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How to Know If the Starter Is Bad on Your Motorcycle

by Lina Schofield

The starter relay in a motorcycle enables power to flow from the battery to the motor when you start your motorcycle. If you have been struggling to start your motorcycle recently, you can diagnose problems with your starter relay by performing a simple test. You need to have a working knowledge of your motorcycle and its components to perform this task. If you do not feel confident in your ability to locate various components, purchase a repair manual for your motorcycle model. This manual will assist you in becoming more familiar with the components and where they are located.

Step 1

Visually inspect the 30 amp fuse in your starter relay for signs of damage. Replace the fuse if it appears broken.

Step 2

Connect the black jumper wire from the negative battery post to the green or red wire of the starter relay terminal.

Step 3

Secure red jumper wire from the positive battery post to the yellow or red wire terminal on the starter relay. Listen for a clicking sound. This sound is the contact inside the starter relay. If you do not hear a click, the starter might be malfunctioning.

Step 4

Remove the red jumper wire from the starter relay immediately after completing Step 3.

Step 5

Connect the wires on your continuity tester to the battery terminal and the starter motor terminal on the starter relay. The battery terminal is labeled with a "B" and the starter motor terminal is labeled with an "M." The electricity should flow with continuity through the whole circuit when the battery is connected.

Watch the gauge needle on the continuity tester to determine if the flow of electricity is continual. If you did not hear clicking earlier and there is no continuity when the battery is connected, the starter relay in your motorcycle is bad.

Items you will need

  • 30 amp fuse
  • Continuity tester
  • 2 jumper wires
  • Fully charged 12 volt battery
  • Starter switch relay

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