Síntomas de un solenoide de arranque defectuoso

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Introducción

Starting your car shouldn’t be a hassle. After all, the engine starts with a push of a button or a key turn. But sometimes, your engine turns over slowly or causes a clicking noise rather than a smooth ignition.

These symptoms are common indicators of a potential problem with your car starter. A bad starter solenoid could likely be the culprit when your starter fails. While the starter solenoid is extremely durable, it can also fail, causing these signs to show.

In this guide, you will look closer into the symptoms of a bad starter solenoid and how to deal with them.

What is a Starter Solenoid?

Turning the internal components of a car engine needs a lot of power. A starter solenoid is one of those devices that can switch higher power circuits from a small electric signal. When you start your engine, an electrical signal is sent to the starter solenoid.

The starter solenoid acts as an electromagnetic switch that closes the circuit to divert the required power to turn the engine over. The high-power current engages the starter’s drive pinion to turn the flywheel. Once the ignition is complete, the strong power from the battery to the starter disconnects. This is when the solenoid resets, causing the drive pinion to retract.

For older cars, the starter solenoid is built separately from the motor de arranque and is usually placed on the firewall. However, the solenoid is attached to the starter motor assembly in modern vehicles. It’s that small cylindrical piece atop the starter motor housing.

Causes of a Bad Starter Solenoid

Likely, you are yet to encounter a bad solenoid, even if you’ve already been driving for quite some time. This case is due to the fact that starter solenoids are very durable parts. The average lifespan of a starter solenoid is set at around 30,000 actuation. This range is typical for a combustion engine vehicle, which can have around 15 years of service lifespan.

But, despite their outstanding durability, solenoids would still break down at some point. Here are the most common causes of solenoid failure.

Wear and Tear

Natural wear and tear are common causes of failure to parts that are extremely durable, like a starter solenoid.

Over time, daily usage will ultimately wear the solenoid’s internal components. These issues eventually lead to a solenoid that’s partially bad or needs replacement.

Contactor Part Issues

Another part vulnerable to breakdown is the solenoid’s copper contactors. These internal components can develop resistance, resulting in voltage loss. Insufficient power can lead to starter solenoid malfunction.

Corrosión

Corrosion can sometimes occur around terminals or connections due to moisture and oxidation. When there’s corrosion, poor electrical connection occurs, affecting the solenoid’s function.

Signs of a Bad Starter Solenoid

Pointing to signs of a bad starter solenoid is not that complicated. There are many clues indicative of a looming solenoid failure. Most of these signs are related to the ignition system and can be easily identified.

  • Intermittent ignition

Sometimes, your car starts; sometimes, it does not. This intermittent ignition calls for solenoid inspection. This issue happens when the solenoid is not transmitting the right power required to engage the starter motor. While it can be due to poor connections, it can also mean a failing solenoid. A worn-out solenoid sometimes causes such a problem.

  • Visible signs of corrosion

Upon inspection, you better check the solenoid if you see rust or oxidation around the starter motor. Corrosion weakens the terminals and causes poor electrical connection, which can damage your solenoid if left unresolved.

  • Zero sound upon key turn

This scenario can be a solid indicator of a broken starter solenoid. When you don’t hear any sound upon key turning, the solenoid is not picking up the signal. The solenoid cannot engage the driver pinion, so there’s not even a click noise.

  • Calado del motor

Another cause for concern for a bad solenoid is when your engine abruptly stops after ignition. This issue can point to the pinion gear not disengaging after turning the flywheel.

It can be caused by a malfunctioning solenoid that can’t properly control the functions of the starter motor. A malfunctioning pinion gear affects the engine performance, hence the car stalling.

  • Click noise without cranking

A click sound indicates the engagement of the pinion gear. However, a faulty solenoid can result in a mismatched engagement of the pinion gears to the flywheel, so no cranking happens.

The clicking noise also points to the solenoid spinning the pinion gear without engagement with the flywheel. It’s a classic sign of a bad solenoid.

Preventing Starter Solenoid Problems

While you can’t escape the time when the solenoid finally fails, you can still prevent early solenoid problems. Here are important steps you can observe to maintain a trouble-free starter solenoid.

1. Regular battery checks

A failing car battery can be the culprit of many electrical troubles under the hood. Running on a drained battery prevents the solenoid from working properly. Your battery must remain optimal to prevent the solenoid from functioning with poor current.

2. Inspect terminals and connections

Always ensure that improper connections are not involved. Even when you run on a charged battery, the solenoid will experience resistance if connections are problematic. Such resistance not only affects function but also strains the contactors.

3. Pay attention to warning lights

Dashboard warning lights exist for a reason. There may not be a designated light for a bad solenoid, but warnings can be related to one. If left unresolved, warning lights such as battery or ignition can strain the solenoid. Avoid prolonging warning lights related to the starter system as much as possible.

4. Consult with professionals

While labor costs are relatively high nowadays, bringing your car to a certified mechanic remains a good investment. You can prevent costly repairs if a trusted professional looks at your vehicle. Always consult with them if you have problems with your starter motor.

FAQ

Q1: How to Replace a Starter Solenoid?

While a solenoid is trivial in size, replacing it can be tedious, especially for beginners. Here’s a step-by-step guide to replacing your bad starter solenoid.

  • Step 1: Park the vehicle on a secure surface
  • Step 2: Jack up the car
  • Step 3: Disconnect the battery
  • Step 4: Locate the starter motor/solenoid
  • Step 5: Remove the bad starter solenoid
  • Step 6: Install the new replacement
  • Step 7: Reconnect the car battery
  • Step 8: Test the newly installed solenoid

Q2: How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Bad Starter Solenoid?

On average, you’ll spend at least $30 for parts up to $400, including labor fees. While the whole starter assembly is usually replaced as one, you can still opt for solenoid-only replacement.

The cost of replacing the starter solenoid will depend on the brand and labor rate in your area. While you can save money by doing it yourself, it can be time-consuming and tedious. Let a certified mechanic replace the part for you is recommended.

Q3: Starter Replacement Cost

En starter replacement costs around $400-$600, including the parts and labor fee.

Q4: What is the Starting and Charging System?

The starting system refers to the components that initiate the engine combustion. Said system is made up of the starter motor and the ignition switch. The charging system, on the other hand, refers to the car alternator. The alternator converts mechanical energy into electricity that recharges the battery.

Q5: Relay vs. Solenoid

Relay and solenoid are terms often interchanged. This case happens because such terms have similar functions as electromagnetic switches.

Both are devices that receive small electrical signals to close a particular circuit. But, a solenoid can handle a higher current than a relay. A relay is sometimes used to trigger the solenoid.

Q6: Is it dangerous to drive with a bad starter solenoid?

The most worrisome danger of driving with a bad starter solenoid is that you can get stranded when you turn off your engine.

The best thing to do is replace your solenoid once it shows signs of failure. Driving with a bad solenoid risks battery failure, which can cause further problems.

Conclusión

A starter solenoid may be a small component but has a large function. Its failure can result in bigger problems, so always be weary when there are signs of a problem with your car’s starter system.

You may not be able to pinpoint a solenoid problem, but you can point to issues affecting it. Remember that a solenoid, like every durable auto part, will eventually break down. It’s great if you can prolong its service, but it’s best to replace it timely once needed.