How to Start a Makita Chainsaw? Detailed Steps for 2024

how to start a makita chainsaw
Operating a chainsaw can be a dangerous endeavor if proper technique and safety precautions are not followed. As someone who regularly uses chainsaws for yardwork and home projects, I recognize the importance of fully understanding how to properly start and handle these power tools. In this guide, I’ll share my knowledge on starting specific Makita chainsaw models to help ensure you safely and effectively operate your equipment. By reviewing the starting procedures and maintenance tips outlined here, you’ll gain the confidence to start your Makita chainsaw like a pro. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details so you can get out there and take care of business!

How to Start a Makita Chainsaw?

How to Start a Makita Chainsaw? Before pulling the starter cord and bringing your Makita chainsaw roaring to life, there are a few key steps to take in preparation. Don’t skip these pre-start checks and procedures—proper chainsaw operation begins even before the engine ignites.

Preparing the Chainsaw

The first order of business is assembling your saw and verifying all components are functioning properly. Review the instruction manual to ensure the bar and chain are properly installed and adjusted to the correct tension. Double check that all guards and covers are securely in place. Once the saw is fully assembled, visually inspect for any loose or damaged parts before fueling. When adding fuel, be sure to maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from the fueling area to where you’ll be starting the saw. I like to set up a dedicated fueling station away from my house or garage to prevent any accidental spills or vapors from accumulating indoors. Before starting the engine, place the chainsaw on a flat, firm surface with the guide bar and chain facing away from you and clear of any obstructions. You’ll have much better control holding the saw stationary on the ground rather than trying to balance it while pulling the starter cord.

Activating the Chain Brake

An important preliminary step is to engage the chain brake, which will prevent the chain from spinning when you start the engine. On most Makita models, the brake is activated by pushing the hand guard forward until you hear it click into the locked position. With the brake engaged, grip the front handle firmly with one hand while pressing the chainsaw into the ground with your other hand. This secures the saw and allows you to pull the starter with full force. Always brace the saw on the ground like this prior to starting rather than trying to hold and start it with one hand.
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Starting the Engine

Now for the fun part—bringing the chainsaw to life! The specific starting procedures vary slightly across Makita’s range of gas-powered and cordless electric saws, so consult your model’s manual for precise instructions. Here’s a quick rundown of the general starting steps:
  • Confirm the master control switch is in the “on” position.
  • Move the choke lever to the closed/start position. This provides a richer fuel mixture for cold starting.
  • With the saw braced firmly on the ground, grab the starter grip with your right hand. Pull the starter rope handle forcefully to crank the engine. Repeat until the saw starts.
  • Once the engine is running, slowly move the choke lever to the open/run position. Let the saw warm up for a minute or two.
  • Finally, disengage the chain brake and blip the throttle a few times before cutting. Be careful not to touch the chain as it will start spinning!
Follow this process whenever starting your Makita chainsaw, taking care to avoid contact with the guide bar and chain as they begin rotating at high speeds. Now let’s go over some maintenance practices to keep your saw running smoothly.

Chainsaw Maintenance

Like any power tool, proper maintenance and care is key to ensuring reliable chainsaw operation. Here are some tips on cleaning, lubrication, and troubleshooting to keep your Makita saw performing optimally.

Cleaning and Lubrication

Over time, dust, debris, and resin buildup can impede performance and clog components like the carburetor. It’s a good idea to clean your chainsaw after each use to prevent issues, especially when cutting in dusty or sappy environments. Use a small brush and air compressor to remove debris from the chain, guide bar, sprocket cover, and other areas. Lubricating the chain is another critical maintenance task. The chain spins at high speeds during operation, quickly wearing without proper oil. Regularly check the chain oil tank level and fill as needed with the specified bar and chain oil. You’ll extend the life of your chain and guide bar dramatically by maintaining proper lubrication.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Despite your best maintenance efforts, issues can occasionally arise with chainsaws. Here are some tips on diagnosing two common problems:

Chainsaw Not Starting

If your Makita chainsaw fails to start, the issue is likely a clogged carburetor or fouled spark plug. Try cleaning the carburetor jets and passages with carburetor cleaner spray and compressed air. Make sure the air filter is clean and securely seated. Check that fuel is flowing properly from the tank and that the spark plug is sparking. If the plug is fouled, replace it with a fresh one gapped to manufacturer specifications. An issue with the starter motor itself can also prevent starting. Check the starter assembly and onboard fuse. If those components are working properly but the saw still won’t start, take it to a Makita repair center for diagnosis.
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Chainsaw Stops When Cutting

There’s nothing more frustrating than having your chainsaw sputter to a halt halfway through a cut. If this occurs with a cordless model, the most likely culprit is a depleted battery charge. Switch to a fully-juiced battery or connect the charger if an outlet is accessible. With gas chainsaws, the problem usually involves the chain brake. Ensure the brake is fully disengaged during cutting. Double check that the throttle trigger is moving freely and delivers full power. Finally, confirm the carburetor is adjusted properly and providing a consistent fuel mixture. Addressing these potential issues should get you back to sawing in no time.

