Starter Motor Testing

If your starter motor is refusing to turn your engine over, first check the battery has sufficient charge and is in god condition. Next, scrutinise the ends of both battery leads, plus the engine-to-chassis-to-body earth straps. The wires can end up making very poor contact where they’re crimped into the terminals. This can due be down to salt and moisture ingress or vibration. If they seem in good order, you’ve narrowed the fault down to the motor or solenoid. Test as shown in the diagram.

starter motor testing diagram
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6 Responses to “Starter Motor Testing”
  1. Andy Cole
    Andy Cole

    Really important to check the engine earth bonding strap as the alternative earth path could be via the choke or throttle cable and having 100s Amps passing through the petrol filled carb isn’t a good idea

    Reply
  2. Roger Holman
    Roger Holman

    Long cable runs lead to voltage drop. Automotive battery cable is often composed of a relatively small number of heavy strands and is hard an un-manageable. If making new battery cables, use welding cable which is softer and more pliable, and has a much greater number of fine strands, giving it a greate cross sectional area and therefore less resistance. Use it for both pos. and neg. Try fitting an extra earth strap from a starter mounting bolt direct to the chassis, or the battery if it is close enough, anything to improve the current path can help an apparently tired starter.

    Reply
  3. Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson

    Question, if you can help me. I have a Ford Sierra LX 1.8 CVH and I’m having trouble starting the engine, i have had the starter motor reconditioned and the alternator checked and a new battery fitted, still no joy turning the engine over, all it seems to do is click when the key is turned, i have even bought a new starter motor and the same thing happens. battery shows 12.49v help !!!!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Peter!

      Thanks for contacting Skill Shack with Practical Classics.

      Skill Shack works in partnership with Practical Classics Magazine, which can provide in-depth answers to your question through their ‘Ask Our Experts’ pages. If you’d like to direct your query to practicalclassicshelpline@bauermedia.co.uk our team of experts will be able to help.

      Kind Regards,

      The Skill Shack Team

      Reply
    • Ben Colpitts
      Ben Colpitts

      Peter. If your car has a starter relay you should also test that. Clean battery posts, clean cables and their contact points even if they look okay.

      Reply