Has My Starter Gone Bad?

If the starter solenoid on a motorcycle, ATV or side-by-side clicks but the starter itself doesn’t do anything, does that mean the starter motor has gone bad?

Partzilla’s powersports pro John Talley hosts live Q&A sessions on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern. In this session, John was asked if a starter motor has gone bad after the battery and fuse checked out and the solenoid clicks but the starter doesn’t turn over.

Starter motor testing

Solenoid Clicks But Starter Won’t Go Q&A

My solenoid clicks but the starter doesn’t make any noise. Occasionally I hear the starter make a weak turn, but nothing consistent, mainly just a click from the solenoid. I replaced the battery and checked the fuse and it’s all good. Does this mean the starter is bad?

John Talley: I would be leaning toward the starter. I’m really surprised it didn’t pop your main fuse if it’s drawing it that badly. But I have seen solenoids where you hear them click, but the contacts are so dirty on the inside to where it’s really not sending the voltage. So if you would, put a multimeter on there, on that other side, or the side going to the starter. When you hit the starter button, see what the voltage drops down to. I mean, if it goes insanely low to like 8 volts, that’s one hell of an amperage load that it’s trying to cram through that starter. And that would indicate a bad starter winding. So my initial inclination is to say yes, it’s the starter. 

Buy powersports starter solenoids

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Watch the video below to see how to test powersports vehicle starter solenoids.

Watch the video below to see how to test powersports vehicle starters.

Watch the video below to see how to diagnose starter problems on a motorcycle.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.