Starting a STIHL chainsaw – a complete step-by-step guide

Starting a STIHL chainsaw – the best step-by-step guide

How to process starting a STIHL chainsaw is easy once you know the correct steps. This article will tell you everything you need to know about starting up your STIHL chainsaw and what to do if your chainsaw won’t turn on.

Setting up a STIHL chainsaw isn’t a big deal, but before you’re ready to take any action, you need to know what to do. The advantage of the STIHL chainsaw is that you don’t need a completely different instruction manual for different models.

So if you’re having trouble or just wondering, you’ve come to the right place.

How do you start a STIHL chainsaw?

Always do a basic check before starting up your chainsaw. Do this every time without fail.

Checklist starting a STIHL chainsaw

  • Check that the chain is installed correctly and that the chain tension is correct.
  • Check the condition of your chains and cutters.
  • Make sure the chain brake moves freely and engages.
  • Before starting, you should check the brakes to ensure they move freely.
  • Fill the gas tank with fuel mixed with the correct ratio of two-stroke oil. You can find this in the user manual.
  • Check the spark plug, the cap should be tight on it.

By performing the initial checks, you will know that your chainsaw is safe and ready to use.

Follow these simple steps to get your STIHL chainsaw up and running

They all share a wide range of common features that allow you to become an expert in any of them with a standard manual.

Step 1. Check the fuel cap

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If you use a chainsaw, you should refuel it before using it. You should also make sure that the gas tank lid is tightly closed and that no drops fall on the external parts of the gas powered chainsaw.

Step 2: Activate the chain brake


Before starting the chain saw, the chain brake must be activated by pushing it forward. On the STIHL chainsaw, the chain brake is usually located directly in front of the handlebar and only needs to be pushed forward. When activated, the chain locks as a safety measure until you turn on the chainsaw and are ready to use the tool.

Step 3. Remove the control panel cover.

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STIHL chainsaws often come with a fairing that covers the chain and bar cover. Remove this bar cover before starting the chainsaw. In this way, as soon as you launch your tool, you are ready to use it.

Step 4: Press the decompression valve

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Only STIHL professional chainsaws have a decompression valve, so skip this step if you don’t have one. If you have a professional grade STIHL chainsaws, simply press the decompression valve, which is often located on top of the chainsaw next to the starter cord.

Step 5: Inflate the air valve

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Many STIHL models are equipped with an air valve that is located next to the chainsaw, and next to the steering wheel. If your chainsaw happens to have one, simply push it down about 4 times. There is usually a small, translucent plastic bubble on one side of the chainsaw.

This is a primer ball used to remove air from the fuel line, so it can flow freely into the carburetor. If you press it several times, the engine will start faster.

Step 6: Set the keyboard to the cold start setting.

There is a throttle trigger lockout on the side of the chainsaw, press and hold it with your thumb and then push the main master control lever (left back of the chainsaw) all the way. If you are going to use a chainsaw, you should always do this.

The function of the combination master control lever, it sets the idling speed and choke. Therefore, you should put this master control in a choke or cold start mode. To do this, grab the handle and squeeze the throttle trigger briefly located on top of the handle, then push it with your thumb.

Then pull the throttle trigger stick with your index finger and move the master control lever stick down to the choke position. If you have recently used a chainsaw, turn it off for a few minutes before using it again.

Step 7. Place the chainsaw on a hard, flat surface.

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Carefully place the chainsaw on a flat surface, but be careful that the bar and chain do not touch the surface. STIHL recommends starting the chainsaw in a seated position.

Therefore, place the saw on a flat surface and make sure that no objects hit the bar and chain. As previously mentioned, you should not “start” or “lamb” your chainsaw, as these positions are dangerous and do not give you good master control over your tool.

Step 8. Hold the chainsaw firmly with your foot and hand.

Place the tip of your right foot into the hole on the rear handle. Simultaneously squeeze the front handle with your left or less dominant hand, wrap your fingers tightly around it and lock it with your elbow. This position protects your chainsaw when starting.

Step 9: Pull the starter rope

Grasp the starter rope cable and slowly pull it vertically until you feel resistance. Then pull the cord quickly a few times to turn the chainsaw on briefly. Pull the cable up, making sure it’s vertical and doesn’t rub against the fan housing. Also, be sure to only grab the handle of the starter rope and never wrap the rope around your hand.

