How to Test a Starter Motor: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Test a Starter Motor
Are you struggling with starter motor problems and wondering if it is possible to test a starter without removing it? Perhaps you’re wondering how to bench test a starter motor before reinstalling it into your vehicle.
As a car owner, starter motor issues can be frustrating, especially if you’re unsure about how to diagnose and fix the problem. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to test a starter motor, including bench-testing techniques and methods for diagnosing common starter motor problems. Keep on reading to discover the solutions to how to fix starter motor problems.

How to Test a Starter Motor

There are some necessary steps that you should take before testing a starter motor. The first step is to clean the battery and terminals. If there is corrosion on the terminals, it may prevent proper contact between them and the starter solenoid.
Wiring Diagram of Starter Test Figure
To proceed, here are the eight steps about how to test a starter motor.Make sure the battery is fully charged before testing it.
Step 1: Disconnect the battery
Before beginning any work on your vehicle’s electrical system, it is important to disconnect the battery to prevent any accidental electrical shocks or damage to your vehicle’s electrical components.
Step 2: Locate the starter motor
The starter motor is typically located near the bottom of the engine, and it is connected to the vehicle’s battery and ignition system by a series of wires and cables.
Step 3: Check the connections
Make sure that all of the connections to the starter motor are clean and tight, including the battery cables and any other electrical connections.
Step 4: Check the battery
Check the battery to make sure it has enough charge to start the engine. You can use a multimeter to test the battery’s voltage, and if the voltage is low, you may need to recharge or replace the battery.
Step 5: Check the starter solenoid
The starter solenoid is a small device attached to the starter motor that controls the flow of electrical current to the motor. Use a multimeter to test the solenoid’s connections and make sure it is functioning correctly.
Check the starter solenoid
Step 6: Check the starter motor’s electrical connections
Use a multimeter to test the starter motor’s electrical connections and make sure that there is continuity throughout the system.
Step 7: Bench test the starter motor
To bench test the starter motor, connect it to a battery charger and ground the body of the motor. The motor should spin freely and smoothly, without any unusual noises or vibrations.
Step 8: Reinstall the starter motor
If the starter motor passes all of these tests, you can reinstall it and reconnect the battery. Start the engine to confirm that the starter motor is working correctly.

Troubleshooting a Starter Motor

Now that you know what a bad starter motor looks like, let’s get into the troubleshooting process. If you suspect that your starter motor is the problem, there are some things you can try before going to the repair shop or buying a new one.

Identifying the problem

The first step in troubleshooting a starter motor is to identify the problem. This can be done by listening for any abnormal sounds, checking for loose wires, and inspecting the battery and starter connections. By knowing the signs of failing a starter motor, even a casual car owner with little to no experience can diagnose the problem. If you are not sure what to listen to, there are many videos online that can show you what sounds like a bad starter motor.

Testing the wiring

Next, you should test the wiring to ensure that there are no breaks or shorts. You can use a multimeter to check for continuity and voltage along the wiring. You should also check for any corrosion, which can cause a break in the wiring. If you find corrosion, try cleaning it off with rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth. If you are not confident to do this yourself, make sure to have an expert mechanic check it over. An expert mechanic is sure to have all the tools, experience, and knowledge to get your car back on the road in no time. Make sure to do your research to find a reliable mechanic near you. You can also ask for recommendations whether it is from your family, friends, co-workers, or even a local mechanic shop. Once you find the right person to service your car, they will be able to help you with any other repairs or maintenance issues that you may have in the future.
Next, is that you should test the wiring to ensure that there are no break or shorts. A multimeter can be used to test the wiring. You should also make sure that there are no loose connections or corroded terminals. Corrosion is a common problem in starter motors, and it can cause the wiring to break and short circuit. Test all the wires for resistance with no load on them. If there is any resistance, then this will indicate that the wire has broken somewhere along its length.

Replacing the starter motor

If the problem cannot be identified or fixed through testing the wiring, then it may be necessary to replace the starter motor. It is important to choose the correct replacement starter motor for your vehicle and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. If you know someone or a trusted place to source the right starter motor, you can have them install it for you. If not, then you may need to take your car to a mechanic who can perform this task.


Understanding how to test a starter motor is an essential skill for any car owner or mechanic. Testing a starter motor allows you to diagnose starting problems, ensure that the vehicle is functioning correctly, and save time and money on unnecessary repairs. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can properly test the starter motor, including checking the battery voltage and safety switches, and troubleshooting wiring issues.
It is important to prioritize safety when testing a starter motor and to consult with a professional mechanic if you are unsure about any aspect of the process. While some people may use alternative methods, such as testing a starter motor with a battery or screwdriver, these methods can be dangerous and may cause further damage to the vehicle. Therefore, it is recommended to follow the steps outlined in this article for the safest and most effective testing process. By learning how to test a starter motor, you can ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly and avoid any potential starting problems in the future.
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