Motorcycle Starter Solenoid Clicking: What Does It Mean?


If you’re the owner of a motorcycle, then you’re likely familiar with the sound of the starter solenoid clicking. But what does that sound mean? Is your bike broken?

What makes the clicking sound on your bike? There’s a good chance that something is not aligned correctly with how magnets polarize their gear to turn wheels. These pieces of metal need magnetization for them to work as expected.

The first and most common reason your motorcycle clicks when you try to start it is because of a dead battery. Next, something could be wrong with the starter motor or flywheel (the part that spins against an impacted spring). 

Finally, if everything else seems fine, but this still doesn’t work for whatever reason, then maybe it’s due to a seized engine.

I have often run into this problem through the motorcycles I’ve owned these past few years. The least convenient moments usually come when you need your bike more than ever.

3 Reasons motorcycle Clicks Instead Of Starting

The first step in diagnosing your motorcycle’s problem is simple. Try turning the key and see if it clicks when you turn it to start, or try cranking from battery power without success before moving on to other tests.

Dead battery

The most likely reason for your motorcycle to click is a dead battery. Batteries are essential in starting up and running smoothly, so without one; you won’t be able to get the bike started at all! It’s also not fun when it takes forever just trying to start.

The threshold for a motorcycle battery to be considered fully charged is 12.6 volts, but if you want your electric bike’s power source ready when needed most (i e during intense riding), opt instead for one that provides more juice at higher rates of discharge such as 14 or 16volts.

When you try to start your bike, there should be at least 12.2 volts or 50% charge in the battery for it to work properly and click when clicked on. If not enough power is being sent through these outlets, nothing will happen – thus resulting in no clicking sound.

The motorcycle starter is a fascinating little device that starts up motorcycles with just the turn of a key. There are two parts to every motorized bike’s solenoid and magnet, which, when combined, will shoot out whatever gear is needed for your engine flywheel so it can spin wildly until all four strokes have been completed.

The clicking sound you hear when your bike battery dies is the flywheel magnetizing itself. If there isn’t enough power from a dead motor, it won’t be able to turn over and start up again.

If you have a bike that won’t start, charge the battery using the manufacturer’s instructions and test with a voltmeter. The reading should be at least 12.5 volts when hooked up to ensure proper motor operation.

Your battery could be reading 12.6 volts even if it doesn’t have enough current to start the bike! This is because batteries go into a mode when they’re low on charge and will show their full capacity by absorbing energy from somewhere else, like an electric motor or another vehicle’s ignition system.

Whatever you have been doing to maintain your bike, make sure it stays consistent. If the issue is still there after changing out batteries, then maybe look into other causes like a dirty air filter or low oil level and replace old cells with new ones.

Recognizing when a battery needs replacement will help avoid future problems down this road.

What Causes Motorcycle Battery Failure?

  • One of the quickest ways to kill your battery’s charge is by running an electrical component like lights or LCD while you’re not on a ride.
  • Your motorcycle’s battery charges as you ride it, but if you are left sitting with the lights on and no engine power going into that system, your battery will eventually be done.
  • The phantom we call parasitic drain is a common electricity killer. It’s usually found in grounded wires which leak power slowly, to the point where it can’t be detected.
  • The battery can lose its ability to hold current if it’s not winterized correctly. A frozen motorbike might seem like an odds-on favorite for repair, but don’t forget all the other dangers.
  • If you have a motorcycle but don’t use it often or for long periods, consider hooking your battery to an automatic charger. When next getting on the bike, there will be no clicking sound from trying to start as soon as the engine turns over.

The starter Failing

Your starter is what helps direct the magnetization of each part. It’s also responsible for assisting with polarizing forces during starting process by giving power from your battery.

It uses three main components:

  1. The starter relay is for bringing charge from the battery.
  2. The solenoid with an electromagnetic generator for activating the starter motor.
  3. The starter motor for cranking the engine flywheel into movement.

The clicking you hear is the starter gears struggling to turn over due to a failed magnetization.

It is possible that your starter relay may be the cause of failure when it comes to transferring power from battery banks. 

