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Starter solenoid/relay? (car won't start)

About a month ago, my neutral safety switch was damaged and my 96 toyota paseo (5 speed manual transmission) wouldn’t start. I was able to start by sticking in a bent paper clip, which has been in the neutral safety switch ever since.

Now, my car again won’t start, but the radio/lights come on and a jump doesn’t help, so I’m pretty sure it’s not the battery. There is no clicking sound. I think it might be the starter solenoid or relay or the starter fuse, but really have no idea.

Any thoughts? Symptoms sound recognizable, or need to be clarified further?

I’d look into the area of that neutral safety switch first since that’s the last thing you touched.
Get a cheapy 12V circuit tester ( and put the long wire on any metal piece of the engine. Put the probe part on the starter relay. That’s the part that sits on top of the starter.
It has a thinner wire going to it.
Put it on that thinner wire and see if the light goes on when someone tries to start.
– If it doesn’t, your problem is not the starter or the relay on top of the starter. You’d have to trace it to the ignition switch or some sort of safety interlock (there may be one on the brake pedal as well).
– If it does light, put the probe part on the thicker wire without starting it.
------If it doesn’t light, there’s a bad contact between it and the battery.
------if it lights, it could be your starter or a bad connection from it to ground.

Report back.

Thanks RemcoW for your quick reply. I’ve borrowed an Extech miniTec 26 multimeter, and will use that to implement your suggestion.

Good! If you know how to read a schematic, this site has a lot of service information regarding your car:
To get in, enter barcode 02378001078755

Actually, that^ site is a source of all sorts of good info on all sorts of cars. Below see the wiring diagram to the starting circuit. If you have their alarm, that could also be at fault.

You’re getting good advice from Remco. You may have to invest in another paperclip.