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Is Your Starter Solenoid Bad? 4 Telltale Signs That It Might Be!

Is Your Starter Solenoid Bad

Are you struggling to get your car to start right now? If the battery in your car is still fairly new, your car’s starter could very well be to blame. You might also want to consider the fact that you could have a bad starter solenoid on your hands. Your starter itself might be in decent enough shape, but if your starter solenoid is on the fritz, it’s going to cause complications when you go to start your car.

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The average person probably doesn’t know the first thing about starter solenoids and the role that they play in the overall well-being of a car. But you should familiarize yourself with what a starter solenoid is, how it works, and what some signs of a bad starter solenoid are. It’ll help you avoid driving around with a starter solenoid that’s on its last legs.


Discover more about starter solenoids below. You should be able to steer clear of having to deal with too many starter solenoid problems by educating yourself more about these important parts.

What Is a Starter Solenoid and What Does It Do?

As its name would suggest, the starter solenoid in your car is actually a part of your starter. It’s attached to your starter, and it acts as a switch that is designed to turn on your starter motor when you stick your car key into your ignition and turn it. It accepts a signal from your ignition, draws power from your car’s battery, and utilizes this power in order to turn your starter motor on, which is then able to help start up your engine.


Because it’s responsible for doing all this, your car’s starter solenoid is a very important component. If it suddenly stops working on you, you’re going to have a tough time getting your car to start. You’re also going to have a tough time keeping your starter as a whole in good working order. Your starter will pretty much be shot when your starter solenoid goes on you.


The good news is that you shouldn’t have to worry about your starter solenoid dying on you too often. It’s a fairly sturdy part that is made to last for as long as your starter does. But you’re still going to want to keep your eyes peeled for any potential signs of trouble with it.

How Long Does the Average Starter Solenoid Last?

As we just mentioned a moment ago, your car’s starter solenoid is designed to last for a long time. But as we also alluded to, it’s often subjected to pretty difficult conditions when you start up your car. There is a lot of power that passes through a starter solenoid when you go to start your car up, and that power can cause the contact for your starter solenoid to burn out before long.


Fortunately, you should be able to get more than 100,000 miles out of your starter solenoid before it breaks down on you. You might also get lucky and get even more life out of your starter solenoid than that. There are some people who are able to drive a car around until it dies without ever having to replace the starter solenoid. It all depends on what kind of car you have, what kind of conditions you drive it around in, and how you choose to maintain it.

What Are the Most Common Signs of a Bad Starter Solenoid?

Most car problems are going to force you to do some digging around to figure out what’s going on. A bad starter solenoid is not one of these problems! When you have a bad starter solenoid, it’s usually going to be pretty easy for you to tell thanks to the telltale signs that will come along with it. Continue reading to find out about four of the more obvious signs of a bad starter solenoid.

1. Your Car Makes a Clicking Sound When You Try to Start It

When you go to start up your car, does it make a “tick, tick, tick, tick” sound without doing anything else? This is sometimes a sign that your starter solenoid has gone bad on you.


When your car is making this kind of sound, it suggests that your starter solenoid is getting the power that it needs from your car battery. But it also suggests that the power that your car battery is providing to your starter solenoid isn’t making it all the way to your starter motor. It’s dying out in your starter solenoid because it has gone bad.


You’re not going to be able to start your engine up when this is the case. You’re going to have no choice but to have a mechanic check out your car to see if they can either repair your starter solenoid or replace your entire starter. It’ll be the only way to get your car up and running around.

2. Your Starter Motor Keeps Going After You Start Up Your Car

As long as your car starts up, you might not be worried about there being anything wrong with your starter solenoid. But believe it or not, a bad starter solenoid can also present itself after helping to start your car up.


There are some instances in which a starter solenoid won’t turn off after getting the starter motor in a car up and going like it’s supposed to. Instead, it’ll continue to send power to the starter motor, which will make it sound like your car is still trying to start up even though it’s already running. This can ruin your starter motor and cause other complications for your car.


It’s going to be dangerous to keep on driving in a car with a starter solenoid that has failed in this way. You should shut the car down as soon as you can and have the starter looked at to see what seems to be the issue. You could be looking at replacing your whole starter to get it to stop acting up.

