Poulan Chainsaw Won’t Start: How To Fix It In 5 Steps

sawing by electrical chainsaw

When it comes to chainsaws, only a handful of companies are known all over the world regarding reliability and efficiency. Most of the time, buyers want a chainsaw that can take on heavy duty projects. They also want their chainsaws to be able to function properly for years without problems.

One of the best chainsaws that you can buy is the ones made from Poulan Pro. This American manufacturer has been making chainsaws since the 1940’s and they have slowly earned the respect of many American loggers since then. Their chainsaws are widely known for the strength and durability.

However, no matter how durable your chainsaw is, without proper care and attention, it might suddenly suffer from starting problems. This is why you should check your chainsaw from time to time according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Here’s how you can fix a Poulan chainsaw:

Things You Need To Prepare

1. Work Gloves

work gloves

You will need to wear it to protect your hands from different parts that might contain oil and other substances. Some of these parts are also quite sharp and you will need gloves to protect yourself while fixing the chainsaw. You can try to wear rubber gloves for as long as they are clean and dry.

2. Clean Rags


You will need it to deal with the mess especially if the chainsaw is flooded or needs to be drained. You can also use old newspapers and clothes so you can easily remove oil and gas spills.

3. A Wire Brush

wire brush

You will need this to help clean the spark plug. If you do not have one, you might be able to use a clean, dry toothbrush but it will not be as efficient especially if you need to clean stubborn residue and grime.

You might also need the following:

  • A new spark plug
  • A carburetor cleaner or a new carburetor
  • A new ignition coil
  • A new rewind spring
  • A new recoil starter pulley

How To Fix It In 5 Steps

Step 1: Check The Poulan chainsaw

a stihl chainsaw

Do a visual inspection of your chainsaw. Make sure that the chainsaw is not flooded or if the tank is still full of old fuel. With gloves on, try to check if the chainsaw’s air filter is clogged. All these inspections are necessary as they will typically help you determine what’s wrong right away.

Step 2: Clean The Carburetor


If fuel has been left inside the chainsaw for a long time, the carburetor might be clogged. You will need to remove it and use a carburetor cleaner so you can remove the debris, oil or gasoline that is causing the clog. If the carburetor no longer works properly, you should consider buying a new one instead.

Step 3: Check The Spark Plug

spark plugs

If the spark plug has not been replaced recently, you should consider checking it and trying to see if it can still produce spark. You can do this by putting it in the spark plug wire and trying to rub it on a metal portion of the chain saw. The spark plug will also have moisture if the engine has been flooded.

You should replace the spark plug if it is already no longer working. You can however, try to clean it first by brushing it with a metal wire brush. You should be very careful in cleaning so that you can avoid causing more damage. Just try to be gentle and focus on removing any grime on the spark plug.

Step 4: Check On The Ignition Coil

ignition coil

If the chainsaw is still not working properly, you might want to check and replace the ignition coil. This coil sends electricity to the spark plug and in most cases, you should try to replace it as well if you tried a new spark plug to no avail. Use the clean rags to clean the spark plug and keep the mess at a minimum.

Step 5: Check The Pull-On Mechanism

checking chainsaw

Poulan chainsaws are notorious for being quite hard when it comes to starting because they need to be pulled with a lot of force. This makes the pull-on system susceptible to damage. If the spark plug and carburetor is working fine, you might have to replace the rewind spring and the recoil starter pulley.


Poulan chainsaws are actually quite reliable and they can actually be used to do a lot of heavy duty stuff. However, if you will not do the proper maintenance checks, the chainsaw can suffer from unexpected failures. Follow the steps carefully so you can fix it on your own and call for repairs if it will still not work.

Have you tried fixing a Poulan chainsaw that would not start? Tell us more about how you fixed it in the comment section.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

Leave a Comment:

Heather says Aug. 2017

Great checklist, find a trusted parts supplier and truly all repairs are simplified!

David L Nelson says Sep. 2017

Changed plug to champion CJ8

Tom Cihak says Aug. 2018

Pull cord froze,cannot pull to start.Seems locked.

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