A Starter Solenoid Fails – What to Do

When thinking about the starters function in starting the car, one of the more common indications of a bad starter is how poorly the car just doesn’t start.

This will manifest in many ways: dashboard Lights Not turn on but the Engine Still Starts. Also shown in the video above, you will hear a grating noise when attempting to begin the car. As soon as you recognize the symptoms of a bad starter, make sure you have a repair kit on hand.



The starter can fail for a number of reasons.

One reason for this is a bad or worn out starter battery. In this case, a new part should be ordered immediately. If the battery is still good, it may simply be time to conduct a battery check using a car battery tester to see if it is charging. If it is, then the problem can usually be fixed by replacing the solenoid, motor or the battery.


Another possible indication of a bad starter motor is when the vehicle won’t crank at all, even though the key is turned on and the car is plugged in.

This is caused by a worn-out or broken clutch. Again, a new starter should be ordered immediately. Again, if you hear grinding noises, it is likely that the clutch is causing the grinding noise. It can be replaced with a unit that is compatible.


Other issues can be caused by a stuck or failing starter motor.

When cranking the engine, there is a rotation of the crankshaft which rotates the timing belt along the crankshaft. If this rotary belt gets dirty, it can cause the starter to not engage. This is a minor inconvenience, but one that can be easily remedied by a quick call to a mechanic.


Smell testing can also indicate a problem with the starter motor.

When you smell smoke coming from the engine bay, this means that the solenoid is not making good contact, and  has developed a smell. In addition, you will see smoke coming from where the solenoid and motor are.


If your starter fails completely while driving, you are most likely dealing with a failed ignition switch.

The gear is on a shaft that rotates the crankshaft in a counterclockwise direction when the vehicle is running. When the vehicle is stopped, the switch goes into an on position which allows the crankshaft to once again rotate clockwise. With no spark, there is no ignition, so you must open the hood. With a flashlight, look inside the engine compartment to see whether there is a leak.


To repair a solenoid, first look at the power source.

Dry ice or other ignition should melt on the ground outside the firewall. There should be a clear area on the ground where the solenoid points. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the bolt and remove the solenoid. Clean away any debris with a rag, and then attach the new solenoid with the appropriate screws. Make sure the power source is unplugged and that you have taken care of all electrical wires before continuing.


If your starter still does not work after making these adjustments, then it could be a symptom of a much bigger problem.

The solenoid could be suffering from a bad seal between the crankshaft and the transmission, which allow the solenoid to fail. If the starter does not work because there is something else wrong with the transmission or the electrical system, a complete overhaul of the starter may be needed. If the problem is with the solenoid then a solenoid should be replaced with a gasket made of rubber and new seals should be checked and replaced.


2013-2020 Dodge Durango Starter 5.7L

2012-2021 Jeep Wrangler Starter Replacement

Car Part

2013-2020 Dodge Durango Starter 3.6L