The starter solenoid has very large contacts to carry the batterys full current. Its wire coil is actuated by a smaller current from the ignition switch, at which time the iron core slams down to make contact and turn on the starter motor. Most non-Ford starter motors employ a solenoid built into the motor itself. This type of solenoid not only provides the motors electrical power but also mechanically engages the starters drive gear onto the flywheel.
STARTER SOLENOID "Relay" — All cars are wired so that the batterys main cable connects to the starter motor windings "the thick cable is needed for large current flow, right?". This wire must be switched on and off, of course, and it would be costly and inefficient to route it through the ignition switch "not to mention the size of the switchs components required to carry such current!". Consequently, a relay is necessary.
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