Because they’re fairly straightforward and require few moving parts, refrigerators usually have an excellent lifespan of between 11 and 15 years. A unit that no longer cools down or makes strange noises isn’t necessarily beyond repair. In many cases, all that’s needed is replacing the starter relay to make a fridge work like new—a simple job you can do yourself.

Before we start…Although a faulty start relay is often the cause of the problem, it’s not the only possible explanation. Don’t attempt this repair unless you know with certainty that replacing this part is necessary. When in doubt, it’s best to make an appointment with one of our technicians to carry out a diagnosis and avoid buying an unnecessary replacement part.

What’s a fridge start relay?

The start relay manages the compressor’s power supply. This part activates the compressor when the refrigerator’s interior temperature rises above the thermostat setting. If it’s damaged, the refrigerator may make clicking noises when its compressor tries to start.

Precautions before repairing a refrigerator

Read your user’s manual: the following is the most common approach, but special instructions may apply for your refrigerator model.

Before starting any work, unplug the appliance and remove it from its location.

1. Unscrew the refrigerator access panel.

It’s usually located at the back of the unit, at the bottom.

2. Remove the cap that hides the start relay and the overloadrelay.

3.Disconnect and remove the start relay and the overload relay and replace them with new ones..

In some refrigerator models, the start relay and overload relay are combined into a single unit. This configuration tends to overheat and cause issues; we recommend replacing this combined united with two separate parts. In this case, you’ll need two wires and suitable connectors to complete the repair. These wires must be connected to the capacitor, the start relay and the overload relay. If you order through our Parts Department, these wires can be added to your purchase.

4. Replace the cap, screw back the access panel and reconnect the unit.

If you hear the compressor start up, mission accomplished!

Where can I buy a refrigerator start relay?

This replacement part is sold in some hardware stores and on the Internet. But to make things easier, you can simply contact our Parts Department. By letting them know the make, model and serial number of your appliance, our advisors will be able to identify the exact start relay you need, and arrange for delivery or pick-up.

Order your parts online