How do I Start GM Trucks With a Screwdriver?

by William Machin
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Truck starters have a way of hanging up at times. You may notice that when you turn on the ignition key to start the engine, there's a clicking sound and the starter doesn't engage; however, as you turn the ignition key to the first position, the dash lights come on. If this happens, you can start your GMC diesel- or gasoline-powered truck using a screwdriver to engage the solenoid.

Step 1

Put the transmission in "Park" and set the emergency brake. Turn the ignition key to the first position. Put on your safety glasses and grab a large screwdriver.

Step 2

Work your way under the truck on the driver's side and locate the starter at the rear of the engine bell housing. Identify the solenoid and wires at the top of the starter. Typically, the larger wire connects to the battery and the smaller wire to the ignition circuit.

Step 3

Slide the rubber caps that protect the wire terminals back to expose the threaded stems of both terminals.

Place the tip of the screwdriver on the threads of the larger terminal. Hold the screwdriver in this position and push the metal stem of the screwdriver against the other threaded terminal. Expect a small spark as the engine begins to turn over. Hold the screwdriver in place until the engine starts.


  • On older GMC trucks, ask an assistant to sit in the driver's seat and press the accelerator pedal as you jump the solenoid with the screwdriver.
  • Have a mechanic test the starting system before replacing the solenoid or starter.


  • Do not start the truck regularly with a screwdriver or you will risk burning the wire terminals on the solenoid.
  • Check the starter bolts before attempting to start the truck using a screwdriver.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses
  • Large screwdriver

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