Bad Jumping Starter Solenoid: Symptoms, Causes & Fix

Starting a vehicle usually requires turning the ignition switch. This activates the starter motor which needs a burst of electricity. This is provided by a starter solenoid.

If it does nothing when you start your vehicle, here are some tips.

The starter solenoid is like an electromagnet. It uses current from the battery to complete the circuit with the starter motor. This allows it to spin and start the engine. If it is not working, you can ‘jump‘ it. You need two cables and another vehicle with an operable battery. Make sure both batteries are charged, and connect one end of each cable to their respective batteries.

Then, touch (but don’t attach) one end of each cable together – only once both connections are made. Connect the remaining cable ends onto the solenoid terminals. Leave it for 10 seconds and then disconnect them, completing the ‘jump‘ process. This should bring your dead starter system back to life!

Symptoms of a Bad Starter Solenoid

A bad starter solenoid? Could be causing trouble with your car’s starting. Here are some signs to watch out for. Knowing could help you take action if needed.

Let’s look at the most common symptoms of a bad starter solenoid:

  • The starter motor is running but the engine won’t start.
  • The starter motor is running but the engine won’t turn over.
  • The starter motor is not running.
  • The starter motor is making a clicking sound.
  • The starter motor is making a grinding noise.

Clicking Noise

A clicking noise when you turn the key in your ignition can mean the starter solenoid is faulty. To check, unplug the wires and make sure they’re fastened tight. Rust on the terminals? Clean them with contact cleaner or sandpaper. If the problem’s not fixed, you’ll need to replace the solenoid.

No Cranking

A bad starter solenoid may cause various symptoms. If the vehicle won’t start, you hear clicking or repositioning, or the headlights dim when you try to start it, then it is likely a starter system issue.

Another symptom of a bad solenoid is slow cranking or no start. This is likely due to corrosion on the terminals that prevents power from reaching it. If left for too long, it can damage the starter and battery.

Loud sounds such as grinding when trying to start can mean there are issues with wiring or internal components in the solenoid wearing down. Get professional help if these symptoms persist and have your car inspected regularly.

No Start

A starter solenoid failure can lead to a ‘no start’ situation. This means the car won’t start or turn over. It could be due to multiple factors. If you hear clicking noises when starting, it’s likely a bad solenoid. It regulates the power from the battery to spin the flywheel and start the engine.

Other signs of a bad starter solenoid are grinding noises from the engine, slow starts, or erratic behaviour (e.g. just clicking). If backup lights, A/C, or airbags don’t work, it could be an issue with the starter motor and wiring. To diagnose it, turn off all accessories and check if the ‘no start’ persists.

Causes of a Bad Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid is an electric part. It engages the starter motor when you turn the key in the ignition. If the solenoid isn’t working, your car won’t start.

Let’s go over some reasons why it might be bad:

  • Worn contacts
  • Faulty wiring
  • Loose connections
  • Corroded terminals
  • Malfunctioning relay


Corrosion is a major reason for bad starter solenoids. It happens when metal parts get exposed to air and moisture. Age, weathering and poor maintenance can cause corrosion. Certain chemicals can corrode metal too.

To prevent corrosion, inspect the starter solenoid regularly. Clean it off with a wire brush and solvent if needed. Check for loose wires or terminals that could cause an electrical short. This will help extend the life of your starter solenoid.

Loose Connections

Starter solenoid issues often come from corroded or loose connections. Disconnected, dirty, or damaged cables can cause a bad starter solenoid. To prevent this, check the wiring harnesses and connectors on the alternator, starter, and battery. Loose connections with improperly joined terminals often spark and create electrical shorts.

For everything to work as it should, ensure all wiring is tight and secure.

Worn Out Parts

The starter solenoid is in charge of connecting the car battery to its starter motor circuit when starting the engine. If the solenoid isn’t working well, it could be due to worn out parts. These parts, like contacts, plunger, control coil, and springs, can get worn out from long-term use or age.

This might cause a slow or no start situation when attempting to start the car. Other indications could be a clicking noise when turning on the ignition key, or difficulty returning to “on” after cranking. There may also be no power coming from the starter solenoid when tested with a voltmeter.

To fix this, it is necessary to replace these parts. This will make sure your starter solenoid works properly, and your car’s starters system functions optimally.

How to Test a Starter Solenoid

Testing a starter solenoid is vital to diagnose car issues. It’s simple and easy to do with some tools and a few steps. Here, we’ll explain the steps for testing a starter solenoid. Plus, we’ll discuss why the solenoid may not be working properly.

