FAQ : How To Test Your Starter

FAQ : How To Test Your Starter


There’s nothing more annoying that trying to start your car and hearing the ever ominous “click” of your starter solenoid going out, not to mention the inconvenience should the car continue to not start.

How do I test my starter?

One of the more common questions we are asked here at Pro Street, it can be easily done on any vehicle with a voltmeter and floor jacks. To determine whether or not your starter has failed, we’ll be taking a look at how to check continuity on a 2002 Honda S2000 but this test can be performed on any vehicle to test your starter.

Tools you will need :

  • Voltmeter
  • Floor Jack
  • Jackstands

First raise and secure the vehicle on any flat surface, the starter itself on this vehicle is found under the intake manifold on the driver side of the vehicle.





Disconnect the battery and make sure your vehicle has the parking brake engaged, keys out of the ignition and parking brake set.



Using the voltmeter, check the hold-in coil for continuity by connecting one side to the coil spade (in blue) and a chassis ground. There should be continuity there but if there isn’t the solenoid will need replacing. Either have your starter rebuilt or serviced, or replaced altogether.

Next check the starter terminal ( pull-in coil ) by checking continuity between that ( in orange ) and the solenoid spade ( in blue ) if there is continuity there the solenoid is still good and the issue lies elsewhere.

How can I test the starter out of the vehicle?

This can be a dangerous test and should only be performed with a companion who can double check all the work and make sure you are safe.

Disconnect the 2 terminals on your starter as shown before, set them to the side and make sure the ground on the starter terminal is removed. Remove the starter and secure it safely next to your battery.

Connect the positive terminal to the terminal spade ( in blue ) and then run another wire connected to the starter terminal ( in orange labeled ground) and with this wire you will briefly connect with the negative terminal of your battery. This is the easiest way you can Test Your Starter using just simple wiring.

If the starter engages and disengages when you connect the negative battery terminal the issue lies elsewhere, disconnecting the negative connection must also retract the arm and gear into the starter housing.

You can alternately troubleshoot your vehicle’s starting problems this way by running the wires in similar fashion but with the gearbox disengaged. The starter terminal (ground-in orange) should be connected with a wire long enough to reach outside of your vehicle with enough length to connect to a chassis ground with ease.

You can now test the starter in vehicle using this method, but this is only for mechanics who know what they are doing. You can cause fatal injury or serious damage if you are not careful testing the starter in your vehicle. Never attempt this at home if you are uncertain of what you are doing or do not realize what could happen by testing your starter in car and making a mistake.