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Starter or Solenoid Bad?



Hey my question is when i go to start my vehicle i get nothing. Car is a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass ciera SL With a 3.1 Liter V6. Engine does not turn over. And starter does not turn over. I am wondering how to find out if its the solenoid or starter or possibly the relay for the ignition.

Please respond asap.

Thank you for your assistance



First step is to pull the battery out and test that. Make sure it has a full charge, and then use a battery load tester to check condition of the battery. Most garages and auto parts stores have a battery tester.

I would also check both battery terminals and cables to make sure you have a good connection. Cables can corrode from the inside and create problems. I have seen more starting issue due to cables, than a bad starter or solenoid.

Assuming that the battery and cables checks out, you can jump the terminals on the solenoid to see if the engine turns over. If it does, then there is a problem in the ignition switch or safety system (brake switch, or neutral/park safety switch)

If you do not feel comfortable jumping the solenoid posts, you can use a volt meter to check for voltage at the solenoid ignition connection (typically marked with an I on the post) to see if the ignition switch is sending current. If you have voltage, its more than likely a bad solenoid. If there is no voltage, then its in the ignition switch/safety loop mentioned above. If you have voltage at the solenoid, and hear the clicking of the solenoid moving the starter gear into the flywheel, but the starter does not spin, then its the starter itself.

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Posted: 8th July 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Electrical

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