Check the Battery Voltage

Test the voltage of your battery. It should be 12V or higher. If it’s lower, your battery isn’t properly charged. This can be mistaken for a bad solenoid.

Use a digital multimeter. Turn off your vehicle. Connect the black lead to the negative terminal. Set to measure DC voltage. Connect the red lead to the positive terminal. Take note of your reading. If it’s less than 12V, charge or replace your battery.

Check the Voltage at the Starter

Testing the voltage of the starter is key when troubleshooting a starter solenoid that isn’t engaging correctly. Use a manual or digital multimeter to measure the voltage. Connect the positive and negative leads of your multimeter to the battery terminals. Check the service manual for instructions and expected readings.

Switch the multimeter to ‘AC Volts’ or ‘DC Volts’ mode, and set the range to 10V or higher. Carefully touch one of the meter probes to one of the starter solenoid’s power terminals (usually from AUX or S terminal). Touch the other probe/test lead on a good vehicle ground point, such as the battery negative post, engine block, or chassis ground (frame). If the reading is lower than 8-10V AC/DC, verify all connections before proceeding.

Check the Voltage at the Solenoid

Use a multi-meter to measure the voltage between the battery terminal and the solenoid. It should read over 10 volts DC with all accessories off. If it isn’t, it could be bad wiring, the battery, or the charging system. Also, check the starter switch – this can reduce voltage at the solenoid.

Next, use the multi-meter to check for continuity between ground and each pin on the solenoid. This will show if there are any shorts, breaks, or corrosion in the wires.

How to Replace a Starter Solenoid

It’s time to replace the starter solenoid if it’s not working. It’s a switch that sends electricity from the battery to the starter motor. Replacing the solenoid is simple.

Here are the steps:

  1. Get the replacement solenoid.
  2. Disconnect the battery and the starter motor.
  3. Unscrew the old solenoid and take it out.
  4. Put in the new solenoid, and screw it in securely.
  5. Reconnect the battery and starter motor.
  6. Test the car to see if the new starter solenoid is working.

Disconnect the Battery

Before you start your starter solenoid, disconnect the negative cable from the battery. This prevents electric shocks and shorting out the electrical system. Use a socket wrench instead of pliers. Loosen both cables from their terminals before disconnecting. Be careful that neither cable’s terminal touches any connected wire or metal surface.

Remove the Old Solenoid

Before you install the new starter solenoid, you’ll need to remove the old one. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery first. This is vital to prevent electric surges that could harm electronic components or you.

Locate the starter solenoid, which is usually near or on the starter motor. Unplug all wires and use a screwdriver/wrench to remove it. Note any shims behind the solenoid; they need to be replaced for the new solenoid to fit securely.

If there are several mounting bolts, have a mirror handy as they may be hidden. Once all screws/bolts are off, take out the old solenoid and install a new one.

Install the New Solenoid

Take out the old starter solenoid. Slip in the new one. Make sure all connections are tight. Check your car’s manual for directions on how to hook up the battery, ignition wire and other pieces.

Link the ground wire from the starter to one terminal of the new solenoid. Connect the car’s hot wire from the fuse box or battery to another terminal. Crimp connectors (in the kit) or electrical tape should do the job.

Hang a short grounding strap between both main terminals on the starter solenoid. Lastly, connect a jumper wire between positive and negative posts at one side of the controller box near the starter motor. This will turn on your vehicle’s electrical system when you twist the ignition key or jump start it with another car’s battery power.


Finishing up, if your jump starter solenoid is not working, there could be several issues. From low voltage in the battery to the ignition switch, and even the starter relay or solenoid. Consider all possibilities before attempting any repairs.

For peace of mind, it’s best to get help from a professional mechanic or technician. This may save time and cash in the long run, depending on the problem and how it is fixed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is a jumping starter solenoid?

A1: A jumping starter solenoid is a device that helps to start the engine of a vehicle. It is connected to the ignition system and when the ignition key is turned, it creates a current that is sent to the starter motor, which in turn starts the engine.

Q2: What can cause a jumping starter solenoid to not work?

A2: A faulty solenoid can prevent the current from reaching the starter motor, which can cause the engine to not start. Other causes of a jumping starter solenoid not working could include a dead battery, a faulty ignition switch, or a broken wire in the ignition system.

Q3: How can I fix a jumping starter solenoid that does nothing?

A3: If the solenoid is not working, you should first check the battery to make sure it is charged. If the battery is good, then you should check the ignition switch, wires, and other components of the ignition system. If any of these components are faulty, they should be replaced. If the solenoid is the problem, then you will need to replace it.