How to Jump Solenoid With Screwdriver

Written by mark morris
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Having a vehicle, lawnmower or generator that won't start can be incredibly frustrating. Every internal combustion engine needs three things to start; spark, fuel, and air. Take away one of the three and you effectively disable the engine. Test your battery first, check the fuel tank and remove the air filter. If none of these work and you are getting no response to a twist of the key, the problem may well be the solenoid.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Rubber gloves

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  1. 1

    Locate the solenoid. If you have a manual for the engine, look up the starter and solenoid for tips on the location. It will either be directly attached to the starter, or in the cable between the starter and the battery. It is typically a cylinder with two bolts on top. These bolts will be attached to connectors directly on the battery cable.

  2. 2

    Choose a screwdriver with a long blade and an insulated handle, and wear heavy rubber gloves. Make sure that the ground is dry and that you are wearing rubber-soled shoes. The jolt from a solenoid is not overly dangerous, but to be avoided nonetheless.

  3. 3

    Put the key into the ignition and turn it to the on position. Make sure that all, arms, hands, fingers and clothing are clear of any moving parts before putting the screwdriver into position. Place the tip of the screwdriver against the post furthest away from you and bring the blade of the screwdriver into contact with the closer post. Be prepared. If the battery is charged, there is fuel in the tank and spark is present, the engine will at least attempt to start.

  4. 4

    Maintain contact between the two posts until the engine is fully started, then remove it carefully. It will be very hot; do not touch the blade with bare flesh until your have dipped it in a container of cool water to reduce the heat.

Tips and warnings

  • Not all solenoids are accessible. If the solenoid is where you cannot clearly see both posts of the solenoid, do not attempt jumping it as there is some risk of shock.
  • Jumping the solenoid is a temporary fix that should only be used in emergency situations. Make permanent repairs as soon as possible.

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