How To Test A Motorcycle, ATV & UTV Starter Relay

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Starter Relays play a crucial part in starting your machine, but when do you know if the Relay is bad or not? In this video we demonstrate how to test to see if your OEM Starter Relay needs replaced or if it’s just time for a new electrical component causing the problem. When troubleshooting your electrical components, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC has got you covered.

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Title : How To Test A Motorcycle, ATV & UTV Starter Relay
Video Length : “05:41
Channel | User | Playlist : Rocky Mountain ATV MC
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  • Hey Dustin, great video, it explains very well how a relay should work, why we need it, and how to test it. I have an 2004 Yamaha Grizzly 660 that keeps blowing a starter relay (30a fuse is not burning out).
    I can bypass the relay, by directly feeding the battery pos. cable to the cable going to the starter motor and the quad starts and runs fine.
    I have read online that the cause is usually a short somewhere in the electrical system. I don’t see anything wrong with the ground wire from the battery nor the wire that connects from the relay to the starter motor.
    Why would a relay burn out from a short and what your think may be the cause of a relay burning out. FYI, the fuse is not blowing.

    • *Imtiaz Vohra* –

      It is not very common for relays to fail however it is possible. I would remove the relay completely from the machine and statically test it; apply battery voltage to the relay’s terminals where the Blue with White and the Blue with Black wires in the harness connector make contact with the relays terminals 2 of the 4 terminals (4 pin connector) – you should be able to hear an audible click and measure resistance or continuity between the two posts on the relay (Battery Positive to Starter Motor) – If the relay tests good, then there could be several things going on: There may be too much resistance on the wire that connects the starter motor to the relay (corrosion), short to ground on the Blue with White wire between the starter relay and the ECM (not likely), a break or open on the Blue with Black wire that connects the relay to the start button, start button itself not making contact (corrosion inside of button) and lastly the start button may not have a solid connection to ground.

      It is possible for Relays to fail but again it is not all that common that they do. If the Relay doesn’t click when the start button is pressed then perform the static tests – if it passes then check the items listed above – if it fails static & dynamic tests then you will want to replace the starter relay.

      Good luck!


    • Dustin,
      Thanks for the quick reply.
      I have had over 5 relays fail in the past two years, and the last one fail after one use. 🙁
      With the relay on the bike, ignition on, in park, stop/start switch on start, when I hit the start button, I hear a faint click, but there is no voltage reading on the relay post to the starter motor. I’m assuming the main relay contact that is supposed to close the loop from the battery to the starter motor is failing to do what its supposed to do.
      The Battery reads over 12.5v and connections are tight. As I mentioned in my last post, if I were to “bypass” the relay, by directly connecting the starter motor wire to the positive terminal on the battery, the quad starts up and stays running until I shut it off using either the key or the start/stop switch.
      I checked the ground cable,from the battery neg terminal to the frame, for corrosion/break, but didnt find any, and I cleaned up the contact, just in case.
      I’m wondering if any other wires leading to the relay would cause the relay to “weaken” or “fail”. (Start/Stop button, neutral safety switch, or ignition key)

      Thanks again,

  • Hi , I need some help , I bypassed the starter relay on my bike by touching the two points with a screwdriver , now all electrics have failed on my bike , the main fuse connected to the red terminal on the battery is fine in tact , but could something else be gone on the bike not letting power go to everything ? Thanks

  • Pretty god demonstration. But you forgot to mention that id the contacts close and you get a high ohm reading or no ohm reading, one possible cause is the contacts inside the relay are burned or bad, and the relay will have to be replaced.

  • My relay clicks OK but the motor does not turn. The battery is full. This is intermittent. After a bump it starts as normal. Is this the relay or starter motor?

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