Power Up Your Knowledge: Testing a Car Starter with Jumper Cables Outside the Vehicle

13 Jan 2024
Power Up Your Knowledge: Testing a Car Starter with Jumper Cables Outside the Vehicle
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Power Up Your Knowledge: Testing a Car Starter with Jumper Cables Outside the Vehicle


Testing a starter with jumper cables outside the car can be done using a simple procedure. Please note that this method involves direct contact with electrical components, and if you are not familiar with automotive electrical systems or don't feel confident doing it, it's best to seek help from a qualified mechanic. Additionally, ensure safety by wearing protective gloves and safety goggles when working with the starter and electrical components.


Here's how you can test the starter outside the car using jumper cables:


Materials Needed:

1. Jumper cables

2. 12V battery (fully charged)

3. Safety gloves

4. Safety goggles




1️⃣  Remove the Starter: 

First, you'll need to disconnect the starter from the vehicle. The starter is usually located near the engine and is connected to the flywheel or flexplate. You may need to consult the vehicle's service manual for specific instructions on removing the starter.


2️⃣  Identify the Starter Terminals: 

The starter typically has two terminals. One is the large positive terminal, usually connected directly to the battery, and the other is the smaller ''S'' terminal, which receives power from the ignition switch to engage the starter.


3️⃣  Connect the Jumper Cables: 

Take the positive (red) jumper cable and connect one end to the positive terminal of the 12V battery. Then, connect the other end of the red jumper cable to the large positive terminal on the starter.


4️⃣  Ground the Starter: 

Take the negative (black) jumper cable and connect one end to the negative terminal of the 12V battery. Now, find a clean, unpainted metal surface on the starter (such as a bolt or bracket) and connect the other end of the black jumper cable to this metal surface. This will ground the starter.


5️⃣  Engage the Starter: 

With the jumper cables connected properly, the starter should now be receiving power. To engage the starter, momentarily touch the other end of the positive (red) jumper cable to the ''S'' terminal on the starter. This simulates the signal from the ignition switch that tells the starter to engage.


6️⃣  Observe Starter Operation: 

When the ''S'' terminal is connected to the positive terminal of the battery, the starter motor should engage and spin the starter gear. You should hear a distinct clicking sound as the starter gear engages the flywheel or flexplate. Additionally, you will notice the starter motor spinning rapidly.


7️⃣  Disengage the Starter: 

As soon as you see the starter gear engaging and spinning, disconnect the positive (red) jumper cable from the ''S'' terminal. The starter gear should disengage and stop spinning.


8️⃣  Check for Issues: 

If the starter does not engage or spins slowly, there might be an issue with the starter motor or the electrical connections. Check the connections, and if the starter doesn't work properly, it may need to be repaired or replaced.


Remember that this test only checks if the starter motor itself is functioning. It does not verify the entire starting system, including the ignition switch, wiring, and other components. If you suspect other problems with your vehicle's starting system, it's best to have a professional mechanic diagnose and repair the issue.



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