Scooter starter relay problems

Updated February 21, 2017

Buying a scooter is one of the best ways to save money on gas without giving up mobility. With proper care and maintenance, a quality scooter can provide years of trouble-free service. It is critical for scooter owners to have a few basic troubleshooting skills on hand to make it more affordable and safer to keep the scooter on the road. Problems with the starter relay, which transfers power to the engine, can stop your scooter in its tracks, so it is important to know how to fix this common problem.

Starting Elements

To start a scooter, four things need to happen: the ignition has to be on, so make sure the ignition switch is in the "on" position. Make sure the kill switch near the right handle grip is in the "on" position. If this switch is not turned on the scooter will not start. Squeeze the left brake lever when starting the scooter---the safety interlocks will prevent the scooter from starting if the brake is not on. Last, be sure the starter button has been depressed. If the starter relay is not able to transfer power to the starter motor the scooter will not start, so be sure to check the relay first.

Use a Test Light

If your scooter is not starting, use a test light to make sure there is adequate power. Use that test light to check the post at the starter to make sure it is hot. If the post is hot, the next thing to check is the wire that runs from the starter switch to the starter relay. When the starter is depressed the test light should register 12 volts. If the test light does not read 12 volts the starter switch is probably bad. If the reading is 12 volts, the starter relay is good and you should check the wire running from the starter relay to the solenoid. If that wire is not hot, the starter relay will need to be replaced.

Check for Spark

If the scooter turns over, but does not start, check for spark before doing any other troubleshooting. To check for spark, remove the spark plug from the cylinder, hold the tip of the plug against the cylinder head and crank the engine. If the ignition system is working properly, you should see a spark jump across the gap. If there is no spark, the ignition coil or electronic ignition module will need to be replaced. If the spark is good use a test light to check the wire which runs from the starter relay to the starter solenoid. If the test light registers insufficient voltage the starter relay is probably defective and will need to be replaced.

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About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.