for hardwood, and vice versa. This can easily be solved by replacing the blade with a more appropriate one. 

operating circular saw with Metabo HPT 115435M blade

#7: Damaged Blade

A damaged circular saw blade is one of the most common causes for a circular blade to cease working. Some of the damages include a dull blade, cracked, damaged, or warped blade. Whatever damage the blade has it is best to dispose of it and get a new blade.

There are many disadvantages to using such a blade. First of all, it is no longer safe to use a damaged blade. 

Once the teeth are damaged it has the tendency to get caught in the wood and cause the saw to stop functioning. And if you’re planning to cut a straight line, it may wobble, or worse, damage your material.

Once you see that your blade is damaged, make sure to purchase a new one no matter what. Possessing a good quality circular saw blade is one of the most important safety considerations when dealing with circular saws. Do away from a low-quality blade and make sure to purchase a sharp blade. 

#8: Damaged or Loose Arbor

A damaged or loose arbor can also lead the circular saw to stop. This weak connection can lead the saw to keep stopping and refrain from cutting wood. 

circular saw arbor

Make sure to check if the arbor of the clutch bolt is loose then tighten it accordingly. Make sure to inspect these parts and check whether they are damaged then you may need to buy a new one. 

#9: Work Piece Not Properly Supported

A workpiece that is not properly supported can also result in your circular saw to keep stopping. It also has a tendency to pinch the blade. Thus, make sure to support your workpiece to avoid shifting the blade. 

#10: Saw Dust Buildup

Saw dust buildup and fine particles found in the engine can cause the saw to suddenly stop working. Lack of air or cooling in the motor region can lead to clogging with dust and debris. 

This buildup can cause your circular saw engine to overheat and keep stopping. All the sawdust deposition can also cause the moving parts to become stuck.

How to Troubleshoot the Issue With Your Circular Saw

It may be a challenge to identify the cause of this malfunction. Examine the unit thoroughly by following the steps for troubleshooting.

10 ¼ Inches circular saw
  1. Check the possible part that may be blocked.
  2. Check if the air cleaner inside the saw is stuck or not.
  3. Check for a damaged power cord and electric cables then proceed to purchase new ones.  
  4. Check and ensure that the reset button is not damaged.
  5. Make sure that the saw blades are not overheating. If it is, make sure to restart the device again.
  6. Check if the saw blade is stuck.
  7. Check if the current passing through is normal.
  8. Once grease oil [1] is visible on the surface motor, proceed to check the motor brushes. 
  9. Check and make sure that your grounded plug is in one piece.

11 Ways to Fix Your Circular Saw + How to Maintain and Use it Properly

It’s important to have the basic knowledge to troubleshoot your saw that suddenly stops while cutting wood or any other material. The list will cover indicates how to use and maintain the saw properly.

#1: Use a High-Quality Blade

Change the blade of the circular saw and purchase a high-quality one to maximize the use of a circular saw. A premium quality saw blade will prevent you from changing blades more often. 

Milwaukee 48-40-4070 Circular Saw Blade

#2: Tighten the Bolts

Inspect the brass screw, bolts, and clutches of your circular saw blade. If you see that these are loosened then proceed to tighten them up with a wrench. Loose blades will not allow the blades to function properly.

#3: Replace the Defective Motor Brass

Next, check the motor brass. Oftentimes a defective motor brass is a culprit behind a non-functioning saw. One of the telltale signs of a defective motor brass is when it produces whistling and clicking noises. If this happens, purchase a new one. 

#4: Replace the Motor Arbor

At times, motor issues may cause a bad connection. The motor arbor may have some issues which lead to a non-functional circular saw. Check if the blade is held properly, and if not, replace the motor arbor at once. 

#5: Change the Rotor and Stator

Inspect the rotor and stator, especially if you notice smoke or a burning smell. This might indicate that they are damaged. Replace it immediately to avoid causing fires and other dangers. 

circular saw blade

#6: Repair or Replace Damaged Power Cords

Examine the power cords that come with your saw. Check if you have a frayed cord and if so proceed to replace them rather than trying to fix them. 

#7: Repair Carbon Brushes

The saw motor may also stop working when carbon brushes are worn out from continuous use. Old carbon brushes once worn out has the tendency to make saw unresponsive since it will be unable to rotate the shaft properly. 

#8: Lubricate Properly

Lubrication may also be the reason for your saw to stop working. Old grease tends to become solid with time and damages the motor from the inside. Develop a habit of changing grease on a regular basis.

#9: Allow it to Cool Down After Long Periods of Use

Make sure to check if the unit is overheated. Once the blades are overheated it turns off the switch until the motor comes to a cooler temperature. Once you see the blade stopping, it’s a sign that it needs to rest. 

Therefore, allow the unit to cool down after long periods of use. 

cutting granite tile with circular saw

#10: Plug into a Reliable Electric Source

Identify reliable sources of electricity. A reliable electric source provides normal, regular, and enough power to refrain from short circuits. But, you may also need to check how many watts your circular saw is using to verify if the power source is providing enough energy to run the tool.

#11: Clean the Parts Regularly

Make sure to develop a regular cleaning habit for your workplace and the saw blades. This will prevent dust build-up and keep a clean and dust-free place and unit ready for the next use. 

How Can I Tell if My Circular Saw Needs to be Replaced?

There are a number of reasons and telltale signs which signify a circular saw replacement. One sign is that the blade will cut at a slower rate than usual and produces burn marks on the wood which may lead to smoke production.

FAQ

How do I stop my circular saw from binding?

You can stop the circular saw from binding by checking if the teeth are sharp and if you have the appropriate blade for your project. Another is to regularly lubricate the blade. 

How do I stop the circular saw from spinning?

You can stop spinning by tightening loose parts of your circular saw. Another is to use a good blade for your circular saw or purchase a new circular saw altogether. A Ryobi circular saw is known to be of high quality and very reliable. 

Conclusion

Like any power tool, a circular saw is bound to encounter issues, especially after years of use. There are several issues why your circular saw keeps stopping. 

The majority of these issues are easy and can be addressed accordingly. What you need to do first is check the crucial parts of the saw, to identify the problem.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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