2008 GMC Sierra no crank, but clicks once.

Asked by Jan 01, 2017 at 06:26 PM about the 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE1 Crew Cab 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I got out of work the other day walked to my truck,
it started right up like any other day. I got home,
shut the truck off and went inside. I go out to my
truck at 2:30 am to go to work and my truck will
not crank, it clicks only one time. In order to repeat
the clicking, you must cycle the key off then
attempt to start it again. I checked all of the fuses
under the hood. No go. I replaced the battery with a
spare battery, No go. I cleaned all the connections
on the starter and added some dielectric grease.
No go. The only things I can think of now would be
the starter went kaput, the neutral safety switch, or
maybe the ignition switch. Does anyone have any
other ideas? Maybe something I am unaware of?
Also, please be advised, I do not have a multimeter
to perform electrical diagnosis. Any help from ya'll
would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance!!

14 Answers


First you need to know if that battery is good for sure, a low battery and or bad connections, or a bad cable all would cause the clicking noise that comes from the starter. But also it is possible there is something wrong with the starter. All you would have to do is take it off and have it load tested to see if it is working properly.


Red neck starter test: have someone hold the key in the crank position and whack the starter with a rock, or a hammer, if it cranks over then you need another starter. Just make sure the park brake is set and the wheels blocked.

I attempted several different batteries, including one from my wife's vehicle. I also gave the starter a few good 'technical taps'. No symptom change at all. What are the odds it could be a starter relay? It's a 2008 Sierra 4.8L with 133,000 miles


If the noise is coming from the starter, the relay would be working.

So if the clicking is coming from the starter, it's safe the assume the starter has gone bad. Or should I do something to check the neutral safety switch?


No if it is clicking then that is also working, then without any meters your just going to chance it and replace the starter, but get a name brand one, not a store special, might be a little more money but you won't be back under there in a month doing again.

To be safe, I could take the starter to an auto parts store to have it tested. At least then I will know for sure.


Yes you could do that but most parts stores don't have the abality to load the starter so the only thing that will tell you is that it will run but it still might not be able to pull the load of an engine. So all you would get is a loud click and maybe a hum. Make sense?

So if I take the starter out and leave it connected, and attempt to start the truck, if the starter spins it would be the starter. If it doesn't spin, it would be something else.


If you take the starter out and leave it hanging it won't spin, no ground. The starter might spin if you ground it but that won't be a viable test as you can't load the starter like it would be if bolted on, but if it doesn't spin even when grounded then it is for sure the starter.


You take the starter out it would not work, there is no ground. You would have to disconnect it from the vehicle and use some jumper cables from a battery to the starter. The ground to the outer case, and the positive to the top large terminal, then cross over with a screw driver to the small wire terminal. You would need to hang on to the starter as it has a lot of torque and want to move. Don't be scared.

Well, I took the starter and battery to the local auto parts store. I had them both load tested. The battery tested good as I thought it would. The starter spun, but the solenoid did not kick out the starter gear like it should have. I had it tested 3 times to be certain. So I gather that the copper coil in the solenoid was not energizing and therefore not kicking out the starter gear. I replaced the starter, added some dielectric grease, and cleaned up all the connecting wires again. I turned the key, and she started up like a champ.


Alright. Back on the road again.


Glad to hear it.

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