The starter solenoid in your vehicle is the switch that supplies power from the battery to the starter motor, which turns the engine over and starts your vehicle.
When the solenoid goes out, you cannot start your car and are usually stranded.
Solenoids are not difficult to install, but if your car won’t start, you need a way to start the truck once to get to the store.
This is a dangerous procedure and will cause a crash – but if you have to do it, it can be done.
How to check for a faulty solenoid
If the starter solenoid is damaged or has reached the end of its service life, the engine will not start when the key is turned.
It is likely that electricity will not reach the solenoid and the electromagnetic field that will allow the engine to wake up will not be produced.
If this occurs, it is important to rule out that it is not caused by a battery with a low state of charge, otherwise, it would be sufficient to jump start the car battery with cables.
To rule out a malfunction of the solenoid we can carry out the following test:
To check that it is working we must use battery clamps, locate the starter motor and the solenoid itself, which is usually located on it. The negative clamp should be placed on the starter motor housing while the positive clamp should lightly touch the positive terminal of the solenoid. The idea is to simulate what would happen when the ignition key is turned on.
If there is electricity flow, the engine will start. If the solenoid does its job when we do this test, but not when the ignition key is turned, the problem most likely lies in the cylinder or internal wiring. In some vehicles, when the key is turned, a sound similar to that of a “grinder” can be perceived, something not suitable for squeamish people. This is a symptom that the starter motor is turning, but the solenoid is not working. Certainly what we hear is the solenoid running at idle.
What is a soneloid?
A soneloid is an electromechanical valve used to control the flow of liquid or gas.
In a car, solenoids are present in many major parts, such as injectors or the starter motor. It is worth describing that the generic name is often used to refer to the starter solenoid, also known by other names such as contactor, automatic, traction relay, traction solenoid or starter relay.
The solenoid usually refers to the one above the starter motor. The threaded terminal is located at one end where it connects to the battery via a highly reinforced cable. On the other side of the solenoid coil, a joint inside the housing would hook the visible pinion to the starter motor itself.
Process for jumping the solenoid:
Lift the hood and locate the starter solenoid. It’s typically in the vehicle’s fender well, near the battery.
Take the screwdriver out and touch the metal end to the post that leads to the input, opposite the one that leads to the battery. You will turn the screwdriver into a manual switch, bypassing the solenoid in the process.
Drop the other end of the screwdriver down, touching the metal on the solenoid shaft to both terminals of the solenoid valve. At the same time, have your assistant turn the ignition to start the vehicle. This will cause a lot of sparking and could pass electrical current through your body if you are not using a rubber-handled screwdriver, so be careful and do not touch the connections for too long.
Quickly remove the screwdriver from the solenoid. If left too long, it can arc weld itself to both terminals, which is a bad thing. At this point, the vehicle should be running. If not, repeat the process.
Tips and Warnings
By jumping your starter solenoid, you are turning the screwdriver or other metal object into a manual switch. If you are not careful, you can turn your body into the conduit as well. Also, if you don’t get the screwdriver out of the contacts soon enough, you can burn out the starter motor. This is a dangerous procedure, so don’t do it unless absolutely necessary to start the vehicle.