Why is my Chainsaw Hard to Pull – Causes and Fixes

Well, there could be multiple problems associated with your chainsaw which might be easy to solve or you may need to seek the help of a mechanic. Sometimes, you may find it hard to pull the rope attached to the chainsaw – as a result, your chainsaw wouldn’t start; this is among the most common problems that your experience while working with your chainsaw.

The starter cord of the chainsaw gets harder with time, and it becomes difficult to pull and start it. If you are facing such problems with your chainsaw, it is time to look into the matter and solve it as soon as possible.

Why is my Chainsaw Hard to Pull

Before I start listing possible causes of hard chainsaw cord, I will recommend you to check if your chainsaw has a decompression valve or not. If there is a decompression valve, make sure that it is working well, if there is no decompression valve, you can simply troubleshoot the problem considering the following points;

Why is my Chainsaw Hard to Start – All Possible Causes

Being an experienced chainsaw user, I have noted that the rope would get hard with time, and it will become difficult for users to pull and start it. Most of the time, it happens due to some common problems, however, I am here to discuss common as well as advanced problems which contribute to hardening the cord;

1. Check the Exhaust System

The very first step you should take is to consider the malfunctioning associated with the spark plug. You need to detach the spark plug and pull the rope. If pulling the rope is easier now without the spark plug, and no fuel comes out of the hole of the spark plug, you are doing it right.

When you are able to pull the rope easily when the plug is removed, it indicates that the pistons in the cylinders are in a fine position, and the bearings are also working well; in short, it eliminates the threat of any massive problem. Now, upon installing the spark plug, if the problem remains the same, it highlights the problem associated with the exhaust system.

It usually happens when the exhaust is not open for the gasses to flow out; as a result, the cord becomes hard to pull. You can clean the passage of exhaust and give your chainsaw one more try.

2. Check the Air Filters

Chainsaw will not start unless the engine gets an appropriate mixture of air and fuel. But it becomes nearly impossible for the engine to have the required amount of air and fuel when the air filter is clogged. The required amount of air will not be able to pass through the filter, and combustion will not start in the internal combustion chamber.

So, if your chainsaw is not starting, you should get the filter out of the chainsaw, and check if it is in working condition or not. If the filter is clogged with dust particles, you can clean it following the instructions given in the user manual of that specific chainsaw.

Clean the filter thoroughly, and reinstall it again. Hopefully, you will be able to start your chainsaw in the initial attempts.

3. Check the Pulley System

The pulley system is very important to check because it takes the starter rope back. A broken pulley system will make it difficult for the user to pull the rope, or you may not be able to pull it. Technically, two points are important to check to ascertain the functionality of the pulley system.

The first point is the pulley itself; analyze the pulley properly, it may be broken at some point resisting the free movement of the rope on it. If this is the scenario, you should change the pulley to ensure the free and easy movement of the rope on it.

Secondly, the functionality of the spring must be checked. Spring plays a fundamental role in the rotation of the pulley – and if it is not in good condition, it will deteriorate the overall working process. check the tension in spring; if it is lesser than required, you should change the spring.

4. Ensure the Use of Fresh Fuel

This is a very important factor that is usually missed by users; if the fuel in your chainsaw is not fresh, it will certainly not start or work properly. If your chainsaw is giving you a tough time, you should check the fuel in it. Sometimes, users store chainsaws without emptying the carburetor, and when they intend to use it again, it does not start.

The old gasoline in the chainsaw starts evaporating with time leaving behind some harmful contaminations that deteriorate the performance of the chainsaw. These contaminations are present in the form of scaling in the carburetor causing a low in its efficiency.

5. Check the Ignition Coil

The ignition coil is located next to the carburetor in your chainsaw. It can certainly be a reason why you are finding it hard to start your chainsaw. The ignition coil is responsible for providing the required voltage to initiate the spark – sometimes, the ignition coil does not work properly, and it becomes very hard to start your chainsaw.

Take an ignition coil tester and check if that is working properly or not. if you notice malfunctioning in the ignition coil, you have no other option except to replace that ignition coil with a new one.

6. Check the Spark Plug

The spark plug is a fundamental component of the chainsaw which directly affects its efficiency. If you are unable to start your chainsaw even after multiple attempts, you should check its spark plug. Get the spark plug out of its setting, and check if the rod has some sort of sooty deposits on it or not.

If there are sooty deposits, it indicates a problem with the spark plug. In this situation, the only solution is to replace the spark plug with a new one. To add to the life of the spark plug of your chainsaw, it is recommended to get the plug out when it comes to storing your chainsaw.


Similar to any other machine or power tool, chainsaw also has their limitations – however, these limitations can massively be minimized following the required procedure. Here in the afore-mentioned paragraphs, I have added a detailed about hard to pull chainsaw. These are the top reasons that make it hard for you to start your chainsaw.

Therefore, if your chainsaw is not starting or you are finding it hard to start, you should check your chainsaw in the light of narrated factors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What makes chainsaw hard to pull?

There can be a number of reasons that can make your chainsaw hard to pull. But the most annoying reason is to have a damaged or broken pulley system which makes it almost impossible to pull the cord. Other possible problems include; clogged filters, poor exhaust system, bad spark plug and etc.

Q2. How to make a chainsaw pull easier?

The use of the proper amount of lubrication can be a quick answer to this question. But for prolonged ease, it is recommended to take care of the pulley system, spark plug, and cleanliness of the air filter and exhaust system. Paying heed to all these factors will not only make your chainsaw easier to pull, but it will also improve the efficiency of the chainsaw.

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