Starter solenoid doesn't engage when temperature is below freezing


Have you tried a new starter? Have you replaced the starter solenoid? Are you sure the battery has a full charge?

You gave so little information all you can expect in replies are requests for more info.

Could be anything from the ignition switch to the battery, but as said above, tis symptom is usually associated with needing a new starter (or installing new starter selenoid contacts on the existing starter). But before removing the starter, the voltages at both starter terminals (thick and thin wire) should be measured during attempted cranking. If either is below 10 volts, the problem may be elsewhere in the electrical system, and replacing the starter won’t help. Ask your mechanic to do the measurement. If you post those voltages, folks here can offer further opinions.

Same problem with a 2000 Blazer, replaced starter, fixed.

Yep, in old days replace solenoid, now replace whole starter/solenoid unit.

I have a 1996 small V8 1500 Silverado. I tried to check the connections to the solinoid but can’t do it without removing the starter since it has a heat shield protecting it. I did find a corroded ground wire from the engine block to the frame. I replaced it along with the relay which I understand can freeze up. I only had the problem when the temperature got below freezing. The solinoid always worked when the temperature was above freezing. I will wait until winter (Wisconsin) comes to see if everything still works. I have had the truck since it was new and have been fixing something ever since. KIDO

@KIDO Any 17 year old vehicle will need repairs from time to time

The auto electric shop where I take starters & alternators for rebuilding explained that the combination of worn contacts and cold temps tend to make starters fail intermittently. A good starter doesn’t care if the weather is cold, a marginal one does.

In January my starter was occasionally doing nothing, took a few twists of the key to get a response. I pulled the starter and had it rebuilt for $67. It’s been perfect ever since. Yours is due.

Price a remanufactured starter from who knows where, then compare with having yours rebuilt by somebody who runs his own electric shop in your city. I prefer doing business locally whenever I can.

Now that we are back to below freezing weather the truck has started fine a number of times. The relay tested OK. So I have concluded that the ground from the frame was the problem. Since I couldn’t get to the original grounding position on the block I attached it to the alternator and everything is fine now. So, fellows, don’t replace a starter until you check all wires, both positive and negative paths for a problem first.

@KIDO…the guys here gave you good advice because we have to assume that you had already checked the wires on your Silverado. Finding a corroded ground wire is equivalent to adding a “curve ball” in the question. It would be different if we had “hands on” your truck but that’s impossible in this day and age so we have to rely on experience and words to help you out. I’m glad you got your truck fixed though and your fix may help many others in the future.

@KIDO … fyi, future reference, you might be interested in reading these two tutorials on voltage drop testing.

Look at Uncle Turbos and GeorgeSanJose initial response…on the mark !