9 Extremely Simple Ways To Bypass Your Refrigerator’s Start Relay (Guide)


If your refrigerator unit is suddenly overheating and making a ticking sound, or if it’s not cooling, it normally should, but it sounds like it is operating, the refrigerator start relay could be broken. A refrigerator start relay is an apparatus usually located upon the compressor and aims to jump-start the compressor regularly.

The compressor in the refrigerator does not constantly run throughout the day. Instead, it switches on and off throughout the cooling process to keep the appliance at the right temperature setting. And since the start relay is the device that powers the refrigerator, the compressor won’t operate without it.

That being said, you may have to go around and bypass the start relay in your refrigerator. Bypassing the start relay entails bypassing the thermal overload, which may harm your equipment. Suppose you accidentally leave the start relay bypass running for an excessive amount of time. In that case, a bypass overload may occur, overheating your refrigerator and causing other components to malfunction and break.

Understand that a start relay bypass is just a short-term remedy, and consequently, you need to get your start relay replaced by an expert as soon as it can be done.

And with that, we at DaDongNY will walk you through the procedures you must take to ensure you can safely bypass the start relay within your refrigerator. So without further ado, get on board to discover how you can do it.

What Exactly Does A Start Relay On Your Refrigerator Do?

A start relay serves as an electrical switch that powers the unit’s compressor, which is responsible for generating the cold air around your refrigerator to keep your food and beverages chilled. It helps the compressor by alerting it when to turn on and off depending on the equipment’s need for cool air. The start relay preserves energy, maintains the effective operation of the refrigerator, and prevents overheating.

In other words, how does the start relay exactly work? When the refrigerator’s regulator recognizes an abnormally elevated temperature inside, it triggers the compressor. However, since the temperature regulator can’t handle the compressor’s electrical current, it activates the start relay. The relay then signals the compressor by delivering electricity to the compressor motor’s secondary winding through the overload device, supplying it with additional power to start spinning.

Symptoms Of A Defective Refrigerator Relay System

A compressor is a crucial piece of a refrigerator, and each one requires an operational start relay. If the relay system doesn’t work suddenly, you don’t need a refrigerator expert since several warning signs are surprisingly easy to identify. These are some examples: 

  1. You’re Hearing Weird Clicking Sounds

The start relay on your refrigerator usually works silently but occasionally emits sound. Whenever it alerts the compressor to begin operating, it makes a clicking noise.

But here’s the thing, regardless of whether the relay system is broken, that clicking sound will keep happening. They are not going to cease even if the compressor has been turned off. The clicking noises will grow more and more frequent as the refrigerator continues to try to activate the compressor.

As soon as you hear those clicking noises, check your refrigerator closer. If the compressor is turned off, clicking noises should be heard every couple of minutes to five minutes.

  1. Refrigerator Contents Are Not Cooled

In order to figure out if your refrigerator’s relay system is broken, we highly advise you to open your refrigerator and conduct a quick test. Check all of the foods and beverages inside.

The contents should be chilled or frozen. If they aren’t, the compressor isn’t working properly. The issue at hand is probably linked to the start relay system.

  1. The “Shake And Rattle” Test

Do an actual check on the start relay by unplugging the device from the power supply. Find the compressor relay by opening the panel at the back of your refrigerator. Once you locate it, disconnect and shake the start relay. If you hear any rattling sounds inside the relay, something is loosened that has to be replaced. 

In the event that there is no rattling, there could be something wrong with the compressor instead. Furthermore, you can also look for burned marks surrounding the relay terminals to determine whether it blew.

What Causes Relay System Damage

We went straight to the following indications of a faulty start relay, not knowing what would normally cause that problem. Therefore, here are two of the most prevalent causes of why the relay system could cause failure:

  1. Compressor Motor Failure

The compressor’s motor is designed to operate on an on-and-off cycle. They simply turn on when needed and turn off when not. The start relay and other components that make up your refrigerator might need to be fixed. As a result, this could cause the relay system to malfunction.

  1. Electrical Surge

Electrical surges are a common cause of a defective relay system, especially if you are living in residence with unreliable power. Frequent electrical surges might overwhelm the wire resistance and damage it, causing the start relay to malfunction.

As a result of the impedance that they create, these surges can lead the wires to get too hot. If the relay grows too hot, it may potentially fail. As a result, having a circuit breaker is the most effective way to protect yourself towards such harm.

How To Bypass The Refrigerator’s Relay System

What should you do when you’ve verified your refrigerator and discovered that it has signs of a faulty relay system? You can try to temporarily repair things yourself by following the instructions below.

Tools Required

To bypass the start relay on your refrigerator, you must arm yourself with a few essential tools. You probably already have them laying around your garage. They are as follows:


  1. Prepare The Working Tools

You can do DIY projects because you don’t need special tools. You only need a set of screwdrivers, some electric tape, and a pair of pliers.

