How to Test Your Car’s Starter and Solenoid Assembly

How to Test Your Car’s Starter and Solenoid Assembly

100 thoughts on “How to Test Your Car’s Starter and Solenoid Assembly

  • Is the S post the same as a starter that has an electrical harness hook up that has no S post?
    Awesome video. Thanks a lot.

  • My starter works sometimes and sometimes in doesnt. I took it out and tested it and the gear pops forward but not as strong as the one on your video. SHould i replace the solenoid?

  • I have no crank no start and I do this with the starter on my truck to start it with a long screwdriver that means the starter is good right? I'm assuming the contacts could be corroded or anything in the circuit from the relay and back?

  • thanks for the video. it helped me to determine if my starter was bad or not. which in this case it wasnt. save a few dollars.

  • 94 bronco 5.8 – three starters,new relay,it won't crank. Last starter worked twice then just clicks at the solenoid. All wires,connections and cables test good. Ring gear good. Could 3 in a row be a defective product line? Mfg. in china!

  • I have a 02 chevy cavalier that want turn over when I turn it to the on position the lights go out I jumped my starter with screw driver does that mean I have a bad starter?

  • Thank you! I really didn't want to take this in to the auto parts store to get tested, and I'll admit, i jumped when the solenoid sparked, but then i did a happy dance because nothing happened! And by that, i mean, my solenoid is bad, it popped and sparked, but that's it, not a thing from the starter

  • Dude great video saved me a trip to auto parts store and stopped my wallet from bleeding .i especial appreciate the remark to clean starter contacts if it donโ€™t work .my Silverado was come and go no start no click .chased all suggested areas in video .tested with multi meter and someone turning key all voltage was correct .removed starter and wouldnโ€™t fire with jump pack .cleaned all posts and it worked again .thanks for great video it helped me greatly .keep the great vids coming

  • Just used this video today to help my friend out with his Subaru! Saved him some cash because the starter was still good! Thank You!

  • all good except your explanation of the solenoid it does not control the bendix as you described, the bendix is pushed up by the spinning motion of the starter motor the solenoid only transfers the power to the motor from the battery if the solenoid is bad it will not spin the motor which in turn will not make the bendix gear pop out.

  • I want to add several things concerning the mechanism of the starter :
    – Starter terminals are usually named B terminal that gets power from battery, S terminal which is powered from ignition switch and M terminal which goes to internal circuit of the starter motor.
    – Beside two coil windings, inside the solenoid house, there is a plunger that is attached to the drive assembly through a shift fork lever. There is a contact plate which serves to make contact between B terminal and M terminal.
    When the solenoid is energized through its S terminal, the resulting magnetic field will pull the plunger. This motion of the plunger causes two things :
    – the contact plate moves to make contact between B and M terminals, hence powering the starter motor.
    – at the same time, it causes, through the shift lever, the starter drive to move into mesh with the flywheel ring gear.

    So, if the starter drive only spins but doesn't move out, there are some possibilities :
    – solenoid windings are not good enough to move the starter drive
    – the plunger and/or shift lever don't function properly

    A cable between M terminal to internal circuit of the starter motor seems to be rather difficult to check on board, since it's short to inspect, but it's vital too. If it's bad, we will often only hear "Click" sound when trying to start our car.

  • When i connect my jumpers to test my starter it starts spinning right away when i connect the negative to ground my starter. It spins but does not come out without connecting the positive lead to the third outpost on the solenoid. Whats this mean?

  • Another way before removing starter is to connect bulb to the ground and between the terminal where 12V appears when you turn the key.
    When bulb comes on when you turn the key then it means the starter is getting power. So you can take out starter.
    If bulb doesnt come on then first deal with getting back the power to the starter, before removing starter

  • Can I wire a momentary switch between the ignition switch and the solenoid to act as some kind anti theft? Would that work?

  • Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!! my starter motor is shooting out the pin but won't spin. You've answered in detail, thank you.

  • I pulled my starter and did this battery test with it and mine didn't spin or move forward.. I'm guessing mine is just completely shot. Awesome video though man

  • Thank you for this film. I just recently subscribed to you're channel, you've helped me this starter- solenoid problem, and I learned from you to check my relays from you're great video's. I'm just learning DIY'er. Thank you again, I've been at this learning 2&1/2 year's now, still a beginner, can't afford to pay others to do work, so learning to do work myself. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘thanks again sir.

