Symptoms of a Bad Starter Solenoid
Poor and hurried wiring lead to either inadequate current supply to the starter solenoid or a more dangerous problem of shorting. Both can make a starter solenoid to malfunction and cause starter system problems. Bad wiring instances include terminals that are left loose or connected the wrong way.
What happens if the starter solenoid is bad?
When the solenoid goes bad, something happens so there is inadequate or no current to the starter when you turn the key. Internal corrosion may freeze the slug in its “away” position. The power contacts may burn or corrode, adding enough resistance to the circuit so that the starter doesn’t engage properly, or doesn’t turn the engine over. And that’s what happens when a solenoid goes bad — the engine won’t turn over.
The starter solenoid is a fairly simple mechanism that transmits electrical current from the battery to the starter. When you turn the key, the solenoid engages, using the electrical motor in the starter to get your engine running. If the solenoid is not functioning properly, the vehicle may not start. Determining whether the issue is the starter solenoid, the battery or the starter itself can save you time and money when repairing it yourself and seeking to have the repair work done. Start by locating the starter and work to narrow down the cause of the issue.
But troubleshooting the starting system is actually relatively easy, compared to other electrical systems in your vehicle. This system can give you some clues about the type of problem you are facing. And, armed with your car repair manual, you may be able to make the necessary fixes to get your car going again.
So here are some of the most common symptoms you may notice when having troubles with the starting system in your car.
Five symptoms of a bad or failing starter
If you think this could be you, then we hope this article will shed some light on a problem that is more common than you may think. Bad starter issues are relatively frequent and, as a garage, we deal with those on a daily basis. As we will go into some technical details, we provided links to simple explanations for some of the less common terms we will be using. We are not all petrol-heads after all!
Troubleshooting a car with bad starter
Conduct a voltage test. Connect the negative lead on the voltmeter to the negative side of the battery and the positive lead on the positive side down at the starter. The voltage should be very close to battery voltage if the battery voltage is much lower. Also, if the battery cable is corroded it should be replaced.
We once had a riding lawnmower with a bad solenoid and would keep a long screwdriver in the glove box to use every time we needed to start it. We would reach in and touch the screwdriver to both the ports on the solenoid, and without fail, the lawnmower would start right up every time.
How Do I Tell If the Starter Solenoid Is Bad on My Kohler Riding Mower Engine?
Most large Kohler engines on riding lawn mowers use an electric starting system. Part of that system is a starter solenoid. The cylindrical solenoid is a low-amperage relay that safely completes the high-amperage electrical connection between the battery and starter motor when the ignition key is turned. A bad solenoid can deny electricity to the starter motor and prevent engine startup. But other basic problems may also exist.