How can I start a car with a bad starter solenoid?

When I try to start my car, all I hear is a single clicking noise. I know a bit about cars, so I think it’s the starter motor or solenoid. The car isn’t very old, so it’s hard for me to believe the starter motor is faulty. How can I start a car with a bad starter solenoid?

It sounds like your diagnosis of the issue being the starter motor or solenoid is correct! Fortunately, if it is the solenoid, there is a relatively simple way to start the car using just a screwdriver. That said, you will have to visit a mechanic to repair it.
Before you start, find a friend who’s willing to help and grab a long screwdriver with an insulated handle. Once you have a friend and screwdriver, try to start the car using these steps:
  • Locate the starter solenoid under the hood. The solenoid will be on top of the starter motor. The starter motor is cylindrical. The solenoid will be a smaller cylinder on top of the starter motor and have two wires attached. If you’re having trouble, follow the positive (red) cable from your battery or consult the owner’s manual.
  • Place the screwdriver across the two metal contacts located on the starter. Doing this bypasses the solenoid and directly connects the ignition switch and starter motor.
  • Have your friend start the car while you hold the screwdriver across the contacts. Make sure you hold the insulated handle and remove the screwdriver as soon as the vehicle starts!
If the car doesn’t start, the problem could be more severe. Either way, taking your car to a mechanic is the easiest solution.
Since you’re having car issues, consider adding a roadside assistance membership with Jerry. Jerry’s membership provides you with industry-leading roadside assistance, including benefits like towing, lockout service, and a mechanics hotline. To find out if you’re eligible, you can check the app or call one of our friendly agents. You may qualify for a special rate of $50 for your first year!
Jack Walsh
Answered on Nov 19, 2021

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