How To Diagnose A Bad Starter, Ignition, Neutral Safety Switch!




What do you think about this video?

kelly miller: Thanks for the video I have a 2003 Honda Element. I wanted to test the switch and neutral safety switch before swapping out the starter and didn't know how til this watching this. 

Fwaz Fj: thank you 

Brian Hunter: have a 99 5 spd cavalier 2.2, when i push my clutch in, also in neutral, i turn my key over and nothing. no turn over. new starter, battery is fine, have been having to push jump it lately, im thinking neutral safety switch, but not completely sure. any ideas?

Todd Dolce: ImRamro,.... Ok....I got the no start today and I did as you said and tried to start it in Neutral......It WORKED!! I was shocked! So.....I'm guessing it is the neutral safety switch! Is that a difficult and/or costly fix for this old 97 F150?

Gail B: Thank you. I think I can show this to my mechanic tomorrow and it will save us a trip to have Autozone check it for us.

Flappykillmore: I have a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse, the only noise it makes is a soft humming sound when I turn the key. (Fuel Pump Engaging) Then after trying over & over it eventually turns over & starts. Then it runs great from there! Done this for the past week, turned it on about 10 times, check engine light just came on today saying "Crank Shaft Sensor", but I was told the car would turn & run like sh*t. So we've bought a new starter & we're gonna put that in. What do you think? Our local mechanics said there is no way it's the sensor if it's running fine. If it was the crankshaft sensor then the car wouldn't turn over, but it'd crank. But it doesn't even do that so I assume it's the starter right? Replaced the Clutch switch, started 30 times consecutively, then failed later that night. So assume it was just a lucky part of the starter. Suggestions?

goheat77: I have an exytra bolt, its an unloader wire and everthing else you have there. ground, unloader wire, ignition wire, and big red wire. how do you dianose that one?

salamatzamo: cant your obd scan tool tell you if your starter is bad

Warren Bewley: I do not mean to be critical. But if your battery was bad, it could still have enough juice to light up the small bulb on the tester, but not enough to turn over the starter which requires a lot of power. Before they go to the trouble and expense of replacing the starter, can't you put a screwdriver across the terminals on the starter momentarily and see if it spins to make sure?

2bu4musik: Great video! Time for me to invest in a test light. Thank you.

Christopher Duecaster: ok the principles are there and i agree with most of the steps but try back probing the connection with a pin instead of making the female plug too big to make a connection or there is my favorite superglue and a sowing needle- to pierce the the wire cheek for power cover the hole with glue to seal less parts to take off

robert jernigan: I have a 96 Nissan Sentra that i had a cranking problem with, i would turn the key and nothing! I changed the neutral saftey switch first and still nothing, so then i bought battery cables and same story nothing lol when i came across this video is when i bought a tester light and tested the ignition wire as shown in the vid, i had no power going to the wire so i purchased a new tumbler/ign switch installed it and she fired right up!!! Thanks for the help...

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1234abc341: I have a 03 toyota 4 runner it is does not started i preplaced a new starter and still not started,but when i turn the key on it's light up but not crank. Sometime start in neutral position instad parking.

coolslider2011: SORRY TO SAY but you are wrong on a couple of things there is no ground cable or nut on the starters the starter receives its ground from the requirement of being bolted to the engine. there are 3 nuts on a starter the nut with the copper is a power line but it only has power when the key is turned because the key activates power to the smaller nut engaging the solenoid and once the solenoid is engaged it closes a circuit allowing 12v power to flow from main nut to 2nd main nut.

oldguy8177able: i was told if difficult to start nentral or park is neutral safety switch ,which is problem i had,i took it to a good autoelectrican took about 30 secs he said was ignition switch because when you turn key fast it starts turn it slow does'nt,anyway problem sorted i had this for about 5 years

tpcoachfix: The bare copper wire IS NOT a ground wire! It feeds battery power to the starter motor from the battery feed post on the solenoid when you turn the key to the start position and the solenoid becomes energized. The starter motor gets it ground from the engine block.

