12.7V at solenoid connection to battery cable. Key to start and a good click but nothing happens. I tap the solenoid 2-3 times with a hammer, then turn the key and starter will engage and all is good. A month or three later same thing happens. After about a year, the tapping wouldn't fix the problem. Replaced starter with a remanufactured. Two months later same problem. Same fix. Car is 2002 PT Cruiser, I'm original owner. I pulled the starter, opened the solenoid. How to analyze the problem?Thank you.

2 Answers 2


This is usually caused by the starter motor armature shaft bushings wearing out. Because of the worn out bushings the armature shaft gets skewed off its axis and binds in the bushing. Tapping the solenoid with a hammer (you could also tap the starter body and get the same result) frees the shaft and allows the motor to turn.

If low quality bushings were installed in your rebuilt starter (or the rebuilder did not change the bushings) then the same problem could appear. Not all parts are always replaced during a rebuild. Sometimes the rebuilder will clean up the unit install new brushes, an new one-way clutch, and a solenoid only.


Thank you. I bought a brand new starter and it arrived with a test report. Report seems legit and all ok, except solenoid results. It indicates "Close Test (Pull in); FAIL" and "Open test: FAIL". Emailed manufacturer, awaiting a reply.

  • That doesn’t sound like a good result for a brand new starter. I would recommend returning it for a refund.
    – Bob Cross
    Apr 24, 2019 at 22:16

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