Step 10: Adjust the chainsaw to open the throttle.

Your chainsaw may catch fire, but stop immediately. In this case, move the main master control lever to the “half throttle” (warm start) position. A recently used chainsaw should have the master control lever in the “hot start” position.

Then pull the starter rope again to start the chainsaw. Using the same technique as in step 9 above, grab the pull the starter rope again by pulling it vertically. Your chainsaw motor should restart.

Step 11. Put the main controller in standby mode.

When the chainsaw starts, press the throttle trigger with your index finger. By doing this, the main control lever will return to its normal position. Remember that this is done with just a light touch of the finger. This will make your chainsaw work.

Step 12. Raise the chainsaw.

Look around you again to make sure there are no people or objects in your path. Stand slowly and carefully while holding the chainsaw by the handle. Then carefully release the chain brake by pulling it towards you. Once you’ve done this, your chainsaw should be ready to go.

Step 13: Release the chain brake.

You can release the chain brake by pulling the handle towards you with your left hand. At the same time, try not to lose the steering wheel. When you hear a click, the chain will release and you can now turn on the bar. This releases the chain brake and allows the chain to spin on the sprocket.

Step 14: Check chain lubrication.

As mentioned earlier, you should always check the chain lubrication before starting work. Take the saw and hold it against a light background, put a piece of paper on the ground and then open the gas valve completely.

If some of the chain lubricants appear in the background, it means you can start work with your chainsaw.

Step 15: Ready

Now that means you’re ready to get started with your chainsaw.

Chainsaw safety factors

Think about safety when using power tools. A chainsaw is a chainsaw. If you don’t know the safety factors of this tool, any unwanted situation can ruin your work or life. Now is the time to learn about chainsaw safety factors.

Kickback is a very common and critical situation when sawing with a chainsaw. Kickback is the unwanted movement of the saw that can be uncomfortable for the user and others.

To avoid recoil problems, keep a minimum distance and use the proper balance. Wearing safety boots is a good way to keep your balance while sawing.

How do you start a choke on a STIHL chainsaw?

When it is cold, the correct way to start is, as follows:

  1. Depress the throttle trigger lock and throttle and move the control handle to the full choke (i.e., full) position.
  2. Firmly squeeze the capsule (if applicable) 2-3 times. Refueling is not possible, as excess fuel simply returns to the fuel tank.
  3. Place the saw on the ground. With a firm grip (i.e., left hand on the top handle and foot through the rear handle), pull the starter rope 3-4 times or until you hear the engine “fire”. Note: With the choke fully open, do not pull the starter rope more than 3-4 times to prevent the engine from loosening.
  4. After the saw catches fire, move the choke to the half choke position and stop. The saw should now start working after 3 or 4 moves.
  5. At the first touch of the throttle trigger, the choke automatically moves to the fully open position and the engine idles.


When the engine is warm, it is not necessary to start the engine with the choke fully open. Instead, just move the choke to the half-closed position before stopping.

Learn the detailed how to store chainsaw here.


Why can’t I start my STIHL chainsaw?

The spark plug may be defective and must be replaced. If your chainsaw has a bad spark plug, it will not be able to generate electricity to ignite the system. Remove the spark plug and check if it is dirty, cracked, eroded, or damaged. Excessive carbon build-up or a burned electrode may also result.

Why are STIHL so hard to start?

STIHL chainsaws are sometimes difficult to start. That is normal. Occasionally check the STIHL spark plug for dirt, and remove and clean with a tool kit. Also, check the gap time between the electrodes.

What is the symbol of rest?

On STIHL chainsaws, the choke position is indicated by a nearly horizontal wavy line between two vertical lines at the lowest position on the main control lever. The choke position on STIHL chainsaws is often referred to as the cold start position.


We hope this article will help you. If you run into problems, don’t worry, keep practicing. Since it is not very difficult, you just have to follow all the steps and do your best.

Read also: How easy is it to chainsaw carb adjustments?

Serg Cooper
( 1 assessment, average 5 from 5 )
Choose your best chainsaw
Comments: 1
  1. Paul Oliver

    STIHL is one of the best chainsaw brands available in the market today. I am very glad that I have it. :idea:

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