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Starter Wiring

by Aaron Turpen

The wiring of the starter motor on a vehicle is one of the more complex electronic components under the hood (so to speak). The wiring runs from the battery to the starter, but passes through several relays and circuit connections on the way. Many components from the steering column's keyswitch to the vehicle's anti-theft device to the solenoid are in between the battery and the starter that cranks the engine over.

My car won't start

If your car won't start, your immediate inclination is likely to blame the starter or the battery. There are some cases, however, when the culprit is actually the wiring. If turning the key does nothing (creates no reaction at all), then most likely you have a bad connection somewhere in the starter wiring.

starter

photo by Willdre

Does the starter wiring need replacing?

Not likely. Most of the time, a connection problem is due to a burnt fuse, bad relay, or loose connection. Tracing these down, of course, is another matter and can become tedious and time consuming. There is no ìeasy wayî to go around it, though, but doing the tests can save a lot of money in parts that don't fix the problem.

Mechanics differ in their testing methodology, but most start at one point and move through to the other end. So start at either the battery or the starter and work your way through. Common problems are:

  • broken or defective keyswitch
  • bad fuse/relay in anti-theft system
  • loose connection at battery, solenoid or starter
  • tripped fuse in start sequence

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