Hello, I'm Jason. I will do my best to answer your question quickly and accurately using the information you have provided.
There is a starter solenoid, but it's part of the starter assembly itself
When you're having trouble starting, is there any noise at all?
Yes, like a tic, tic, tic. not the dreaded dead battery sound.
Ok, sorry for the delay here...
had to run out to the shop briefly
so, this turns into a bit of process of elimination
And actually, your description of the noise does actually sound possibly battery-related
So, here are the steps
1) definite battery test, meaning voltage and load test2) if battery passes both tests, when there is a starting problem, time to check for voltage at the small electrical terminal on the starter. Needs to be battery voltage when the key is turned to the start position3) if you see voltage there, and the battery is good, then replace the starter
If you don't see voltage here then we will have to go down another path, but that path is dependent on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission
when my son was trying to start it he was using jumper cables. The car had been sitting for awhile.
even with cables, if the battery is very low, it won't accept a jump
He said it would turn over but not engage
ok, that's something different than what was originally described
So the engine is spinning over just fine, but just won't start?
still with me?
yes i am here. waiting to talk with my son. it sounded from his description like the starter was turning over but not engaging the engine.
gotcha. Please let me know for sure, because the troubleshooting steps are quite different for a crank, no-start, and no-crank no-start scenarios
ok, i may need to get back to you later. how would i continue this later?
I'll convert it to email, then you can reply as needed