How to Jump a Starter Solenoid

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The starter solenoid in your vehicle is the switch that provides power from the battery to the starter motor, which turns over the engine and starts your vehicle. When the solenoid goes out, you can't start your car and are typically left stranded. Solenoids aren't difficult to install, but if your car won't start, you need a way to start the truck one time to get it to the store. This is a dangerous procedure and will cause a shock--but if you have to do it, it can be done.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver with rubber handle or other long steel implement with rubber handle
  • Assistant
  • Pop the hood and locate the starter solenoid. It's typically on the fender well of the vehicle, near the battery.

  • Get out the screwdriver and touch the metal end to the post that leads to the starter, opposite to the one that leads to the battery. You're going to turn the screwdriver into a manual switch, bypassing the solenoid in the process.

  • Drop the other end of the screwdriver down, touching the metal on the shaft of the solenoid to both terminals on the solenoid. At the same time, have your assistant turn the ignition to start the vehicle. This will cause a lot of sparks and could pass electrical current through your body if you're not using a rubber-handled screwdriver, so be careful and don't touch the connections for long.

  • Quickly remove the screwdriver from the solenoid. If it's left on too long, it can arc weld itself to both terminals, which is a bad thing. At this point, the vehicle should be running. If not, repeat the process.

Tips & Warnings

  • By jumping your starter solenoid, you are turning the screwdriver or other metal implement into a manual switch. If you're not careful, you can turn your body into the conduit as well. Plus, if you don't get the screwdriver off of the contacts soon enough, you can burn out the starter motor. This is a dangerous procedure, so don't do it unless you absolutely have to start the vehicle.
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