  • If the bendix pops out but doesn't spin, it means the solenoid contacts are bad (contrary to what the movie states). The starter would actually most likely be good because the pull in coil needs a ground through the armature, then the ground brushes to complete the circuit. Meaning that the armature and brushes are functional.
    If you remove the solenoid from the starter, and try to electro magnetically pull in the plunger ass'y, you have to ground the motor terminal (the one that the starter lead wire is attached to). If you try to just ground the case and apply voltage to the spade terminal the plunger won't pull in. Try it on any starter, any make.

  • Some starters have internal solenoids with the hot 12v wire post being made of cheap plastic that deteriorates and breaks when you try to remove it..enjoy.

  • Thanks for this video. Solenoids can be purchased for anywhere from 15-30 dollars. Most starter failures can be narrowed down to a bad solenoid and crud build up on the shaft causing the pinion to stick.

  • I replaced the starter 96 Honda Accord, it worked for 4 days and then started acting up. So I have to Tapp it with a piece of wood and then it will start. It does that one time in the morning only, once it starts once in the morning it will start OK for the rest of the day.
    Any ideas ? Anybody? โ˜บ

  • I did this test on my starter and nothing happened. The gear didn't spin or engage. This actually drained my test battery down some from about 13v to 11.5v I was able to see this since my jumper cables have a digital voltage reader attached. Anyone ever heard of this? Anyway the video is great

  • i just installed a new starter to my 4 runner it started one time and after that nothing just one click. also just put in ignition switch and relay . retested the starter . Ive checked every thing any ideas. HELP

  • Hi

    I like your videos! I just took off the starter from my 2003 XC90 Diesel. The car had a hard time to start and stalled/cut out the starting. Other than that runs good. The starter motor and the solenoid worked in the test. I cleaned the conectors and put it back. I think my battery is crap. its was made 4 years ago. what else can it be?

    Happy new year!

    Best regards,

  • I tried this and got zapped. Can you please provide me with your address so that I can file appropriate suit? Thanks, man.

  • There something else that its needed to add. In this test your battery can explode! It happened to me long time ago.

  • OOOKaaay, thanks for doing this video. I went to the Local Auto Zone and one person said it was not working properly after testing, then went local Advance Auto parts and one said it was spinning but the plunger not engaging. Then went to another AZ and it said it was dead , now mind you this was the first place I wen to, so I went back again and they again said it's dead. So I saw your video hooked it up and it works flawlessly! The motor engages, the plunger engages perfect… I normally like the AZ and Advance places but because of your video I was able to verify the starter is working as needed and did not get poked in the eye to the tune of a $180 for a new one.. Thanks Man, just like when you did you're 1.8T timing chain Vid, you saved the day.

  • Thank you for the help, I think solenoid is OK, but starter is gone. Tried your battery tip while on the tractor and all I got was clicking.

  • Great video. I took mine out and tested it like you said and it works fine but when it's in the car, nothing. My battery is fairly new so just wondering if you have anything else to try. Much appreciated.

  • First lead bolt is getting constant 12V from battery (12.8 actually) so good checks out!

    I then have friend turn the key and the second bolt (from the ignition switch) is only reading 10.4V, is that my issue? Ignition switch/relay not full voltage?

    Third bolt that attaches directly from solenoid to starter ..picking up/sending nothing! Bad new solenoid i got from factory? Or is that simply the result of only the 10.4 being sent in voltage at 2nd bolt? HELP!!!!

  • question the main 12v power that comes from the power loom copper rod is broken any way to replace that part of the solenoid

  • Ok I'm having a problem with my 03 suburban. There's a screeching noise coming from the bottom of my truck and it's not the belt. I've been told that it's my starter not working properly. They say that the gear comes out to spin my flywheel but it doesn't go back all the way causing the screeching noise. Is that common? If not, I don't know what else it could be. Help me!

  • Let me tell you, if you have already taken the starter out of the car it would advantageous to know already that the starter is bad.

  • What if my starter only has a single bolt and the plug? Do I put the positive cable on the bolt? I put the negative in the same place you did. The starter I have goes into a 1UZFE (SC400/LS400).

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