Last Updated: August 15th, 2023

How to Tell If Starter Solenoid Is Bad On ATV?

How To Tell If Starter Solenoid Is Bad On Atv?

We all know that a bad starter solenoid can cause your ATV to stall or not start. If you have an ATV, you also know how frustrating it is when the engine won’t fire up.

In this article, we will tell you what causes starter solenoids to fail and what symptoms they may exhibit if they are going bad for you to determine whether it’s time for a replacement or repair of your current unit.

The starter solenoid is an important part of your ATV. It activates the ignition switch and sends power from the battery to start your engine.

How to tell if starter solenoid is bad on ATV

If a clicking sound comes from inside the solenoid and you cannot start the ATV, this would mean that the starter solenoid is bad on ATV.

If you’re having trouble starting your ATV or it won’t crank, this guide can help you diagnose and fix the problem.

We will go over how a starter solenoid works, what symptoms mean that it might be harmful, and what parts are involved in this repair so we can troubleshoot together.

What is Starter Solenoid in vehicles?

A starter solenoid is a small electric device that interrupts the circuit of the vehicle’s ignition system to allow the engine to start.

A starter solenoid is not a part of an ignition system on its own: it only works in concert with a flywheel, starter motor, and battery.

Starter Relay Solenoid

The starter solenoid is connected to the vehicle’s battery and has three connectors that connect it to a starter motor, which is mounted to the engine.

The starter solenoid is an electrical switch used to help your ATV start when you turn the key.

Once started, the starter solenoid deactivates, and the engine runs off the flywheel.

What is the Function of a Starter Solenoid on vehicles?

The solenoid is a type of relay, and the engine starter has three parts:

  1. The battery
  2. The starter motor
  3. The solenoid

When you turn the key, the battery sends power to the starter motor, which spins the flywheel to start the engine.

The solenoid, a switch that can be opened and closed, is the only thing holding back power from going directly to the starter motor.

When you turn the key to start the ATV, the solenoid completes the circuit, and the starter motor gets the power to start the engine.

Problems with your starter solenoid may prevent you from starting your 4-wheeler.

Problems With Your Starter Solenoid May Prevent You From Starting Your 4-Wheeler.
Problems with your starter solenoid may prevent you from starting your ATV.

How To Tell if Starter is Bad on ATV? (What are the symptoms of Starter Solenoid Problems?

There could be several reasons why your ATV won’t start, and every case is different, but here are some common symptoms to help you determine if the solenoid is the cause of your problem:

1) No power to the solenoid

The ATV will turn over and may even try to start, but there won’t be enough power to the solenoid to complete the circuit and activate the starter.

Usually, there is power going to the solenoid. If you have checked all of your connections, and they are solid, then it may be that the starter motor itself is shorted out due to a faulty armature or brushes.

2) Loud clicking or buzzing noise

The solenoid may make a loud clicking or buzzing noise when you try to start the ATV.

3) Shorted Starter Relay

If your solenoid is stuck in the activated position, it may cause your starter relay to stay engaged, so you’ll get a “click” when you turn the key but won’t hear the starter trying to turn over. This is typically a sign of a bad solenoid or shorted wire.

4) Engine Cranking but not starting

This symptom usually accompanies a buzzing noise and could be caused by incorrectly connected wires, a faulty solenoid, or wire issues.

If you can hear the engine cranking, but it won’t start, this is a good indication that there could be a problem with the solenoid.

5) Clicking noise when trying to start

This is when you hear a clicking noise every time you turn the key, but your ATV won’t start.

6) Vehicle not starting at all

If your ATV doesn’t start, the problem could be with a faulty solenoid. There could be other reasons, but you can check your solenoid for physical damage or wear and tear that could point to a problem.

7) Vehicle starts for a few seconds and dies

The solenoid only works when you turn the key to start your engine, so if it’s broken or faulty, you will get a few seconds of cranking until the battery runs out.

8) Engine dies after a few turns

If you get your ATV to start and it runs for a few turns, but the engine dies, you may have a bad solenoid.

What causes the Starter Solenoid to malfunction?

Many things can go wrong with your solenoid. It is used in high voltage applications, so many parts could fail. If your starter solenoid is constantly causing problems, you need to check and troubleshoot.

