6 Probable Causes Why Stihl MS180C Won’t Start

Picked up your chainsaw after a long time only to find it won’t start? We know exactly how frustrating it is. All you can think about is what went wrong. 

So, maybe you are wondering why your stihl ms180c won’t start?

The most common reason is that you have low-quality fuel. But this also can be caused by a defective spark plug, ignition coil, recoil starter. All of these need to be checked and replaced. A clogged carburetor or flooded chainsaw engine can also cause this issue. In that case, they need to be cleaned thoroughly.

That was only the overview of the discussion. We have the explained version of these reasons and their solution. 

So, let’s dive right in!

6 Probable Causes Behind Stihl MS180C Not Starting

Chainsaws can be really tricky while switching on. Usually, outdated models face this problem. Through tear and wear, a chainsaw can become weak.

However, there might be other causes for which it might cease to start. Let’s discuss some of them and find the solutions-

Cause 1: Deteriorated Fuel

This is the most common reason for your chainsaw not starting. If the quality of the fuel is not good enough, your chainsaw may not work.

Gasoline will get worse if left in the tank for a long time. It can lose quality with time. So, if you haven’t used the machine recently, it might not start when you try to use the machine.


Always check the fuel tank first before starting your chainsaw. If the fuel inside is too old, drain it all. After that, clean the whole tank and fill it with fresh fuel. 

Also, try not to keep the fuel inside after you use the chainsaw. Only fill the tank before use.

Cause 2: Defective Spark Plug

The spark plug ignites the system. It creates sparks to ignite the fuel and air mixture inside the combustion chamber. The explosion powers the piston and the engine works.

But a defective spark plug can’t do any of this. As a result, the chainsaw might not start.


Firstly, you need to remove the spark plug. Then check if it’s grimy, rusty, broken, or damaged. After that, check if it has a heavy carbon buildup. Lastly, look for any burnt electrodes.

If your spark plug has any of this or multiple issues, you must replace it. Also, if that spark plug is really old, replace it with a new one.

Cause 3: Clogged Carburetor

The carburetor of a chainsaw mixes the fuel and air. It starts the internal combustion engine. It can become clogged for keeping fuel inside the engine for too long. 

This might result in the internal combustion engine not starting. Rendering the chainsaw useless.


First, check if the carburetor has a minor or a major clogging issue. According to your observation, there are two solutions to this problem.

For minor clogging, extract the fuel. Then spray it with a special cleaning solution. Finally, take a dry piece of cloth to wipe it clean.

For major clogging, you might need to replace it. To check that, you need to remove the air filter. Then add a teaspoon of fuel inside it and pull the starter rope. If the engine starts for a moment and dies, your carburetor is faulty. 

As a result, you need to replace the faulty carburetor. While getting a new one, make sure you buy a compatible carburetor for your chainsaw.

Cause 4: Defective Ignition Coil

The voltage from the ignition coil creates the spark of the spark plug. If your spark plug is okay then check this for potential problems. 

If the engine is not starting, your ignition coil may be faulty. This can happen for frequent use over a long period.


Check the spark plug if it’s working properly. Then buy an ignition coil tester. Follow the user manual that’s provided by the manufacturer. If there is no spark while testing, you need to replace the coil.

Cause 5: Defective Recoil Starter

The starter rope is pulled up by the recoil starter. It engages the internal starting mechanism. Therefore, starting the chainsaw’s engine. 

The recoil starter of your chainsaw can be defective or unassembled. As a result, the engine can’t initiate.


Remove the recoil starter from the chainsaw and inspect thoroughly. The pulley system can be displaced or stuck. If that happens, place the pulley system properly back to its position.

After that, check the rewind spring. If the cord doesn’t retract after the initial pull,  there must be an issue with it. You can replace the rewind spring separately on some chainsaws.

If trying these doesn’t fix your problem, replace the whole recoil starter.

Cause 6: Flooded Chainsaw Engine with Fuel

The most common issue behind a chainsaw not starting is a fuel issue. Trying to start the chainsaw from the recoil starter frequently floods the engine.

Check for gasoline smell in the air. This indicates engine flooding with fuel.


Fixing this problem is easy. 

First, hold the throttle and try pulling the starter cord. Then replace the spark plug after drying it. Finally, try to start the chainsaw again.

That was all we could provide. But, if you still can’t start your chainsaw, take it to a specialist.


What precautions do I need before troubleshooting?

You should keep in mind that your chainsaw can start at any time. So, always keep your distance from people and structures. Wear protective tight clothes.

What do the H and L screws mean on a carburetor?

Here, the H or ‘High’ screw regulates the air/fuel mixture at higher rpm. On the other hand, the L or ‘Low’ screw regulates the air/fuel mixture at lower rpm.

Can you clean a chainsaw carburetor without removing it?

No, you can’t. You must remove it from the chainsaw to clean it. As the part which might be clogged can not be seen from outside.

Ending Note

This is where we part ways. That was all we could gather on why stihl ms180c won’t start.

We hope we could help you with our suggestions. We wish you good luck in fixing your chainsaw.

Good luck!

Similar Posts