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Starter Solenoid

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Have you ever started your car but the engine just won't switch on? You hear a slight click when you turn on the ignition, but that's it.the vehicle just won't start. But before you blame the ignition switch or the battery, take a closer look at other possible culprits. One of these could be a faulty starter solenoid, which is also referred to as a starter relay.

Signs that you need to replace the starter solenoid

Over time, this part becomes exposed to plenty of heat, friction, and electricity because its job is to transfer electricity from your car's battery to the starter. And once it nears the end of its lifespan, expect plenty of car problems. Fortunately, there are clues that will let you know that the solenoid's lifespan is almost at its end:

1. Corroded external contacts

Once the studs outside the starter solenoid get exposed to moisture, they will easily corrode. Small, rusty patches can still be removed by sanding them. But as for severe corrosion, you will have to get a replacement solenoid.

2. Faulty contact circuit

The contact circuit usually breaks due to old age as it can get burned out after years of exposure to high electric current. An obvious sign that you have a faulty contact circuit is if you hear a clicking sound whenever you try to start the car but fail to do so. In this case, you need to replace the solenoid.

3. Damaged energy circuit

Once the energizing circuit is damaged, any attempt to start the engine will definitely fail. The only option is to replace the relay.

4. Main contacts that are welded into a close position

Although rare, the main contacts of the solenoid could get welded into a close position. When this happens, the starter becomes continuously switched on, which could be a serious hazard. To get your car up and running again, you need to replace the busted solenoid.

Installing a replacement solenoid

When troubleshooting leads you to a severely worn-out solenoid, install a replacement as soon as possible. Here's how:

Instructions for a starter solenoid mounted on the starter:

  • Uninstall the starter.
  • Disconnect the field coil strap that's attached to the solenoid terminal.
  • Remove the bolts and screws to lift off the solenoid housing.
  • Depending on your car's make and model, you might have to rotate the housing or work the plunger's end off the starter shift lever in order to remove the cover.
  • Insert the new solenoid in place, taking note of how the plunger is attached to the original solenoid. Then tighten the screws to secure it in place.
  • Reinstall the starter and reattach all the wires and cables you've previously disconnected.
  • Instructions for a starter solenoid mounted on a panel:

  • Disconnect the battery and starter cables as well as the starter wires. Make sure to take note of their exact routes to make re-installation easy.
  • Unscrew the solenoid and pull it off.
  • Attach the new solenoid by screwing it in place. Then reconnect all the cables and wires you've uninstalled in the first step.