Why ATV Starter Button Not Working? Reasons & Fixes

The starter button is a convenient way of firing up your ATV. It establishes your control between the ignition switch and the starter solenoid. However, ATV users sometimes find that their starter button isn’t working. 

One common reason for a non-working ATV starter button is the accumulation of dirt. The dust or grease in the button interferes with the power delivery to the starter motor. Other causes include faulty wiring, faulty solenoid, and bad battery.

Don’t lose your cool if your ATV starter button isn’t working. Use this guide to understand the reason and find the solution accordingly. 

How Does The ATV Starter Button Work?

The ATV starter button is a spring-assisted switch. You will usually find it on the right handlebar of your ATV. However, the location might vary according to the vehicle’s model. 

The starter button is essentially two metal contacts with a spring separating them. Pressing the button closes the contacts and sends an electric signal. 

The starter solenoid receives this signal and activates the starter motor. Consequently, the motor spins the flywheel, rotating the crankshaft and pistons. This initiates combustion in the engine. 

In most ATVs, the starter button is a prominent round or rectangular button that’s black or red in color. 

It’s usually a different button than the ignition switch. However, some vehicles might combine the starter button and ignition switch into one unit. 

For the starter button to work, the ignition key must be turned on. Plus, the kill switch should be in the run position, and the transmission should be in neutral/park mode. 

So, ensure these conditions are met before you decide the starter button isn’t working. 

5 Common Reasons And Fixes For ATV Starter Button Not Working 

Your ATV starter button can stop working for various reasons. For instance, dirt can make the button stuck and unresponsive. Sometimes, the reason might be a bad battery, faulty wiring, etc. 

1. Dirty ATV Starter Button

You should ensure the starter button is clean and intact before considering the other causes. The button can catch dirt from the driver’s hands or the environment. 

When dirt, grease, moisture and dirt accumulate in the button, they create a layer of insulation among the contacts. As a result, the button can send electrical signals to the solenoid properly. Thus preventing the engine from starting. 

In this case, cleaning the button can help you recover its function. Remove the surrounding panels and covers to access the button. Use a soft brush and cloth to clean the accumulated dust and dirt. 

Don’t forget to disconnect the battery before accessing the button. Use a multimeter to check the voltage continuity before and after the cleaning. The clean button is supposed to have better continuity. 

For a button that is too old or worn out, replacement is the best option. A new ATV starter button costs between $10-20. 

2. Battery Problems

If your ATV starter button isn’t dirty or broken, it’s probably the battery that’s bad. Your battery might be low on charge and, therefore, cannot deliver enough power to complete the circuit. Or, you have a damaged and old battery. 

Diagnosing an old (> five years) and worn-out battery shouldn’t be hard. Simply inspect the battery and inquire how long it has been in the ATV. A damaged battery might have bulges, cracks or will be leaking. 

Sometimes, a battery might be new or look like it’s in good condition. Here, the cause of malfunction can be a short circuit. In that case, you will find the battery overheating or throwing sparks. 

If the appearance doesn’t tell you anything, perform a multimeter test to check your battery’s performance. 

After a full charge, the battery must show 12.6 volts on the meter. If it’s lower than 12 volts, it won’t be able to provide the starter button enough power to complete the circuit and start the engine. 

You must change a visibly worn-out and old battery. Replacement costs are around $200.

If the battery is in relatively good condition, check its connections (wires, fuses, etc.) to find the cause of poor power delivery. 

3. Faulty Starter Button Wiring

A good battery doesn’t matter if the starter button itself has faulty wiring. Even if the battery is able to provide the required voltage, the starter button wouldn’t be able to deliver it to the solenoid. 

The usual cause of faulty wiring in your ATV’s starter button is rust and corrosion. Heat and vibration can also weaken the wires over time. There are also cases where insects or rodents had chewed the wires.

To fix the problem, you should start with an inspection. Remove the panel and expose the starter button’s wirings. 

Identify the wires connecting to the button. The ATV’s wiring diagram can be helpful in this case. Your targets are the wires connecting the ignition switch, the starter button and the solenoid. 

You can easily identify rusty or worn-out wires from their appearance. Corroded connections usually have a greenish powder around them. 

Cut out the rusty section when you spot them. Then, splice in a fresh piece of wire of the same gauge. Use wire nuts and electrical tapes to secure the new connections. 

If there’s corrosion in the starter button’s terminals, remove the damaged wire and clean the terminal. Then, solder in new wires. Once done, use a multimeter to check the voltage continuity in the new connections. 

You can also take the help of a professional auto repairman to fix faulty wirings. In that case, the parts and labor costs can combine up to $50-70. 

4. Ignition Switch Problem

Your starter button won’t work if the ignition switch is faulty. When you put in the ignition key, it sends an electrical current towards the starter solenoid. By pressing the starter button, the driver helps complete the circuit. 

A faulty ignition switch will fail to send this electrical current. As a result, you can’t start the engine even when the starter button is in good condition with proper wiring. 

The ignition switch can go bad for a lot of reasons. These include corroded wirings, loose or broken contacts or physical damage from being tampered with. 

You can hotwire the ATV to bypass the ignition switch and start your engine in emergencies. However, the permanent solution is to install a new ignition switch. Replacement costs are around $50-100. 

5. Malfunctioning Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid might be another reason for an unresponsive starter button. When you turn on the ignition key, the solenoid works as a relay and connects the battery and the starter motor. 

A bad solenoid is unable to perform this function. As a result, the engine fails to start when you press the button.

Stress and environmental factors can damage the solenoid over time. Also, excessive current can generate too much heat and burn the solenoid’s coils. 

If you can’t tell a bad solenoid from its appearance, use a multimeter to check the coil’s resistance. A solenoid that suffered heat damage will also give off smoke and a burnt smell. 

Many ATV users with a bad solenoid complain of a clicking sound when they press the starter button. 

In an emergency situation, you bypass the solenoid with a jumper cable. You would use the wire to create a direct connection between the battery and the starter motor. Thus taking the solenoid out of the equation. 

However, this is not a long-term solution. You should replace the bad solenoid as soon as you get the chance. A new ATV starter solenoid should not cost any more than $30. 

Can I Bypass The Starter Button To Start The Engine?

You can easily bypass the starter button to fire up your engine. However, it’s only recommended in emergencies. Otherwise, your best option is to put in a new button. 

To bypass the starter button, identify the wires leading to it from the ignition switch and cut them. Next, find and cut the wires that go from the starter button towards the starter solenoid. 

Now, splice the wires you’ve cut and secure the connection with electrical tape. Your ATV engine should start now when you turn the ignition key. 


Hopefully, you can easily fix an unresponsive starter button on your ATV. Have more questions on your mind? Feel free to ask here- 

Why can’t I find my ATV starter button on the handlebar?

The handlebar isn’t the only location for the ATV starter button. In some vehicles, the button is on the dashboard or under the seat. Meanwhile, some vehicles don’t have a button and feature a key switch. 

What are the dangers of bypassing the ATV starter button?

Bypassing the starter button can overload the ATV’s electrical system and cause irreparable damage to your vehicle. You might also accidentally touch an exposed wire and electrocute yourself. 

Can I replace the ATV starter button on my own?

You can perform an ATV starter button replacement if you follow safety protocols. For instance, disconnect the battery before you start. Also, wear protective gloves and use appropriate wire strippers and cutters. 

Final Words 

A malfunctioning starter button can cause panic, especially when you are stranded in a dangerous spot. 

Therefore, always check the condition of the button before embarking on an adventure. 

Regularly cleaning the button can significantly reduce the incidence of sudden malfunction. 

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