Here are some things that could cause your starter solenoid to malfunction:

Weather and corrosion

The weather can affect the electrical connection between your ATV and the solenoid.


The main connection points on your solenoid are sealed to handle moisture, but if the connector on your battery is corroded, it can let in water. If this happens, the moisture can corrode other solenoid parts.

Lose connections

They could move around if your ATV’s electrical components are not secure. This can cause the electrical connection to the starter solenoid to become loose, and it can cause the solenoid to malfunction.

Faulty Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid can become faulty if it is used for too long. This can happen because the solenoid has parts that are extremely sensitive to wear. If your starter solenoid is defective, you must buy a new one.

Bad battery

If your ATV’s battery is not in good shape, it can affect the solenoid. The battery can cause a broken or bad connection because it supplies your starter solenoid with power. You need to check your voltmeter periodically to check your battery.

Short circuit

If the solenoid gets too much power, it will short out and prevent the starter motor from spinning to start the engine. This usually happens when there is a loose connection somewhere, and too much power flows to the solenoid.

Weak power

A weak starter solenoid will not have enough power to send signals to the starter motor and turn the engine over.

How do I Recondition a Starter Solenoid?

If your starter solenoid is constantly malfunctioning and all of the above things don’t work, you need to buy a new one. If that’s not in your budget, you can recondition your solenoid and get a few more months out of it.

If you want to recondition your starter solenoid, you need to use a wire brush and clean the connection points.

If you have corrosion on the starter solenoid or the battery posts, a wire brush will get it off. This will remove any corrosion or dirt that is on your solenoid. If this doesn’t work or the corrosion is too bad, you must replace your solenoid.

How To Tell If Starter Solenoid Is Bad On Atv?

How to test a bad starter solenoid?

Method 1 – Test with a voltmeter

  • First, you need to get your multimeter and set it to 20V.
  • Use the positive probe and check the positive connector on your solenoid.
  • Now connect the negative probe to the negative terminal on your battery and then check the other connector on your solenoid.
  • If the voltage comes through, you know that the solenoid is not faulty.
  • You need to buy a new solenoid if you don’t get any voltage.

Method 2 – Test with a jumper wire

This method is a little quicker and easier than using a voltmeter. If you want to use this method, follow the steps below:

  • Connect one end of your jumper wire to the positive connector and another end to the negative connector.
  • If the starter turns over, you know that your solenoid is bad.
  • You’re good to go if it doesn’t turn over and your solenoid is not faulty.

Method 3- With two wires

It’s hard to believe that something as inexpensive and straightforward as a starter solenoid could cause much trouble. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a bundle of money to test it. You can do it with two wires and a battery.

To test the solenoid, connect one wire to the battery and touch the other wire to the starter relay without turning on the key or touching anything else in the engine compartment. If the wire makes contact, but no clicking sound is heard, then the chances are really good that the solenoid is bad.

FAQs Regarding Bad Starter Solenoid Is On ATV

Will a bad starter solenoid make a clicking noise?

Yes, you might hear a clicking sound inside the solenoid if it has a problem.

Can a bad starter solenoid start up the ATV?

Yes, if it is near the end of its life, it may be able to start up ATV for a short amount of time. If the starter is causing the ATV to crank or turn over for an extended amount of time, you might need a new starter solenoid.

What happens if the starter solenoid goes bad?

If your ATV’s starter solenoid is wrong, you won’t be able to start it. The starter will only make a quick clicking sound and then nothing.

How much does a starter solenoid replacement cost?

A starter solenoid replacement costs about $100 to $150, depending on the model of your ATV.

How can I test if the starter solenoid is bad on my ATV?

You can test a bad starter solenoid using a voltmeter, a jumper wire, or with two wires. The methods involve checking the voltage, connecting the wires to the connectors, or connecting one wire to the battery and the other to the starter relay.

What causes a starter solenoid to malfunction?

Several factors can cause a starter solenoid to malfunction, including weather and corrosion, moisture, loose connections, a faulty starter solenoid, a bad battery, a short circuit, or weak power.


If you want to know what is wrong with your ATV, the best thing to do is check if the starter solenoid is bad. If it is, you have to replace it. You can do the testing yourself by following the guide above and save some money.

We hope this article has given you the knowledge to identify a bad starter solenoid and how to test it. 

If you have any questions about this topic, please leave your comments below, and we will try our best to answer them.

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