Lilsmf06: Spent too much time explaining the same crap over and over and over. Booooooo!!!!

andres bee: Thnx for the vid. I sometimes have this issue with my 99 buick century. It struggles to fully crank so I step on the gas whichbit helps most of times. I hear a grindin soumd and thumping at the same time plus white smokes comes out the muffler. When i do have problems i have to keep mybfoot on the gas sonit wont turn off. Sometimes when its failin tonturn on it would just click once and i would have to leave it alone for days. A mechanic read my starter at 75

ImRamro: Sounds like the solenoid that is mounted to the starter. The solenoid gets energized and throws the gear out to turn the flywheel. It could be something else, but my Cadillac is having the same problem and it is my solenoid. You can test it with a voltometer, but a delay is usually the solenoid taking a long time to energize. I would replace the starter or remove the starter and replace the solenoid.

ImRamro: Sounds like the fusable link? The battery should have a wire that is attached to the positive cable. This wire is not the super thick main cable, but a heavy gauge wire about 1/2 as thick as a pencil. This is a wire that has a fuse inside of it, this wire is called the fusible link. All it is is a heavy wire with a fuse or thinner wire inside that will blow to save your components. It should run to the starter solenoid. The wire should have a lump in it. I had the same problem once, good luck.

ImRamro: If the car cranks, then the battery is still working. I would check for spark first. You can do this with a spark tester or removing one spark plug wire and sticking a screw driver in the spark plug boot. Then lat the plug wire with the screw driver inside it real close to something metal on the engine. When you crank the car, you should see a small blue spark jumping from the screw driver to the piece of metal. Don't touch the screw driver metal when you do this or it will give you a shock.

ImRamro: Thanks for watching and the comment. I have worked on all kinds of cars and I still need to watch YouTube videos to work problems out.

billbo1154: my starter runs all the time even whene the key is off. help.

Triston Walker: yes the motor sputtering like it wants to die

ImRamro: The intermittent starting problem can be the neutral safety switch? The easiest way to check it would be to test the wire like we did in the video. #1 You can try moving the gear shifter rapidly through the gears, then return to park and turn the key. #2 You can also try and start the car in neutral? If one of these two things start the car, it may be the neutral safety switch? It could be something else of course like battery cables or the ignition? You can make your own shims out of alum can

Timothy James Dean: Thanks Ramro - if it's that simple, I'll be delighted! I hadn't thought to search for a fuse in the line itself. I pulled and checked all the heavy-duty fuses I could see in the under-hood fuse box; 30 - 50 amp, and none of them were blown. I'll let you know.

ImRamro: When it sounds like it is missing, is the motor sputtering like it wants to die or the flywheel grinding? Get back to me on the missing thing and we can work it out.

ImRamro: Yes, the principle is the same. If the motor is cranking, but not starting then it may not be the starter? If the car is turning over/cranking then the starter is doing its job. Can you describe the problem a little better and maybe we can solve it?

ImRamro: The most common problem would be a neutral safety switch, but that is just a guess? I would have someone who is a little mechanical take a tester light or ohm reader and check the small wire on the starter. This will tell you if you are getting power to the starter, If you read anything near 12 volts then your ignition and neutral safety are good and it is the starter again. If there is no power reaching the starter then it is in the ignition or neutral safety switch. Try starting it in neutral?

kenonehunna: hay everytime i try to start my car i here a clickin sound...its been settin for 2 days now in its still clickin i think i just need a new starter

Arturo Menchaca: I have a 95 Chevy Pickup...it seems that the starter stays engaged with the key in the on position. I changed the ignition cylinder first, because in the past, the truck would crank to start when the key was turned back to the accessory position. That didn't eliminate the constant crank. Replaced the starter and solenoid(bench test failed) but the condition remains the same. I'm guessing the Ignition Switch would be next, but would hate to go through that trouble for nothing. Any ideas? Thx

Mark Forrest: I have 2000 Nissan Maxima.. when i go to turn it over, all dash lights come but all i get is 1 click thats it!! Please help email me at stallionstats09@aol.com for any info that u may have...

RockinDigger1 (Detectorist): yes the solenoid would be the easiest for me ha i will have them test it more than once

Eric Williams: My 94 caddilac deville have a starting problem. Only when the engine is completely cold , the car car starts rite up. So the temperature of the engine is effecting my starter motor. So is it the selonoid or that armature and pinion gear?