Safety Tips

While a properly maintained chainsaw is designed for safe operation, it’s critical to exercise caution and employ safe handling techniques to prevent accidents. Here are a few key reminders:

Proper Handling

  • Always grip the front handlebar firmly with your dominant hand when operating the chainsaw. Support the rear handle with your non-dominant hand. Use two hands!
  • Maintain secure control of the saw at all times. Don’t let go unless the chain brake is engaged or the saw is powered off.
  • Keep your hands, arms, legs and body parts away from the spinning chain.
  • Operate the saw at full throttle during cutting. Don’t let the engine speed bog down.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Wear safety glasses or a face shield to protect your eyes from sawdust and debris.
  • Use ear plugs or noise-reduction muffs to prevent hearing damage from prolonged exposure to a running chainsaw. That engine noise can be deafening!
  • Protect your hands with heavy-duty gloves designed for use with chainsaws. They defend against both the chain and vibration.
  • For your feet, wear sturdy boots with non-slip soles to ensure stable footing. Steel-toed boots provide extra protection as well.
Stay safe out there by utilizing proper starting procedures, handling techniques, and protective gear. Memorize these tips and please reference this guide next time you need to start your Makita chainsaw. Here’s wishing you many smooth cuts ahead!

What Steps Should I Follow to Start a Flooded Makita Chainsaw?

To start a flooded chainsaw, follow a few steps. Firstly, set the saw on a flat surface and engage the chain brake. Next, fully open the throttle and set the choke to the start position. Pull the starter cord several times until the engine starts. Then, move the choke to the run position and let the chainsaw warm up before use.


Starting and operating a chainsaw is a specialized skill requiring knowledge, maintenance, and safety awareness. In this guide, I outlined the step-by-step process for starting Makita chainsaw models to help ensure you properly fire up the engine and handle the saw. We also reviewed essential maintenance practices and troubleshooting advice to keep your equipment running smoothly for the long haul. While a powerful tool, chainsaws must be treated with caution and respect. I hope the safety tips provided here will stick with you next time you pick up that starting grip. Remember—take it slow, follow start-up procedures, and wear protective gear. Do this, and you’ll be ready to take on any chainsawing challenge! If questions arise along the way, feel free to reference this comprehensive guide. Here’s to mastering your Makita chainsaw!
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What are some common Makita cordless chainsaw problems?

The most frequent issues with Makita cordless chainsaws involve the battery and chain. Problems include the saw failing to start due to a depleted or defective battery, the chain not oiling properly, the chain loosening over time, and excessive vibration during cutting. Checking chain tension, lubrication, and battery charge can remedy many of these common problems.

How do I maintain my Makita chainsaw?

To maintain optimal performance, regularly clean your Makita chainsaw to remove built-up debris. Check that the chain is getting proper lubrication and tension. Inspect the spark plug and air filter on gas models, changing them when worn or dirty. Sharpen or replace the chain as needed. Follow all maintenance directives in the owner’s manual.

Are Makita chainsaws suitable for professional use?

Yes, Makita chainsaws are designed and built to withstand the frequent use required of professional landscapers, arborists, and forestry workers. Both their gas and cordless models offer the power, reliability, and durability required for daily professional use. Many professionals rely on Makita saws for their performance and safety features.

How do I troubleshoot my Makita chainsaw if it’s not starting?

First, try cleaning or replacing the air filter and spark plug. Check that fuel is reaching the carburetor. If it’s a cordless model, ensure the battery is adequately charged. For gas models, you may need to clean the carburetor jets if they are clogged. Consult your owner’s manual for further troubleshooting tips if the saw still won’t start.

What safety gear should I wear when operating a Makita chainsaw?

Always wear eye protection, thick gloves, steel-toed boots, long pants, and hearing protection when running a Makita chainsaw. Heavy-duty chainsaw chaps provide an extra layer of protection for your legs. A helmet with face shield is also recommended to protect against falling branches.

How do I ensure proper lubrication of my Makita chainsaw’s chain and bar?

Check the chain oil tank level regularly and fill as needed with the manufacturer recommended bar and chain oil. Oil holes along the guide bar must be clear of debris. Adjust oil flow as needed via the screw on the bottom of the tank. Inspect the chain for adequate lubrication before each use.

How can I prevent my Makita chainsaw from stopping while cutting?

For cordless saws, ensure your battery is fully charged. With gas models, check that the fuel tank has adequate fuel mixed with 2-cycle engine oil. Make sure the choke is open, air filter is clean, and carburetor adjusted properly during cutting. Confirm the chain brake is disengaged. Maintaining proper tension on the chain can also prevent stall-outs.  

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