3. Your Car Doesn’t Always Start When You Turn Your Key in It

Under normal circumstances, your car should start right up every single time you stick your key into it and turn it. But when you have a bad starter solenoid, you might find that your car will start up sometimes just fine and then not start up at all at other times.


When this happens, it typically means that the internal wiring and/or the switching mechanism that is located in your starter solenoid has gone bad. Because of it, you’ll find that your car will start up intermittently, which will make it very unpredictable. You’re going to begin to lose faith in your car’s ability to get you to the places you need to be.


Unless you like living on the wild side and leaving your car starting up to chance every time, you’ll want to get your starter inspected when your car doesn’t start up all the time. You may have to repair or replace your starter solenoid or your whole starter to ensure it’s able to do its job from now on.

4. Your Car Makes No Sounds at All When Starting It

If your starter solenoid is completely dead as opposed to just dying out, your car might not make a single sound when you go to start it. Your starter solenoid is going to be incapable of doing anything with any power that is sent in its direction, which is why it won’t make any sounds at all.


This is one of the signs that could indicate other problems with your car, though. You might have a bad car battery as opposed to a bad starter solenoid when your car doesn’t start and doesn’t make any sounds. Regardless, you’re going to need to have a mechanic inspect your car as soon as possible to get to the bottom of the issue you’re having.

Can You Repair a Bad Starter Solenoid?

If a mechanic tells you that you do, in fact, have a bad starter solenoid in your car, they might recommend that you replace your whole starter to fix it. But you should know that you may have the option of repairing a bad starter solenoid rather than replacing the whole starter.


Here are the steps that can be taken to repair a bad starter solenoid:

  1. Put a car into park with the emergency brake on
  2. Disconnect the car’s negative battery terminal
  3. Get under the car and take off the main starter wire and the ignition wires that are positioned on the back of a starter solenoid
  4. Remove the mounting bolts for the starter
  5. Take off the thick wire that is in place to connect the starter solenoid to the starter
  6. Remove the old copper contacts on the starter solenoid and replace them
  7. Put the starter solenoid back into place and reattach all the wires that you disconnected earlier in the reverse order
  8. Climb out from under the car and reconnect the car’s negative battery terminal
  9. Try to start the car to test the starter solenoid out

If everything goes according to plan, your car’s starter solenoid and starter motor should be working like new again.

Is It Worth Fixing a Bad Starter Solenoid?

While you can technically repair a bad starter solenoid, that doesn’t always mean you should. A big part of the reason why most mechanics recommend that people replace a starter when a starter solenoid goes bad is because it usually means that the whole starter is going to give out soon.


With this in mind, you may want to go ahead and just replace your whole starter rather than trying to breathe new life into your bad starter solenoid. It’s not going to be worth paying a mechanic to do everything that we just said to fix a starter solenoid when you might just have to replace the starter soon anyway.

How Much Will a New Starter Cost You?

So, let’s say that you find out that you have a bad starter solenoid in your car and you don’t want to repair it on your own. How much are you going to be looking at paying for a brand-new starter? It all depends on the make and model of your car and the year it was made. But on average, you’re going to have to pay between $430 and $580 for a new starter for your car.


This price is going to include somewhere between $300 and $420 for parts. It’s also going to include between $125 and $160 for labor. It’s one of the more expensive auto repair jobs for those who are having problems starting their car.


There is a little bit of a silver lining, though. After you have your car’s starter replaced once, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about doing it again. It’s a part that should definitely last you for as long as you have your car.

Is Selling a Car With a Bad Starter Solenoid a Possibility?

If you have a bad starter solenoid in your car, it’s often an indication that your car is on the older side. You might not want to pay to have a new starter put into it as a result of this. But you might also not know what you can do with a car that has an unreliable starter in it.


You’ll be thrilled to know that you can sell a car with a bad starter solenoid to Cash Cars Buyer without any issues. We routinely buy junk cars that have bad starter solenoids and other bad parts in them. If you’re interested in selling your car to us, just fill out our form and let us know:

  • What kind of car you have
  • How old your car is
  • The number of miles on your car

We’ll take things from there by sending a fair offer to you. We’ll then arrange to come to your home or business to pick up your car for you so that you can sell it even if it has a bad starter solenoid and won’t start up. Selling your car to us couldn’t possibly be any easier!


Interested in doing it? Contact us if you would like to get more information on selling an old car to Cash Cars Buyer.

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