Are all solenoids equal?


Hi, I have a 1996 Infiniti I30. I know very little about cars, but am learning bit by bit. The starter went bad. I had it “replaced” ($250+). Then the windshield wiper fluid pump stopped working. I know that the starter has a solenoid and that the wiper fluid pump has a solenoid…is it possible to interchange them? For instance, is it possible to “repair” the starter by switching its solenoid with the one from the wiper pump? Thanks in advance for helping me learn and giving my suspicions more accurate perspective!!


Not in this case. The solenoid for the starter pulls the gear into engagement with the flywheel and connects the starter to the battery passing 200-400 amps of current in the process. I don’t know what size the solenoid on the washer pump would be but just visual comparison of the two would indicate that the two are not compatible.

Ask any questions you want. Someone will give you an answer


No they are all different. A solenoid is a magnetic switch and just like switches there are hundreds of different types for different applications.



The solenoid for the starter pulls the gear into engagement with the flywheel

Isn’t this the job of the bendix assembly? The solenoid supplies current from the battery, the motor spins up and the bendix extends the starter motor gear to engage the flywheel or flexplate.


this is why there are many different flavors of ice cream.

you are correct in your assesment of a solenoid and bendix. the solenoid is on the elctrical side and give a jolt of high amperage current to make the starter work. once the voltage gets to the starter and it turns, then the centrifugal force of the spinning drive shaft flips out the bendix to engage the flywheel (thus starting the engine). once the key is released the shaft stops spinning and the spring on the shaft forces the bendix gear back ‘home’ away from the ring gear.

however your original question is: are the solenoids interchangable? NOPE. sorry go buy new!


Thanks to all for your feedback. I’ve learned, the answer to my question about switching solenoids is a simple: NO. This is good news…I have no need to think I’ve been cheated. My car must have indeed gotten a new starter…or at least a new solenoid? Bottom line: hopefully my car got what I paid for. I wonder one last thing: could there be some other issue that would have caused BOTH solenoids to die? In other words, is there something that affects both the starter and the wiper pump? Thanks again for all of your replies!


Coincidence. Only shared item is the electrical voltage and if it is high enough to burn out either you would also lose the radio, lights, you name it.


The term “bendix” is really an old company name for the starter drive. Bendix made them for years and maybe still does. Like the word “kleenex”, its commonly used.

Nothing to do with the OP’s problem. Just a small factoid.