4 Obvious Symptoms Of A Bad Motorcycle Starter

(Last Updated On: October 12, 2022)

Nothing is worse than going to start your motorcycle and realizing it will not start. There can be a lot of reasons why a motorcycle won’t start and a lot of the times it can be something wrong with the starter. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to know whether or not it’s your starter that’s causing this inconvenience.

So, what are the symptoms of a bad motorcycle starterSymptoms of a bad motorcycle starter may include the motorcycle not being able to start at all, the motorcycle only starting intermittently, hearing the starter running even when the engine has already started, and being able to hear a strange clicking sound from the starter.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your starter could very well be the culprit. Your starter is responsible for providing power from your battery to the motor. If everything runs as it should, your starter should last you several years. Alternatively, if your starter ever quits on you entirely, you could be stranded.

Common Symptoms Indicating Your Motorcycle Starter Is Bad

In order to understand what is going on with your motorcycle, it is important that you understand the starter circuitry and how it works. When you turn the ignition on, the starter motor is energized. This causes the electromagnet inside of the solenoid body to engage. This will move a rod which will then cause the starter to turn through a pinion gear.

The turning of the starter motor will then turn the vehicles engine over forcing it to suck air in and to have fuel injected. Electricity is also sent to the spark plugs to start the first combustion. This is how your engine starts and covers the basics of how your starter circuitry works. With this basic knowledge, you are now able to understand how this system can be diagnosed.

Your motorcycle generally will give you hints that something is failing. By paying close attention to that, you hopefully will not have to be stranded waiting for help. If you catch a failing starter soon enough, you may not have to replace it and could potentially just repair it instead. This will save you money and frustration down the road.

The first symptom you may notice is that your motorcycle will not start at all. If you go to start up your bike and it just will not turn over, it very well could be your starter. It is also important that you make sure that your battery is functioning as it should. If your battery voltage drops too low, you may not be able to supply enough amps to the starter in order to actually start it.

So even if all of your lights and everything work, but the bike still is not starting, the culprit could be either the battery or the starter. Measuring the voltage at the battery is a great way to determine whether the battery is the cause or the starter. Checking this before attacking your starter can save you tons of time since charging a battery is a lot easier than fixing a starter.

Another symptom of a failing starter is intermittent starting. Over time, the internal components of the starter begin to wear. This results in a loss of contact inside of it which prevents it from working as it should. This can lead to it intermittently working. A good way to test this is to wait until it won’t start. If you take a hard object like a hammer and tap the starter motor it will often times start up for you.

If you hear some sort of strange clicking noise coming from your starter, is likely the starter solenoid going bad. Over time, this noise occurs as corrosion starts to appear. There is a good way to rule out whether the solenoid is failing in this case vs. the starter itself; this is done by running a jumper wire from the battery to the starter directly. If nothing happens, then the starter is the problem. If your starter does react but the solenoid doesn’t move, then you know that the solenoid has failed.

Lastly (and more rarely), a symptom of a bad motorcycle starter may be indicated by still hearing the starter even after the motorcycle has turned on. Sometimes there are electrical shorts within the starter so even after the motorcycle has turned on, the starter still continues to try and start the motorcycle by delivering voltage. This will result in a grinding sound.

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