Skip to content

Harley Click of Death: Is Your Ride Doomed?

harley click of death

Harley Davidson is quite easily one of the most iconic brands in the world. However, even the best machines can experience issues. One of the most common problems that Harley riders face is the “Harley click of death.” This is a sound that riders hear when they try to start their bike but the engine fails to turn over. The click of death can be frustrating and worrisome, but it is not necessarily a death sentence for your bike.

The click of death is often caused by a faulty starter solenoid or relay switch. These components are responsible for sending an electrical current to the starter motor, which then turns the engine over. If the solenoid or relay switch is not working properly, the starter motor will not receive the necessary current to start the engine. This can result in the click of death sound that so many Harley riders have experienced.

Fortunately, there are ways to fix the click of death issue. One solution is to replace the starter solenoid or relay switch. This can be done relatively easily by a mechanic or someone with basic mechanical skills. Another solution is to install a remote direct starter solenoid button, which can bypass the faulty solenoid or relay switch. By taking these steps, you can get your Harley back on the road and enjoy the ride without worrying about the click of death.

What is the Harley Click of Death?

The Harley Click of Death is a term used to describe a clicking sound that occurs when trying to start a Harley Davidson motorcycle. This sound is typically heard when the rider turns the key to start the engine. Instead of the engine roaring to life, the rider hears a rapid clicking sound, which can also be accompanied by dimming lights on the dashboard.

The clicking sound is caused by a problem with the starting system of the motorcycle. The starter motor is not able to turn the engine over, which causes the clicking sound. The most common cause of the Harley Click of Death is a dead battery, but there are other reasons why this problem can occur.

Other possible causes of the Harley Click of Death include a faulty starter motor, a bad solenoid, or a loose connection in the starting circuit. You need to diagnose the problem correctly to avoid unnecessary repairs and expenses. A Harley Davidson dealer or a qualified mechanic can help diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate solution.

Causes of the Harley Click of Death

Battery Issues

The Harley Click of Death is often caused by a weak or dead battery. If the battery isn’t holding a charge, it may be time to replace it. A battery that’s not fully charged can also cause the click of death. Make sure to charge your battery if you’re facing this problem before attempting to start your motorcycle.

Another common cause of the click of death related to the battery is corroded connections. Corrosion can prevent the battery from delivering the necessary power to start the engine. Check your battery terminals and cables for signs of corrosion; you can give them a quick clean if necessary.

Starter Problems

A faulty starter motor can also cause the Harley Click of Death. If the starter motor isn’t working properly, it may produce a clicking sound instead of turning the engine over.

Another possible cause of starter problems is a faulty starter solenoid. The solenoid engages the starter motor when you press the starter button. If the solenoid is not working, it can cause the clicking sound you hear.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues can also cause the Harley Click of Death. A blown fuse or a faulty relay will prevent the starter motor from working properly. Check your fuses and relays to make sure they are not blown or damaged.

Another possible cause of electrical issues is a faulty ignition switch. The ignition switch sends power to the starter motor when you turn the key. If the ignition switch isn’t working properly, it can prevent the starter motor from turning over.

It is important to note that the click of death can also be caused by a combination of these issues. If you are unsure of the cause, it is best to consult a professional mechanic.

Symptoms of the Harley Click of Death

When you turn the ignition key of your Harley-Davidson and hear a clicking sound, it could be a sign of a serious problem. The clicking sound is often referred to as the “Harley Click of Death” and can indicate several issues with your bike’s electrical system. Here are the most common symptoms of the Harley Click of Death:

Clicking Sound

The most obvious symptom of the Harley Click of Death is a clicking sound when you try to start your bike. This sound is usually coming from the starter solenoid, which engages the starter motor. When the solenoid clicks but the starter motor doesn’t engage, it could be due to a weak battery, a faulty solenoid, or a damaged starter motor.

Engine Not Starting

If your bike’s engine doesn’t start after you hear the clicking sound, it could be due to a number of reasons. The most common cause is a dead battery, which can be caused by leaving your lights on or not riding your bike for an extended period of time. Other possible causes include a faulty starter motor or solenoid, a bad ignition switch, or a damaged wiring harness.

Dimming Lights

If you notice that your bike’s lights are dimming when you try to start the engine, it could be a sign of a weak battery. When the battery is weak, it may not have enough power to turn on the engine, causing the solenoid to click but the starter motor not to engage. Other possible causes of dimming lights include a faulty voltage regulator or a damaged alternator.

