What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Ignition Relay –

What Else Is Working?

Once you’ve established that your battery is fully charged, the next thing to do is to check your horn, headlights, interior lights, door locks, and four-way flashers. Next check to see if the radio, the wipers, and the turn signals work. Can you hear the fuel pump switch on when you turn the key? Do the lights inside and out dim if you try to crank the car? Note what works and what doesn’t and then move on to the next steps.


What are the symptoms of a bad starter relay?

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Starter RelayVehicle does not start. The most obvious warning sign that a problem with the starter relay exists is when the vehicle won’t start when you engage the ignition process. Starter stays on after engine started. Intermittent issues starting the vehicle. Clicking sound coming from the starter.

4. Starting relay position

The location of the start relay varies by vehicle

The location of the start relay varies by vehicle type and model. The fuse box (also called the power box), the instrument panel under the fuse panel, or the right fender are all possible locations. In most cars, it will be under the hood, in a large box with a black lid. This is where car fuses and relays are installed. It is also called a fuse box. This box is usually installed on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

Wires go in and out of the relay. However, many other relays have similar appearances in cars. The fuse box with the starter relay installed under the dashboard may be difficult to find or even remove. It may not be difficult to locate the starting relay attached to the fender wall. These relays are usually cylindrical and can be identified by their mounting posts and leads. If you are not sure which one is the starting relay, please refer to your service manual.

#3. The Starter Relay That Remains on, Even After The Engine Has Started

When you switch on the ignition key, the starter relay switches on, and the starter motor and starter solenoid begin operating.

Switching off the ignition key or button should have the opposite effect: the motor and starter solenoid should stop operation.

If this doesn’t happen and the starter relay remains on even long after the engine has started, the relay is faulty.

It could be that the relay’s contacts have welded together, something that happens from exposure to high currents over time.

You should take immediate action because this kind of fault can result in damage to the whole starter system.

What is the purpose of a relay switch on a car?

Automotive Relays and How They Work. Automotive relays of all shapes and sizes can be found in just about every car, truck, and even boats. Relays in general are used to enable a low amperage circuit to switch on or off a higher amperage circuit, like turning on your headlights.

Is an ignition relay the same as a starter relay?

No, although some will use the terms interchangeably. An ignition relay has a low-powered signal that starts the engine. The ignition relay signals the starter relay or solenoid and that relay activates the starter by switching on the starter circuit. 

How do you troubleshoot a start relay?

The symptoms could be due to a bad alternator or a dead or failing battery that needs changing or replacement. To find the actual cost of the problem, you have to conduct some tests on starter relay circuitry. 

Do not panic! You can perform the test yourself. In the following few paragraphs, we’ll explain how to test a starter relay in a simplified way.

Diagnosing the starter relay is pretty easy due to its location. All you need is proper tools and, of course, knowledge. 

Needed materials:

Needed materials:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Test lights
  • A piece of wire to act as a jumper
  • Wrenches and socket sets (in case you need to lose anything).

Testing the starter relay

Before starting the test, get a fully charged battery and a portable jumper cable. Or you can test your car battery and ensure it’s well-charged and not the cost of your problem. Be careful with the testing process and mind how you place the jumper cables on the battery terminals.

The testing procedures

Find the starter relay fuse location. The fuse location may vary from vehicle to vehicle. The fuses are majorly located close to the battery sitting with the positive battery terminal connected to it.

Have an assistant help you turn the ignition key to the ON position. If you hear a weak click sound, you’ll need to conduct an electrical resistance test. But if you hear an audible click, you need to diagnose the starter relay for voltage drop.

Diagnosing for electrical resistance

1). Get a test light, preferably a multimeter, and set it on the ohms scale. Contact one of the probes on the earth lead and the other on the ignition circuit terminal. A good starter relay should read below 5 ohms. Any reading above that indicates a defective relay.

2). The second method of diagnosing resistance is contacting the red multimeter probe to the ignition circuit wire and the other probe to the earth wire. If it reads less than 12V when you turn on the ignition switch, it indicates a faulty relay.

3). The third and final method of testing electrical resistance in our list is by using a portable jumper cable. Connect the battery lead and the ignition circuit lead. A strong click from the relay tells it’s working pretty fine. And a single or couple of weak clicks shows you have a faulty relay that needs a replacement.

Diagnosing for voltage drop

1). Reset your multimeter to be on 20V DC

2). Contact the red probe of the multimeter on the red terminal lead from the battery. Place the black and thin wire on the lead that goes to the ignition circuit lead switch. 

3). Tell your assistant to turn the ignition key to the ON position as you examine the multimeter reading. The voltage should not be above 0.2V. If the multimeter reads above 0.2V, either you have a bad starter relay or a problem with the electrical conductivity of the starter relay that needs proper attention. You have to check the connectors and clean them.


Another symptom that can be caused by various issues is stalling. However if it is related to the ignition it will most often happen when your vehicle is traveling down the road, not while sitting idle.

What Happens When Starter Relay Goes Bad?

The battery’s electrical signal cannot reach the starting motor when the starter relay malfunctions. As a result, your car engine will likely not start, no matter how you turn the ignition. When you turn on the ignition, a faulty relay makes an audible clicking sound.

Even when the ignition key is removed, the starter motor may run. The starter and transmission flywheel are quickly damaged due to this scenario. While a broken starter relay could be blamed, the most common cause is a binding ignition lock cylinder. Call a mechanic immediately when you notice such a symptom and hear this noise.

Tip: Rotate the lock cylinder to see if it’s stuck. You’ve found the source of the problem if this rotation causes the starter motor to halt. 

How To Check Starter Relay

To learn how to check the starter relay fuse, follow the steps below.