If this happens, you will not even get a clicking or turning sound from what’s typically heard before since there isn’t enough juice going into the magnet inside, which helps turn over an engine with no combustion happening yet.

The solenoid is the culprit behind your bike not starting. If its pulse isn’t strong enough, it will just make clicking sounds, leaving you with an unstartable engine.

If your starter is sputtering and struggles to turn over, you might consider rejuvenating the connectors. This can boost its life for years by cleaning off corrosion that’s accumulated on them.

When your solenoid wears out, it’s time for a new one. The motor could also be trash if you have an old starter constantly being used and not maintained properly.

When your starter starts giving out on you, it’s best to just buy a new one. Starter failures are usually more expensive in terms of time and hassle than fixing the problem with an upgrade part instead.

Engine is Seized

When an engine seizes, it causes all components inside to lock up and become too hot. This happens because parts like pistons, rings, rod bearings, etc., heat up, which welds them together, preventing movement or rotation until naturally cooling occurs without any damage whatsoever.

The clicking noise happens because the flywheel is unable to turn. The battery may provide enough power, but there’s an unbreakable amount of pressure on this piece that makes turning impossible, and sound comes out as a result.

When a seized engine clicks instead of starting, all motor parts are frozen and can’t turn the bearings.

Related: How to Bypass a Motorcycle Starter: The Ultimate Guide

What Causes A These Problems In The First Place?

There are a few different reasons why motorcycles click when you try to start them, but knowing what causes these problems in the first place can help us prevent their issues from happening again.

The battery can lose its charge when left on for too long or between uses. If you have lights that need to stay lit, ensure they’re turned off before storing your bike so the batteries don’t continue draining.

You can’t always tell when your motorcycle battery is running low or has died, but some warning signs will make you realize it’s time for an upgrade. 

The first sign might be a parasitic drain, which usually happens because poorly grounded wires make the cell slowly lose power over years without knowing it. 

In addition, poor maintenance practices such as not winterizing go hand with freezing bikes during cold weather, damaging their ability to perform properly.

You may think your motorcycle starter is doing fine when it’s just about to fail. A bike motor’s life span can be between 100-500 miles, depending on how often you ride and what conditions are like where they live (hot or cold). 

If you don’t change your motorcycle’s oil often enough, it can cause major problems. The most common issue is the lack of lubrication, which leads to seizing and starting issues because motorcycles have little space for engine parts without being covered in rust.

It also overheats due to poor maintenance or sitting around with no activity for an extended period which causes excessive corrosion inside the carborundum housing where pedals turn against each other. 

How To Fix A Clicking Motorcycle When Trying To Start It

The two most likely causes for clicking motorcycles are easily fixable. With some, you should be able to get back on the road in no time.

If your motorcycle battery won’t start, there’s a good chance it’s because of the charge. To get things going again, you’ll have to wait 8-20 hours for charging time, which can be inconvenient, if not impossible, during work hours or on busy days.

If you hear that clicking sound when charging your battery, take it in for testing at an automotive store.

You can’t just assume that because your volt gauge says 12.6 volts, there’s currently running through the battery and thus enough power for you to start up on a motorcycle.

Related: Symptoms Of A Bad Motorcycle Stator

How To Prevent Clicking

To ensure your motorcycle is operating at its peak efficiency, it’s important not to use any electrical components on the bike while off for an extended period. 

You should also connect a battery tender if you will be sitting around longer than necessary before riding again- this can help reduce strain & assist with winterizing procedures.

When it comes time for your starter, there’s not much you can do to prevent its aging. You’ll want to ensure that if you constantly crank longer than what is needed when starting a motorcycle, this will result in a shorter lifespan from the motor itself.

The most important thing you can do for your engine is keeping it well-oiled. Old or lack of motor oils will cause seize, making starting up impossible, so make sure that when the time comes around again, just like any other regular maintenance task – carry out an oil change.

Jim Harmer

I am Jim Harmer and I am in love with the outdoors. I share all the information I know on all activities I like doing in my home in this website. You are welcome to read and reach out for more information.

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