Enjoying a New Auto

Could a Faulty Relay Be the Simple Cause of Your Problem?

When a car fails to start first thing in the morning, its owner will typically fear the worst. They may fret about being late for work, but they may also see a large repair bill in the immediate future. However, the issue could be linked to a comparatively small part that should be quite cheap to repair, so there's no need to panic just yet. What could be going wrong with this early-morning drama?

Relay in Action

In order for the vehicle to start, power has to be transferred from your battery to a starter motor that is mounted on the side of the engine. A solenoid switch will activate the motor, and a gear will turn the crankshaft, forcing the engine to fire. However, for the current to be passed to the solenoid in the first place, a separate component (known as a relay) must activate. This is a relatively simple part, and it is effectively a bridge between a low-power and high-power circuit. Once activated, the relay will close, and this will allow current to flow to the solenoid directly, but if the relay is faulty, then nothing will happen.

Strange Sound

You may be able to hear a strange clicking noise when you turn over the ignition key. This could be a sign of a faulty starter relay, and the noise is a result of the connectors opening and closing in rapid succession. As long as you are sure that the battery has enough power, then this is most likely the source of the issue.

Confirming the Problem

You may also check by opening the bonnet of the car and touching the outside of the relay case while somebody else tries to turn the ignition over. You may be able to feel the movement within the relay, and this will confirm that it is no longer in full working order. Just make sure that you keep away from the engine or other parts that could move, should the vehicle happen to start. Some relays may exhibit signs of an issue before they fail entirely, and this is something to bear in mind.

Next Step

If you are not mechanically minded and do not know how to change an electronic relay, call in an auto electrician instead. They will confirm the problem but will also have a good look at the system, just in case another issue may be partly or wholly contributory.

To learn more, contact an auto electrician.