Geeks On Cars: How to Diagnose Auto Starter Problems #home #and #auto #insurance #quotes

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Things Needed

Attempt to start your vehicle. If you hear a clicking or buzzing sound, or nothing at all, check the condition of the battery. Place the vehicle in park or neutral with the emergency brake engaged. Raise the hood. Hook a voltmeter to your battery terminals, with the black lead to negative and the red lead to positive. Read the voltage. The number should be a minimum of 12.5 volts. (Make sure the battery is fully charged.)

Remove the battery cables from the battery and hook up a battery load tester to the battery posts. Connect the black lead to negative and the red lead to positive. Depress the load button, hold it for 15 seconds and release it. Watch the indicator needle to see if it recovers (swings) quickly to the full charge or 12.5-volt position. If it recovers very slowly, or not at all, the battery can be the problem. Replace or charge the battery.

Eliminate a problem with the ignition switch by hooking up the battery cables to the battery and attempting to start the engine. If the dashboard idiot light dims while starting the engine, it indicates the ignition switch has full contact.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal temporarily. Raise the vehicle up with the floor jack and place two jack stands under the frame near the front wheels. Slide under the vehicle and disconnect the solenoid wire from the top of the starter. The wire connection might be a pull-off spade connector, or it might have a small nut that must be removed. It will be the largest wire. Hook the negative battery cable back up. Connect the voltmeter red lead to the solenoid wire and ground the other lead on the chassis frame. Have an assistant start the motor. You should have 12 or more volts at the wire. If you get no reading, you have a defective ignition switch or a break in the wire from the switch to the solenoid. Check the ignition switch and wires.

Connect both battery cables to their terminals. Slide under the vehicle. Use a pair of insulated pliers or a short-handle screwdriver. Bridge the gap between the two largest electrical posts on the back of the solenoid. Be very careful to touch only those posts, and only momentarily. A bright spark arc will be normal. This method uses direct battery power to the starter, bypassing the solenoid switch. The starter motor should spin without engaging the engine. If it does not, or makes unusually loud grating noises, it indicates the starter should be replaced or rebuilt.





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