101Unit101: Hey there I just recently had my starter replaced and now that it's been replaced it makes a nasty squeel or it seems to struggle to get a grasp to roll the engine... It does turn on now but I feel like it shouldn't be doing this... I'm not sure if it's kind of like a break in type thing cause it's brand new but yea just wondering if I should be concerned. Also my remote starter doesn't seem to work anymore?! Is there something that might be correlated to that?

Rello E: Hey what would be the proper way to jump start the solenoid with screwdrivers?

ImRamro: The dash shuts off when you turn the key? If the dash shuts off when you turn the key then it sounds like a ground wire? Get back to me please.

Melissa Kio: Question: 1996 Ford Taurus, 3.0. Car will only start if it's in drive, reverse, overdrive; however it will not start in park. I have to put the emergency break on, to put it in park or try really hard to get it in park. What are your thoughts? Thanks:)

tino tino: This is incorrect. The fact the light turned on, doesn't mean your STARTER is bad. It could mean the solenoid is bad. The ignition wire goes to the solenoid... which is a relay basically.... so if that solenoid is bad, it will not provide he starter with any positive (+) power. You have to do one more test to determine if the starter is bad or if it's the solenoid.

sandalanalyst: ANNNNND it could just be a bad solenoid.. if you tested that other bigger terminal that goes into the brushes when you turn the key and its NOT going hot.. its just a bad solenoid.. if it is going hot.. and the starters still not doing anything its the starter.... those solenoids are replaceable that are mounted to the starter too.. some places might tell you not but you can get just the solenoid

ImRamro: It is probably the starter going out. The solenoid that is mounted to the starter as (one unit) is probably going bad. These type of starters can give you problems for a year or two before they break completely. The easiest thing would be to clean the battery terminals and battery cables, a bad starter wire or starter overheating can cause this problem too. I am pretty sure it is the starter and AutoZone or Oreiley's can test the starter for you for free.

alfro0925: @ImRamro did you get stumped by my question, or did you just forget after you got home from work?

orgaomet: I have a 74 international scout and I installed a new battery. It started just fine, but the next day the new battery was dead! I charged the battery and started it again. This time, I disconected the battery cables to see if the alternator is bad; the engine and electrical kept running after disconecting the battery wires. Can the the started solenoid be bad? Any suggestions? THANK YOU!

moofushu: Is there a way to diagnose when a starter is GOING bad? I recently changed my starter and had to change it in the street because that is where the car wouldn't crank anymore. If I knew it the last time I cranked it I would have parked it in the driveway. The only thing I noticed was it cranked differently the last two times I started my truck. The only thing was I thought I had more time. I'm just looking for a way to catch it before it completely goes out.

ImRamro: oops

ImRamro: It should not squeal like that and needs no break in period. Is it a grinding sound or a high pitch squeal? Does the sound occur just after the car starts or does the sound start the instant the key is turned? Sounds like the problem can be the new starter is faulty which happens often, or the starter needs to be shimmed? If the sound is grinding then the starter may be grinding on the flywheel and the starter needs shims? Autozone will test the starter for free if you want to remove it?

ImRamro: I have to be honest here, I have never worked on a Fiat before? The idol going up and down sounds like a loose hose or some vacuum leak caused by an unplugged or damaged small diameter hose in the engine compartment, or loose intake manifold. The car not starting after warming?? The compression could be extremely low caused by pistons or rings, you can test it cheaply with a compression tester. The starter/solenoid could be getting too hot and need to be (shielded) insulated or replaced.?

BumpinThatBass: i've got a problem! ive got an '07 monte carlo, when i turn the key to start it does nothing "at all" i have to hold for about 3 seconds for the car to start. it used to fire right up immidiately once i turned to start. what do you think is causing this delay?

ImRamro: Mine tested fine a few times, but failed on the third try. If they test it and say it is good, just please have them test it 3 times. Most people just buy the whole starter, but you could just replace the solenoid if you wanted? I would replace the whole unit, just to be safe. Good luck.

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