How to Know If Your Chevy Pickup Starter Is Bad

Written by mark robinson
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How to Know If Your Chevy Pickup Starter Is Bad
A failing starter motor can easily put you on the side of the road. (Old Grunge Truck image by Brenda Carson from

No automotive component is made to last forever, and the starter is no exception. Years of wear from use and exposure to intense engine heat can cause the starter's components, or the starter motor itself, to break down. A bad starter has a number of symptoms similar to those of a dead batter. It is important to rule out damaged wiring or an ailing battery before attempting to replace any starter components in your Chevy Pickup.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Jump leads
  • Battery charger

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Open the bonnet and locate the starter. In most Chevy trucks, the starter is located under the engine near the flywheel and transmission housing.

  2. 2

    Check the connections on the battery and starter solenoid, then check the condition of the wires leading to the solenoid. A loose connection or a damaged wire can cause issues that are similar to those of a bad starter. If you have a low or dead battery, recharge or jump start the battery, then attempt to start the vehicle.

  3. 3

    Start the vehicle by turning the ignition. If you can only hear a clicking sound, the starter solenoid might not be operating. If the starter engages with a grinding noise or simply spins, the solenoid gear might not be engaging the flywheel properly. Both are signs of a bad starter.

  4. 4

    Locate the positive and negative contacts on the starter solenoid. Place a long screwdriver on both contacts and have a partner start the truck. If the vehicle turns over, quickly remove the screwdriver from the solenoid. This signals problems with the starter solenoid. If the vehicle does not turn over, the starter motor needs replacement.

  5. 5

    Remove the starter and take the unit to a professional mechanic. He can easily determine whether the unit is bad with a number of diagnostic checks.

Tips and warnings

  • Take caution when jumping the starter solenoid. Leaving the screwdriver on the solenoid contacts for too long not only causes the starter motor to burn out, it can also result in the tool being arc-welded onto the solenoid. Use a screwdriver with a rubberised handle to minimise the risk of shock.

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