How to Get a Truck to Start With a Bad Starter

A Person Holding A Car Key

In semi-trucks, starters are the workhorses that get the powerful engines going. Your truck’s starter acts as a bridge between the truck’s electrical system (battery) and the mechanical system or the engine. Without the starter, even a well-maintained truck will not start.

Luckily, a bad starter does not necessarily mean your big rig is dead. There are a couple of tricks you can use to get yourself going again. Here is how to start a semi-truck with a bad starter.

Start With a Tap

The most common way to start a truck from the starter is to tap the starter itself with a metal object. Have someone hold the key in the start position, then locate the solenoid and tap it gently a few times.

If the starter cranks the engine, even momentarily, it could be a sign of a sticky or faulty solenoid. If nothing happens when you tap the starter, it is probably dead.

Use Auxiliary Power

Most semi-trucks come with an alternative start system, commonly known as an auxiliary start system. The system is designed to bypass a bad starter and get the engine started using a different power source.

Some trucks have a designated switch or button in the cabin labeled “Auxiliary Start” or “Jump Start” or something similar. Once you locate it, press and hold it for a few seconds. If it is in working order, the system will isolate the bad starter and crank the engine using auxiliary power.

Try Push-Starting the Truck

This method relies on using the truck’s momentum to crank the engine, hence bypassing the starter.

Put the truck in neutral and ask a few people to help push it until you’re going about 5–10 mph. After that, switch to a lower gear, preferably 2–3, and quickly release the clutch so the engine starts.

Alternatively, you can ask another driver with a semi-truck or truck to help tow your vehicle until you achieve the desired momentum to get the truck to start with a bad starter.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you try everything to no avail, it is best to seek help from a mechanic. This will help prevent the problem from worsening and save you money in the long run. So, if you are looking for the best commercial truck repair shop in Gainesville, look no further than Road Rescue, Inc. We can help diagnose and fix your truck to get you back on the road in no time.