Solenoid starter?

My car is a 2001 mercury grand marquis i was driving down the road and my car just stalled on me i coasted into a parking lot i then tried to start it and it wouldn’t but all lights still came on. I called a wrecker when he got there he then said to turn key 5 or 6 times quickly he then said he heard clicking sound from under hood he said it was the starter solenoid. My question is if it was the starter solenoid would it cause my car to just stall while driving it and just quit on me. Can someone please help

I don’t think so, I think you have corroded battery cables or connections causing loss of power or ground or a bad engine to chassis ground. Power doesn’t go through the solenoid when the car is running.


I am betting on bad fuel pump, One has to diagnose it in failure mode to confirm the problem.

If the engine stopped and won’t crank, the engine may have seized. Did you check the oil level? Try turning
the crankshaft with a wrench or ratchet.

First, if tow truck drivers were good mechanics, they’d be mechanics. The pay is better and you’re less likely to be flattened by a semi. I have never had a tow where the driver properly diagnosed the problem. I snapped an axle awhile back, and the driver told me it wasn’t the axle because he was able to turn the steering wheel. I just nodded and pretended to believe him, because he was rescuing me from being stranded and why make him feel bad.

Any time someone looks to a starter when the engine stalls, you know they either don’t know what they’re doing, or missed details in the description of the problem. Once the engine is running, the starter’s job is done. It just sits there, doing nothing. It will not cause the engine to stall.

Based on what little we know so far, I’m leaning toward @oldtimer-11’s suggestion. Either you have bad cabling, or a bad battery, or a bad alternator. That would explain the car stalling (not enough electrical power to fire the spark plugs) and the failure to start (not enough electrical power to turn the starter). The lights coming on doesn’t mean that the battery isn’t drained or bad. It takes a lot less power to run the lights than it does to start the car, so a weak battery can still light stuff up without being able to turn the engine over.

First, we don’t know the age of the battery and how well the car was maintained.He should take an appointment with a local general mechanic to check his car inside and out.

A faulty starter solenoid wouldn’t cause the engine to stall. It might prevent the engine from cranking however when you tried to restart. Cranking is that rrr rrr rrr sound you hear with the key in start. I think the tow driver was just offering up the starter solenoid idea as the reason it wouldn’t crank, not the reason it stalled in the first place.

After a warm engine stalls in most cases it should still crank ok. I think that’s the important clue for this problem. Likely causes are:

  • Battery or alternator is failing
  • Engine has seized

I’d bet on the first of those, as an engine seizing up is pretty unusual. the first test for the battery alternator is to measure the battery voltage before the first start of the day. Engine unused for 6 or more hours in other words. It should be about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine it should be 13.5-15.5 volts. Ask you shop to make that measurement and tell us what they say.

BTW, you aren’t alone. My truck stalled in the middle of a busy intersection last summer. I got some passers-by to help push it into a parking lot, which fortuitously happened to be a parking lot for a hardware store. I bought the tools and stuff I needed at the store to effect the diagnosis and repair and was on my way in a couple of hours. In that case the problem was the ignition system.