How to Tell If a Solenoid Is Going Bad?

by Amy Yang
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Car interior image by mashe from

Solenoids relay power from the battery to the starter engine of your vehicle, according to AA1 Car, and can be located on the starter engine. They are usually connected to to the positive battery terminal. The solenoid is an electromagnetic switch that creates a magnetic field when energized from the battery, according to Prestolite. This magnetic field powers the starter engine and starts your vehicle. A defective solenoid prevents your car from starting up.

Step 1

Start your car by turning the ignition switch on.

Step 2

Listen for clicks if the engine does not turn on. If the engine turns on, your solenoid is not defective. If your engine does turn on and you hear clicks, while all other components of your vehicle are in good condition, it may indeed be that your solenoid is going bad.

Step 3

Pay attention to grinding noises during start up. If you do not hear any grinding noises and your car starts up fine, your solenoid is still good. If you hear grinding during start- up, your solenoid is going bad (again assuming all of the other parts are in good working order.)

Step 4

Contact your auto repair shop to set up an appointment, if necessary, to confirm the defective nature of your solenoid and get a replacement.

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