It seems to happen particularly when the bike is hot. But sometimes when I go to start up the bike, the solenoid will click, but the starter won't turn over. Tapping the starter with a hammer always seems to fix it.

Do I just need a new starter?

In case it helps, the bike is an 2007 HD Electra Glide Standard.


2 Answers 2


Could be the carbon brushes that are almost worn out. These brushes ensure the electrical connection between the stationary and rotary parts of the starter motor. Tapping the motor could shift the position of one or both brushes enough to make a connection, thus rotating the motor.

Brushes are probably comparatively cheap and potentially easy to replace.

Image from www.hallvw.clara.net/starter.htm
Image from http://www.hallvw.clara.net/starter.htm

  • true, although the mechanics I spoke to when I had a car that required the odd application of blunt force said at this stage it is often best to just get a whole new starter.
    – Rory Alsop
    Apr 26, 2012 at 9:49
  • @RoryAlsop There may be some degree of truth to that :) Had OP's bike been a '80 Suzuki worth next to nothing, the cheap brush fix would probably have been more reasonable than on a '07 HD.
    – jensgram
    Apr 26, 2012 at 11:52

You may want to inspect the electrical connections to ensure they are tight and not corroded, but most likely you will need a new starter.

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