Why Chainsaw Dies under Load and How to Fix It?

One of the most prevalent problems with chainsaws is that they die under load. This issue can put a stop to any woodworking endeavor in its tracks. In most cases, this problem may be remedied with a few simple steps.

But why chainsaw dies under load and how to fix it?

Sometimes when you start your chainsaw, it might start but then die. Clogged air filters and the wrong fuel mixture are two prominent causes of this problem. If your chainsaw has clogged air filters, you need to clean the air filter. Your chainsaw’s fuel mixture may also be wrong. If this is the case, follow the manual’s instructions to adjust the fuel mixture. Leakage in the carburetor might also cause this situation. 

For now, it’s only a teaser. To assist you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive overview in this post.

So, what are you looking for? Immerse yourself right away-

How to Fix Chainsaw that Dies Under Load? [Reasons with Solution]

Chainsaw shut-down can be caused by some different factors. One of the main reasons is not taking care of the chainsaw properly. If left uncared for a long time, you might be able to start the saw. But it will die within a few seconds to minutes.

Continue reading to find the most likely causes and solutions for this issue.

Reason 1: Dirty Air Filter

Check the air filter frequently to make sure it is not clogged with dirt and grime. Especially after a long period of heavy use, you should do that.

A dirty air filter may become clogged. Then it will not allow sufficient amounts of oxygen to enter the engine. And without the needed amount of oxygen, the engine might shut down right after starting. 

Solution: Clean Your Dirty Air Filter

Remove the carburetor cover first. You can do it by tightening the knob on the rear handle of your chain saw.

Then remove the air filter. Use a cloth to wipe away any dirt, sawdust, or other debris.

After removing it from the engine, use a firm surface to tap the filter. This will help remove any air clogs.

But remember one thing. You should never use a brush to clean an air filter. Because it can cause it to become clogged. Make sure you replace an old air filter that has holes or breaks.

In most cases, the air filter is made of either felt or nylon. One seems like cotton wool or synthetic. While the other appears to be a plastic case with nylon strands woven into it. You may just wash nylon in soapy water to get rid of the old felt.

This might fix your problem. But the issue might still be present after cleaning the air filter. In that case, you need to get it replaced. 

Reason 2: Wrong Fuel Mix

The wrong gas-to-oil ratio may be the cause of your chainsaw’s sluggish performance. To avoid poor chainsaw performance, it is essential to use the correct amount of gasoline. Make sure your oil and fuel are blended correctly before fiddling with the filters.

Assume the fuel quality is suitable if your chainsaw stalls for the first time. Because, if the cause is in the fuel, as previously stated, you may be bound to give for costly repairs. If not, you can still go ahead and do it.

Refilling a tank with new oil and gasoline mixtures is the first step in draining and filling the tank.

Solution: Correct the Fuel Mixture

Gas and oil ratios can be determined by determining the proper amount of gas to oil. The gas-to-oil ratios of most chainsaws are as follows:

  • 30:1
  • 40:1
  • 50:1

You may have already loaded your chainsaw with the wrong kind of fuel. If this happens, you’ll have to drain the old and add the new.

You should use mid-grade gasoline that has an octane of at least 89. Make sure you put the gas into the oil. Don’t go the other way around when preparing a chainsaw fuel mix.

Reason 3: Clogged Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor in a chainsaw is a tiny screen. This allows the engine to avoid emitting sparks. But with time, dirt and debris can enter into this spark arrestor. As a result, it gets clogged. 

When a spark arrestor is clogged, you’ll find your chainsaw run rough or die under load. 

Solution: Clean the Clogged Spark Arrestor

First, you should let the muffler fully cool down. Then remove the screw on the muffler and start cleaning the screen. By using a wire brush remove the carbon buildup and exhaust deposits. This way the airflow won’t be blocked anymore.

But the problem can be severe. For example, the mesh might be torn in the screen area. If that’s the case, you will need to replace the spark arresting screen. Make sure to get the best quality screen for the chainsaw.

Reason 4: Issues with the Carburetor

A chainsaw’s carburetor can malfunction while it’s running low on gas. The carburetor in the chainsaw’s engine can control how much fuel and oil are burned.

To maintain the chainsaw’s engine operating, the carburetor must be free of debris because debris impedes airflow through the carburetor.

Carburetor blockage can cause smoke from the tailpipe or overheat. As a result, the chainsaw will die under load.

Solution: Fix the Carburetor

An overheated or bogging chainsaw can be a sign of a carburetor problem. This requires immediate attention to avoid further engine damage.

Corroded carburetors can be cleaned with a carburetor cleaning solution. Improper tuning is one cause of a stuck chainsaw carburetor. Idle, low-speed, and high-speed carburetor screw adjustments are all methods of carburetor fine-tuning.

Chainsaw power decreases when the throttle is released if the idle screw is turned too low. To avoid bogging, lower-speed fuel-adjustment screws might reduce the fuel/air ratio.

 Reduce the high-speed fuel adjustment screw’s position to reduce low fuel richness. In the engine, all of these modifications optimize the air/fuel mix.

If these fail, get a professional to come out and fix the chainsaw. It’s not always as simple as we assume. So, there’s no need to be afraid.


When I put my chainsaw gas, why does it bog down?

You may be operating the saw at altitude. Also, the carburetor setting has slipped. The saw will not perform at high speeds if the air filter, spark arrestor, or carburetor are dusty. 

Why is my chainsaw constantly stalling?

Leaving fuel in the chainsaw for an extended amount of time can clog the carburetor. Some of the fuel’s constituents may evaporate over time, leaving behind a thicker, stickier material. The carburetor might become stopped with this damp fuel. 

Why will my chainsaw only operate if the choke is turned on?

If your chainsaw only runs when the choke is engaged, the problem is most likely with your carburetor. The engine will be starved of fuel and will not start if the carburetor is blocked. If the engine is clogged, the choke will pull more power through the idle circuit of the carburetor.


You may now know why chainsaw dies under load and how to fix it. We’ve talked here about the DIY way. 

However, you may not be able to accomplish this on your own. Be prepared to ask for help if necessary. That way, you’ll at least get your desired outcome.

Good luck with your effort!

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