How To Tell If The Starter Solenoid Is Bad On An ATV?


how to tell if starter solenoid is bad on atv

A starter solenoid’s main purpose is to get a small electric signal from the ignition key and then turn it into a high voltage signal to start the motor of the vehicle. So, this is the main pathway for the vehicle to start up. If the solenoid is faulty, the vehicle may not start at all.

If the vehicle is not starting, then it is a major sign of possible issues with the solenoid. If it is faulty other problems like clicking sounds or intermittent starting problems are also part of the signs of a bad starter.

How Do You Know If Your Starter Solenoid Is Bad?

There are multiple ways to check if the starter solenoid is at fault. But the basic problem, which surely indicates a faulty starter, is that the vehicle will not startup. You will hear the clicking sound of the starter, but the motor won’t start up the engine. Now, this is a clear problem that directly points to the starter solenoid. What if the vehicle starts and the starter is still at fault due to some minor issues.

solenoid electromagnetic field on atv

Some other things you can do are to see if there is a continuous clicking sound even after the ignition of the vehicle. If there is a clicking sound, then you should test your starter for minor problems, or at some point in the future, the starter may not be functional at all.

You can also get to know about a faulty starter if there is an intermittent starting of the vehicle. This means that the vehicle will start with some interruptions or even show some difficulty starting up. If this is the case, then you should look for the problems in the starter solenoid.

Every faulty starter solenoid does not need to be changed for a new one. There is a chance or replacement, but you should first look at what can be done for the fault present. There is also a greater chance of getting the starter fixed as it is. So you do not need to worry about problems with your starter. There are multiple ways to get your problem fixed.

Testing An ATV Starter Solenoid

When you have established that there is a problem with the starter of your quad bike, then you need to either buy a new one or go for fixing this one by yourself. I would suggest trying to try and detect the problem at first rather than going directly for a new one because there is a good chance that the problem is fixable. So why not give it a try.

Now, there are two basic toolkits that you will need to run the basic tests for your solenoid. They are:

  1. Digital Multimeter
  2. Back Probe Kit

Now, before performing any of these tests, you need to make sure you are well aware of the electronic components of your vehicle. You also need to make sure where your solenoid is and where its connections are made. If you don’t have enough knowledge about them, I would suggest you learn some before or hire an expert to do the job for you.

If you are completely ready, let me tell you about the tests you will need to perform.

There are two tests to perform to check a faulty solenoid. I will explain each one of them in detail.

Solenoid Test 1

This test is to ensure that the starter and the solenoid make a proper connection while working. To check this, you will need to do the following:

  1. Connect one back probe from one of the solenoid connections to the negative terminal of the battery.
  2. Then connect the other solenoid wire to the positive terminal of the battery using the back probe.
  3. After establishing these connections, you should hear a ‘click’ sound which will indicate that the solenoid is in working condition.
  4. If you do not hear the sound, then you should move on to the next test.

equipment to test solenoids

Solenoid Test 2

When you have performed the first test and have not been able to hear the click sound, then you need to do the following:

  1. Just like test 1, connect one wire of solenoid to the negative of the battery.
  2. Then move to a resistance test in which you will need a Digital Multimeter connected to the solenoid’s main connectors.
  3. Once you have connected the DMM with the resistance mode, you will see ‘OL’ on the screen of the DMM, which means ‘Open Circuit.’
  4. Then you need to connect the positive terminal of the battery to the solenoids remaining connector using the back probe. This will energize the solenoid and push the connector to complete the circuit.

Doing this should show Closed Circuit, which means that the starter solenoid is working and there is no fault. But if the circuit is not closed, then the solenoid is completely faulty, and I would suggest moving on to buying a new one for your ATV.

Other Problems That Indicate A Bad Solenoid

There can be other issues with the ATV as well, which would present a faulty solenoid. You can also look for one of these and see if there is anything there:

  • Blown Fuse: Sometimes, there is a very simple problem with the circuitry, and we keep on looking for the major ones. You can see for any fuses in the starter circuitry and test to see if they are at fault. There is a good chance that a blown fuse may be causing your starter to not work properly.
  • Broken or Corroded Wiring: You can also look for some corroded wires, which is the reason when connections go bad. If your ATV is old, then you should probably look for a faulty corroded wire at first.
  • Alternator: An alternator powers up all the electrical systems of your vehicle. This also charges the battery. So, you can also see if the alternator is at fault because if it is, then your ATV might not start up at all. Replacing the alternator can also fix the problem you are facing.
  • Starter: In some vehicles, the solenoid is attached to the starter housing. So if the solenoid goes at fault in this case, then you will need to replace the whole set of Starter and Solenoid to get the problem fixed.

How Do I Bypass My ATV Starter Solenoid?

If you have established that you have a faulty starter solenoid and you still need to start your ATV, then you can look for this method to start your vehicle right away. To do this, you will need a wrench, and you will need to locate the starter solenoid on your quad bike. Usually, the starter is located next to the plastic next to or under the battery of the quad bike. You will see a bunch of wires where the starter is located.

Once you have located the starter, you will need to locate the two main wires coming from the starter. You need to jump these two main wires. This will short circuit the starter connections.

After you’ve done this, give your bike an ignition with a combination to this short circuit, and you will have your quad bike started. This is a common method to start up vehicles that have a faulty starter.

But keep in mind, doing this continuously may bring out more problems in your ATV. So, I would suggest that you get your starter solenoid fixed as soon as possible.

To Sum Things Up

Even after attempting multiple methods to fix or bypass a solenoid starter the best suggestion is always going to be the proper fix, which would be replacing it with a new one at a certified mechanic location. This will help identify additional faulty components causing the same problem that otherwise might get missed. In the long run, it will extend the life of your ATV and you will not need to worry about any problems for a while.

man rides atv in competition

Tricks such as jumping the wires may cause the battery life to shorten, you could also damage other cabling. You can always try to replace the components, but you should be careful doing that by yourself and get help from a licensed, experienced professional.

Other elements to consider when wondering if your ATV’s starter solenoid is failing is doing a full check-up of the engine, batteries, and cabling. Any issues on the side might make this more difficult to repair and could result in permanent damage to your ATV. So, have a thorough examination and then go for the fix which best fits your situation.

Ultimately, keeping a steady check-up schedule on any vehicle you own, whether it is an ATV or another, will make the biggest difference in the functionality and usable lifespan of your vehicle. Also, looking out for any strange noises and pulling when driving is a great way to foresee issues on that front.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.

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