Step One

Ascertain that the vehicle is securely parked and that the transmission is in the neutral or parked position. You don’t want the car to drive forward by accident while working under the hood.

Step Two

Acquire a fully charged battery and a portable jumper before doing the test. Alternatively, ensure your car battery is fully charged and not the root of your issue. During the trial, pay close attention to how the jumper cable is connected to the battery terminal.

Step Three

Examine the terminals on the battery and the starter. Check for corrosion, dirt, and debris. Disconnect the minus battery cable and set it aside before cleaning the corroded terminals.

Remove the positive battery cable and set it aside. Ascertain that the wires do not contact the battery terminals by accident. Baking soda, water, and a wire brush c can be used to clean corroded terminals. The starter terminals should be cleaned if necessary. Disconnect the batteries’ cables.

Step Four

Connect the positive battery post with a jumper wire. It’s fine to leave the jumper wire attached for a short period now that the battery connection to the starter has been severed. With a digital voltmeter, check the resistance between terminals 30 and 87.

It should have a resistance of less than one ohm. If the opposition is more than one ohm, the relay is not working correctly. Change the relay. Reconnect the relay’s battery and critical switch connections. The positive battery cable should be reconnected. Reconnect the negative battery cable once it is secure on the battery post.

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4. Burned relay

In certain instances it may be possible for the relay to overheat to the point of burning up and melting. Apart from cutting off power to the vehicle’s ignition relay and causing performance issues, a burned relay may melt onto the fuse panel. This may make it difficult to remove, and in some instances can even lead to the replacement of the entire fuse box.

While servicing the ignition relay is not generally considered routine maintenance, it can sometimes fail and cause major issues for the vehicle. If you suspect that your ignition relay may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the relay should be replaced.

Where is the Ignition Relay Located?

The ignition relay is often located in the fuse bo

The ignition relay is often located in the fuse box under the hood. It can also be located in a fuse box under the dashboard inside of the car.

The ignition relay’s exact location may differ from vehicle to vehicle depending on the design of the vehicle and the company that manufactured it.

To easily locate the ignition relay and identify it properly, you may refer to the service manual provided to you by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It will be located in the relay panel, along with many other relays installed on it.

6. How to test the starting relay?



  1. Fully charged battery
  2. A portable jumper cable manufacturing technology
  3. Baking soda, water and wire brush


Safety glasses and gloves

Step 1

Ensure that the car is parked safely and the transmission is in neutral or parked state. When working under the hood, you don’t want the vehicle to move forward accidentally.

Step 2

Before testing, prepare a fully charged battery and a portable jumper. Or, you can check your car battery to make sure it is fully charged and not the source of your problem. During the whole test, please pay attention to how to connect the jumper cable to the battery terminal.

Step 3

Check the connection terminals on the battery and starter. Make sure they are free of rust, oil, dust and debris. Before cleaning corroded terminals, disconnect the negative battery cable and set it aside. Remove the battery positive cable from the battery and set it aside. Take care to prevent the cables from accidentally contacting the battery terminals. Use baking soda, water and a wire brush to clean the rusty terminals. If necessary, clean the starter terminal. If possible, disconnect the battery cable.

Step 4

The cable from the starting solenoid to the starting relay should be followed. There are four terminals on the relay. Two smaller wires are used to “turn on” the relay and come from the critical switching circuit. Two larger wires connect from the battery to the starter, carrying the battery voltage. Remove the wires from the starter relay and mark the two smaller wires so that they can be reconnected appropriately. Connect one end of the jumper wire to the chassis ground. Terminal 86 should be connected to the other end.

Step 5

Connect a jumper wire to the positive terminal of the battery. Since the connection between the battery and the starter has been cut off, the jumper can be connected for a short time. A digital voltmeter should be used to measure the resistance between terminals 30 and 87. Its resistance should be less than 1 ohm. If the resistance is greater than 1 ohm, the relay does not work. The relay needs to be replaced.

Blown Starter Fuse Symptom Or Sign

What are the symptoms of a blown starting fuse? The most typical sign of a blown starting relay is that your car will not start. The auto starter relay fuse may have blown if you cannot begin your automobile. 

The automobile will not start no matter how many times you attempt. If you hear a clicking sound when trying to start the vehicle, it’s possible that the starting relay hasn’t entirely failed. If you know your way around an ignition system, you must diagnose it in any instance.

Bad Starter Relay Sound

A malfunctioning relay generally makes an audible clicking sound when you turn your car. If your starter relay fails, the electrical signal from the battery to the starter motor will never reach it. Consequently, your engine will not start no matter how you turn the key.

Signs of a bad starter solenoid

Because it is more common to run into problems with the starter solenoid than with a plug-in relay, for our purposes we will focus on symptoms related to the solenoid. Consider these possible signs of a failing or bad starter solenoid when you turn the key:

  1. Nothing happens. If you engage the ignition and it does nothing, there are a number of problems that could account. One possibility is the solenoid.
  2. A single “click” sound comes from the engine compartment or from under the car. This could mean that the solenoid is trying to engage but that the internal components are stuck and unable to work properly.
  3. Repeated “clicking” sounds usually indicate a dead battery. But a faulty solenoid that fails to make adequate electrical contact inside can also produce this tell-tale sound causing the battery to have low voltage unable to provide enough power to start your engine.
  4. Sometimes a bad starter solenoid, instead of preventing the engine from starting, may cause it to start on its own without the key being turned to the “start” position.” This less-common problem can be dangerous and should be addressed immediately.
  5. If the starter engages but does not disengage when you let go of the key, the solenoid is likely bad and the starter may suffer significant damage as a result.
  6. Sometimes your car starts, sometimes it doesn’t. Intermittent operation can be a sign of a failing starter solenoid.

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