The starter relay (sometimes referred to as starter solenoid) is an electromagnetic switch that regulates the voltage from the battery to the starter when the ignition is in the “start” position. It is part of the basic starter control circuit operated by the powertrain control module (PCM) and consists of the ignition switch, relatively low amperage wiring, and neutral/clutch safety switch. If the PCM notices a problem with the starter relay circuit, a P0615 will be logged by on-board diagnostics (OBD).
What Does the P0615 Code Mean?
As the ignition switch is turned to the “start” position, battery voltage reaches the starter relay, completing the control circuit. The relay has its own ground or can be controlled by the PCM. A relay that’s controlled by the PCM relies on input signals from the ignition switch and other sensors and switches.
Once the engine cranks, the relay gets enough power to pull the high amperage relay contacts closed, completing the cranking circuit to the starter. Windings in the circuit help keep the contacts closed while letting power flow to the starter motor.
A problem with the starter relay can alert the PCM that the entire circuit is not functioning as it should. This will cause the PCM to log a P0615 code.
Note: The definition of code P0615 might be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.
What are the Common Causes of the P0615 Code?
- Starter relay failure
- Starter failure
- Wiring issues
- PCM failure
What are the Common Symptoms of the P0615 Code?
- Engine won’t crank
- Illuminated check engine light
- Engine won’t start
How to Diagnose the P0615 Code
Although P0615 is a generic powertrain code, keep in mind that the steps for diagnosis and repair can vary depending on vehicle specifications. Diagnosing trouble codes like this one can also involve voltage checks and other advanced procedures.
If you’re not familiar with the process of diagnosing trouble codes, it might be best to leave the job to the pros. But if you think you can handle the issue on your own, then you can go ahead and do it yourself.
To help you out, here are some videos you might want to check out before you begin:
How to Fix the P0615 Code
Attempting to fix a DTC P0615 can be frustrating without the right tools and technical knowledge. Under these circumstances, it’s best to have a certified mechanic do the job for you to ensure that all steps and protocols are followed correctly.
If you plan on working on your vehicle on your own, make sure you’re equipped with the correct repair information. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an umbrella fix that works for all makes and models. Remember to check out vehicle-specific guides like those from Chilton or an ALLDATA subscription before attempting any fixes.
Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.