  1. Request Help From A Friend

Since refrigerators are heavy, you should try to avoid moving them on your own. Ask for assistance and ask for their help to lift the refrigerator.

  1. Turn Off The Refrigerator Completely

 You must first switch off the refrigerator before proceeding. Disconnect it from the wall’s outlet and relocate it to a secure spot where you will work.

  1. Open The Refrigerator Start Relay 

Position the refrigerator so that you can easily access the bottom area while it is disconnected. Then, you should be able to locate a cover plate towards the bottom of your refrigerator. Remove it using a screwdriver.

Once you remove the cover plate, you will find a metal box on the right-hand side of your refrigerator. You’ll need to push or twist that metal box to gain access to the start relay system.

  1. Take Out The Start Relay

Next, take your flathead screwdriver and push into the space between the start relay and the casing. To remove the relay, you must further press it down. Once you’ve pulled the relay, start removing the metallic connectors connected to it.

  1. Change The Metal Connectors

Take your pliers and begin working on the metal connectors. Pull out all of the wires on each side using the pliers. Remove about a quarter-inch of the connectors.

  1. Restore The Connection Using Electrical Tape

Pick up a roll of electrical tape to secure the wires to the relay housing. Regardless of whether the relay system is faulty, this should enable the compressor to restart.

  1. Restore Your Refrigerator

You can now return the metal box and the cover plate to their original positions. Plug the refrigerator back in and see if the fixes have worked

Important Safety Precautions

  1. The most important thing to remember is that bypassing your refrigerator’s relay system is only a temporary solution. As a result, you should contact a specialist as soon as possible to assist you in repairing the relay.
  1. A connection between the refrigerator’s relay and compressor is essential because it helps conserve energy. It guarantees that your appliance performs all of its functions effectively and prevents it from overheating. And if the unit overheats, other refrigerator parts may go bad, wear out, or overheat.
  1. Before bypassing the start relay, turn off the power and disconnect your refrigerator. After that, carefully remove your appliance from the outlet. Exercise proper precautions when doing this because refrigerators are heavy and unstable.


  • How Can You Tell If A Refrigerator Start Relay Is Broken?

If your refrigerator isn’t working properly, you might have to assume that it’s anything associated with the start relay. You can detect something wrong simply by scanning for the signs. Nevertheless, you need to run a test to be sure.

The relay system can be uncovered by applying the methods mentioned above, but you are going to need more time to get around it. On the contrary, you’ll be taking it through the motions.

Take the relay out of the refrigerator and shake it around. A rattling sound from inside the start relay indicates something is wrong. That said, you’ll have to replace it sooner than you think.

  • What Should I Do If My Compressor Is Broken?

Taking care of a faulty refrigerator relay is one thing. What to do when the refrigerator’s compressor fails is a completely different story.

You’re going to require the services of a qualified technician to fix the problem or replace the refrigerator. When making that decision, you must consider what kind of refrigerator you currently own.

Higher-end refrigerators with more features are worth trying to have fixed. If you have an earlier model that is cheaper to replace, it may be more economical.

  • How Long Can The Refrigerator Be Left In Bypass Mode?

Putting your refrigerator in bypass mode will be a short-term solution, so you must realize that leaving the appliance in such a state for an excessive amount of time could suffer irreversible damage.

Consult someone with expertise as soon as you set your refrigerator in bypass mode to fix the relay system. They will additionally be of help if the relay needs to be replaced entirely.

  • Is It Safe To Bypass The Start Relay On My Refrigerator?

To put it simply, yes. Bypassing the start relay system will likely fix the problem, but it’s only temporary. It’s not suggested as a long-term solution. To maintain the safety and proper working of your refrigerator, replacing the damaged start relay is recommended. Bypassing the relay could only put more strain on the compressor, reducing the duration of its life.

  • Is It Possible To Bypass The Start Relay On My Refrigerator Without The Assistance Of A Professional?

To put it simply, yes. It is possible to bypass the start relay without the help of an experienced professional. However, it is recommended that you acquire professional help to ensure your refrigerator’s effective and risk-free operation. A technician will be equipped with the tools and expertise required to spot the problem and replace the broken start relay. They can guarantee that your refrigerator operates smoothly.


Bypassing the refrigerator’s relay is a very simple job; however, you should only attempt to fix it if you have no choice. Replace the start relay as soon as possible because it saves electricity, allowing the compressor to work more efficiently. 

With the preventive precautions listed above and the step-by-step guide we’ve provided, you can bypass your refrigerator’s start relay. If you cannot perform it yourself, contact a technician right away.

To learn more about refrigerators and how this valuable piece of equipment chills the food and beverages inside, check out the post here.

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