How to Troubleshoot a Starter for a Ford F-150


The starter in the Ford F-150 receives an electrical signal from the ignition switch and subsequently starts the engine. If the engine turns over very slowly, or you just hear a clicking sound, you should troubleshoot the starter to determine if it or some other part of the electrical system is the issue. Troubleshooting the starter lets you identify and fix the problem quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Voltmeter
  • Battery charger (optional)
  • Screwdriver
  • Check the contacts on the battery terminal for corrosion. Clean any corrosion off of the battery contacts with a brush and a mixture of water and baking soda. Use gloves when doing this because battery acid can hurt your skin.

  • Place a voltmeter, or a battery charger with a charge indicator, on the battery. If the battery reads 12 volts or more, proceed to Step 3. If not, charge the battery until it reads 12 volts. If the F-150 still does not start, move on to the next step.

  • Disconnect the starter wire from the back of the starter. If your car is fuel injected, remove the larger of the two wires connected to the starter. Place a voltmeter onto the wire and have a second person turn the ignition key. If the voltmeter reads 12 volts, the ignition switch is sending power to your starter.

  • Locate the two large connector posts on the back of the solenoid. Place a screwdriver across both posts to create a direct connection between the battery and starter. This eliminates the need for the starter solenoid. The starter should turn on but not crank the engine. If the starter does not turn on, the starter is defective. If the starter does turn on, the starter is not the issue. Make sure the F-150 is in neutral and the parking break is set when you do this step.

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  • Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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