If you have any symptoms, it’s important to have your bike checked by a mechanic asap. Ignoring it will lead to bigger issues and costly repairs later on.

Diagnosing the Harley Click of Death

Testing the Battery

The first step in diagnosing the Harley Click of Death is to test the battery. A weak or discharged battery can cause a clicking sound. Use a multimeter and measure the battery voltage. A fully charged battery should be right around 12.6 volts. If the battery voltage is low, recharge the battery and test it again. If the battery still reads low, it may be time to replace it.

Checking the Starter

If the battery is not the issue, the next step is to check the starter. The starter may be worn out or damaged, causing the clicking sound. Use a multimeter to test the starter’s resistance. The resistance should be between 0.2 and 0.6 ohms. If the resistance is outside this range, the starter may need to be replaced.

You should also check the starter solenoid. It is responsible for engaging the starter motor. You can do this by using a multimeter to check the solenoid’s resistance. The resistance should be between 4 and 5 ohms. If the resistance is outside this range, the solenoid may need to be replaced.

Testing the Electrical System

If the battery and starter are not the issues, the problem may be with the electrical system. Check all electrical connections and wiring for damage or corrosion. Use a multimeter to test the voltage at various points in the electrical system. The voltage should be consistent throughout the system. If there are any voltage drops or fluctuations, it could be an issue with the wiring or connections.

You should also check the fuses and relays in the electrical system. A blown fuse or faulty relay can cause a clicking sound. Use a multimeter to test the fuses and relays. Replace any that are faulty.

By following these steps, you can diagnose the Harley Click of Death and determine the root cause of the problem. Make sure you figure out these issues to prevent further damage to your motorcycle.

Fixing the Harley Click of Death

Replacing the Battery

Hearing a clicking sound when you try to start your Harley could be a sure sign of a weak or dead battery. The first thing you should check is the battery. You can do this by using a multimeter to measure the voltage. If the voltage is below 12.5 volts, you should consider replacing the battery.

Here are the steps to replace the battery:

  • Remove the seat and then first disconnect the negative cable from the battery.
  • Remove the positive cable from the battery.
  • Remove the battery from the bike.
  • Install the new battery in reverse.
  • Reconnect the negative cable last.

Replacing the Starter

If the battery is not the issue, the next thing to check is the starter. The starter could be worn out or damaged, causing the clicking sound. Here are the steps to replace the starter:

  • Remove the primary cover and the starter motor from the bike.
  • Disconnect the wires from the starter motor.
  • Install the new starter motor in reverse order.
  • Reconnect the wires to the starter motor.
  • Install the primary cover and the starter motor on the bike.

Repairing the Electrical System

If the battery and starter are not the issues, the problem could be with the electrical system. Here are some steps to repair the electrical system:

  • Check wiring for damage or loose connections.
  • Check fuses and replace blown ones.
  • Check the ignition switch and replace it if necessary.
  • Check the solenoid and replace it if necessary.
  • Check the voltage regulator and replace it if necessary.

If you are not comfortable working on the electrical system, it is best to take your Harley to a professional mechanic.

Preventing the Harley Click of Death

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to preventing the Harley Click of Death. This includes checking the battery, cables, and connections for signs of wear or damage. It’s also important to keep the battery charged and replace it when necessary. Additionally, regularly inspecting and replacing worn spark plugs can prevent starting issues.

Another important aspect of regular maintenance is keeping the fuel system clean. This includes regularly changing the fuel filter and using high-quality fuel. Dirty fuel can clog the fuel injectors and cause starting issues.

Using Quality Parts

Using quality parts is essential to preventing the Harley Click of Death. Cheaper, low-quality parts can wear out quickly and cause starting issues. When replacing parts, it’s important to use OEM or high-quality aftermarket parts.

One common cause of the Harley Click of Death is a bad starter solenoid. When replacing the solenoid, it’s important to use a high-quality part to prevent further issues.

Proper Storage

Proper storage can also prevent the Harley Click of Death. When storing your Harley, it’s important to keep the battery charged and disconnected to prevent draining. It’s probably not a bad idea to use a battery tender to help maintain the battery’s charge.

Additionally, storing your Harley in a dry, cool place can prevent moisture buildup and rust. Covering your bike with a breathable cover can also protect it from dust and debris.

By following these preventative tips, you can avoid the Harley Click of Death and ensure your bike runs nice and smooth for years to come.