Hello, my name is Walter. Over the past few months, I have been working on my car. I never used to think much about my car. I would just jump into it and hit the road. Things were fine at first, but soon I realised that things were starting to go wrong. Strange white smoke started to appear from the exhaust. Sometimes when I changed gear, I could hear a strange noise. Foolishly, I ignored all of this until my car broke down. When I got to the auto repair shop the mechanic repaired my car and then gave it a full service. As he did so, I began my auto servicing education.
When you turn the key in the ignition of your car or truck, you'd expect the engine to explode into life so you can set out on your journey. Yet, for this to happen, several individual components need to do their part in what seems outwardly like a simple operation. You could be stranded if one of those components does not work, but perhaps the starter relay is the simplest part. So what is this, and how do you know if it is faulty?
How the Starter System Works
The primary component in this event is the starter motor. This large device sits next to the engine flywheel and will engage with the flywheel to force it to turn. As the flywheel turns, so the crankshaft rotates, pushing the pistons up and down at the right moment. The fuel injection system comes into play, causing the necessary combustion to continue the process.
Steps in the Process
The starter motor relies on a heavy-duty current which it can only receive directly from the battery. However, it cannot always be connected to the battery as this would cause an unnecessary draw on the system. Instead, the starter solenoid initiates the connection with the battery at the moment when you turn the key in the ignition.
Engaging the Relay
There is one more step in this process. The solenoid itself is isolated from the battery until the associated relay is activated. The relay is a simple switch that is either in the on or off position and is the direct connection to the ignition key.
This may sound like a complex process, but it's designed to work in a fraction of a second. Still, the starter relay is a mechanical or electronic device that can sometimes fail, and you should be on the lookout for signs of such an issue.
Signs of an Issue
Sometimes, you may only hear a single click when you turn the key in the ignition. This indicates that power is not being delivered to the solenoid or starter motor, which may well be due to a defective relay. At other times, the contacts within the starter relay may have fused together in the closed position. In this case, the engine may not stop when you turn off the ignition switch. This situation may arise if there is a surge within the system, delivering too much power to the simple relay.
How to Get Help
If you suspect an issue with any part of your starter system, you need to bring in an auto electrics professional for their help.Share