Motorcycle Clicks Instead Of Starting (Reasons)
We often encounter situations where our motorcycles click instead of start, which can be both frustrating and concerning. Here are a few common reasons this may happen.
Failing Starter Relay
A primary reason our motorcycles may click instead of starting is due to a faulty starter. The starter plays a crucial role in cranking the engine. If it malfunctions, the engine won't start.
The starter is responsible for cranking the engine, so we can experience major issues without it. Inspect the starter for basic wear and damage. You should also look for proper electrical connections to ensure it works correctly.
A motorcycle starter works in three steps. First, the starter relay will collect power from the battery to trigger the solenoid. Then the solenoid uses that power to activate the starter motor.
The starter motor then cranks the engine flywheel. This movement gets the pistons moving and triggers the bike to start. So if the starter relay fails, there is no way to trigger the electromagnetic generator for power.
A dead battery is one of the most common reasons for this clicking sound. The battery might not have enough power to crank the engine, causing the clicking noise.
Ensure the motorcycle’s battery is fully charged and functioning properly to rule out this issue. When the battery is dead, there is no way for it to generate enough power. The clicking noise means you need to charge it or get a new battery.
One solution is to use a battery tender to help the bike maintain a charge. This is a cheap accessory that can be found at any auto parts store.
Loose or corroded electrical connections can cause your motorcycle to click instead of start. These faulty connections may prevent the necessary voltage from reaching the starter to ignite the piston process. This results in a dead battery or low battery power.
A seized motorcycle engine is another potential cause for a clicking noise when starting the bike. When you turn the key in the ignition switch, the bike will not start and only click.
Before checking the engine, I always look at the clutch switch and kill switch first. If I can eliminate these two components as a potential cause, I will analyze what's wrong with my engine.
A seized engine happens because of poor lubrication. This forces the pistons, rings, or rod bearings to get stuck. When they get stuck, they can also overheat, fuse together, and seize. So the clicking noise tells us that the engine flywheel is trying to move, but it cannot rotate.
Understanding Why a Motorcycle Clicks Instead Of Starting
When we try to start our motorcycles, hearing a clicking sound instead of the engine roaring to life can be frustrating. There are a few key reasons for this issue, as we mentioned.
This table explains the problem, what causes it to happen, and the ideal solution. In most cases, visiting a professional mechanic is the best way to fix the clicking noise quickly.
How To Fix Motorcycle Clicking
We've identified the common reasons for a motorcycle clicking instead of starting. Now, let's explore some solutions to get your motorcycle up and running again.
Charging or Replacing the Motorcycle Battery
As a dead battery is often the root cause of clicking, begin by charging it. If charging doesn't help, it might be time to replace it. A new, fully charged battery should provide enough power to start the engine.
The most common reason why the battery dies is that you leave an electrical component running while the bike is off. Allow at least 2-3 hours to recharge a motorcycle battery.
Solenoid Repair or Replacement
If the starter solenoid is causing the clicking issue, clean the connectors to improve the solenoid's performance. Sometimes, simply removing rust from the terminals may solve the problem.
However, if cleaning doesn't work, consider replacing the solenoid. This will quickly solve the issue, help improve battery voltage delivery, and improve the motorcycle starting process.
Starter Motor Replacement
Another possible cause is a faulty starter motor. In this case, replacement is the best solution. A new starter motor should successfully engage the bike's engine, eliminating the clicking sound.
Cleaning or Repairing Electrical Connections
Ensure all electrical connections between the battery, solenoid, and starter are clean and secure. Over time, corrosion and wear can cause poor connections, leading to clicking sounds.
Clean any corroded terminals and tighten loose connections to avoid any issues. Keep in mind these solutions as you troubleshoot your motorcycle's clicking issue.
By addressing these common causes, you'll be back on the road in no time. Always consult a professional mechanic for assistance if you're unsure how to execute these repairs.
How To Prevent Motorcycle Clicking In The Future
To avoid facing the frustration of motorcycle clicking instead of starting, it's essential to perform regular maintenance. Here are a few ways to prevent future clicking issues:
Routine Battery Maintenance
Regular battery maintenance is key to preventing clicking issues. Ensure you check and maintain the battery's health by keeping it clean, charging it occasionally when not in use, and replacing it when needed.
Always look out for signs of a weak battery, such as dimming headlights, slow cranking, or trouble starting the bike.
Electrical System Inspections
Checking and maintaining the electrical system is vital for avoiding clicking problems. Inspect the connections, cables, relays, and solenoid for signs of wear or corrosion.
Repair or replace any damaged parts as needed. Checking the wiring regularly can help prevent electrical issues that may cause clicking.
Regular Oil Changes & Motorcycle Engine Care
Maintaining your engine is crucial in preventing clicking and other starting issues. Perform regular motorcycle oil changes and use the recommended oil type for your motorcycle.
This will help reduce the chances of engine seizure, which can also cause clicking. Pay attention to any unusual noises, performance issues, or warning lights and promptly address them.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley