How to Change a Starter Solenoid

by Dan Ferrell

The starter solenoid is basically a high-current switch to connect the battery to the starter motor. It is used by a vehicle's ignition system to energize the starter motor and start the engine. Years of service affect the proper operation of the starter solenoid. This high-current switch may be located inside the front fender, close to the battery in the engine compartment or mounted on top of the starter motor itself. Follow these simple instructions to change the starter solenoid on your car in a matter of minutes.

Mounted-Away Solenoid

Park the car in a safe place and locate the starter solenoid close to the car battery. The easiest way is to follow the red, positive battery cable, which is connected to the solenoid.

Disconnect the black, negative cable from the battery.

Disconnect the cables and wires from the starter solenoid using a wrench or ratchet and sockets. Take note of the location of each cable and wire location on the solenoid so that you may reconnect them in their proper place on the new unit.

Remove the solenoid mounting bolts and secure the new unit to the fender.

Connect battery cables and wires to the solenoid and reconnect the black, negative cable to the battery.

On-Starter Solenoid

Locate the starter motor and make sure you have adequate access and enough room to remove it from the vehicle. If necessary, raise your vehicle with a jack and support it safely on jack stands.

Disconnect the negative cable from the battery.

Disconnect cables and wires from the starter solenoid and motor and make a note of any cables and wires connections to the solenoid and starter motor, so you can reconnect them in their proper place.

Remove the starter motor mounting bolts and lift the starter-solenoid assembly away from the engine compartment. Make sure to keep shims, brackets and related starter motor components for reinstallation.

Unscrew the solenoid from the starter motor and install the new unit in place.

Install the starter motor on the engine block, along with any related components.

Connect cables and wires to the starter motor and solenoid.

Lower the vehicle and connect the black, negative battery cable.

Warning

  • close If you do not want to disconnect the battery from the engine, wrap electrical tape around the red cable terminal connected to the solenoid to avoid an electric short and possible damage to sensitive electronic parts on your vehicle.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Photo courtesy of Willdre at Wikimedia.org.