What are the symptoms of a bad car starter?

Car starter failing to turn over engine

What to do when your car won’t start

You have gas and oil in the car, the tires are aired up and good to go. But the car won’t start! So, you call a friend or the auto club for a jumpstart and it still won’t start. The tow truck driver suggests maybe you need a car starter replacement.  Why is the car starter not working? 

The starter in your car is a small motor that gets its power from the battery and is what gets the main motor “started” by way of a starter relay. That relay is situated between the battery and the starter and transmits the power needed to start the car. If the starter relay or starter motor aren’t working properly, your car isn’t going anywhere.  

Are there any indicators a starter is about to quit? Here are some things that can tell you that you may need a car starter replacement soon, if not now:

1. It Sounds Off.

If your car starter clicks, grinds, or whirs when you try to start your car, you need a car starter replacement. However, a car started going out doesn’t always make a sound, you may get no noise at all. This is when it could be confused with a dead battery.

2. The Lights Are on but Nothing Happening.

If you try to start your car and get a lit-up dashboard but nothing from the engine, it may be the starter has quit working.  

3. The Engine Isn’t Cranking.

Is the engine isn’t cranking up, even with a friend or tow truck jumping it off, you need to get your car to a certified technician. They will inspect and test the start, battery, and alternator and advise you if you need a car starter replacement or something else needs replacing or repairing. 

4. Smoking under the Hood.

Smoke coming from under the hood isn’t good no matter what the problem is, but for certain, if it is the starter smoking, it could be an electrical issue. From circuits shorting out or fuses blowing out, they both can overheat a starter and keep it from working. Or a bad starter can cause the fuses to blow and the circuits to short. Either way, a car starter replacement is needed. 

5. Oil-soaked Starter.

A car starter is connected to the motor, typically on the driver’s side, right below the cylinders. If you look under the hood and see the start soaked in motor oil, there’s one problem. The starter won’t start when it is soaked in motor oil, and you need to find out why the cylinders are leaking oil too. 

Can you jumpstart a car with a bad starter?

This is where many get confused between car starters vs battery problems. If you have an automatic transmission car, jumpstarting does nothing to help the starter. It only powers up the battery. However, if your car has a manual transmission and the car starter quits, you can push start the car with someone in the driver’s seat “popping” the clutch.  This will work for a while, but eventually, a car starter replacement will be needed. 

How to start my car if the starter is bad?

It isn’t recommended, but yes, it is possible by one of the following methods: 

  • Examine the Connections: Make sure all electrical wiring is connected that control the ignition. An unsecured connection in this pathway will not allow enough power to get to the starter. 
  • Examine Ground Connection: Connect a jumper cable from the battery’s negative terminal through the structure and try to start the car. If this works, then the problem is with the ground connection and a car starter replacement won’t fix that problem. 
  • Examine The Solenoid Cable: The solenoid is why the starter connects to the transmission. Check the solenoid for dirt, grime, and rust, clean it off and then try to start the car again. Sometimes, you an bypass the solenoid with a cable directly to the start and start your car.  This should only be a temporary fix until you get a car start replacement installed.
  • Check For Corrosion: If a cable within the system is corroded, it will jeopardize the electric conductivity and your car won’t start. Any corrosion on the battery or other electrical components can be cleaned off using baking soda and water of equal parts and wash the corrosion off with a wire brush or old toothbrush. Allow to dry then try to start the car again. 
  • A Soft Thump To The Starter: Old school method is to ever so soft, thump the starter with a hammer. If there is a short in the starter, this will sometimes allow it to start the car.  Again, another temporary fix and a new car starter replacement is recommended. 

Can a car starter drain the battery?

Yes, in fact, anything electrical can pull energy from the battery and drain all of the power from it, keeping it from starting the car. You’ll need to replace the battery in most cases, but first, find out what drained the battery so it doesn’t do it again. 

Can the car starter be repaired?

Yes, but it isn’t a quick job.  Most people will purchase either a brand new start or a rebuilt starter, which is less expensive. The rebuilt starter is one that has quit working and a trained mechanic or technician replaced the armature, field windings, brushes, commutator,  and sometimes the solenoid. 

Why is my car taking a long time to start?

If there is a delay between when you turn the ignition key and the car starter kicks in to start the engine, there is likely a connection that is corroded or has a poor connection. Have the alternator, battery, starter, and solenoid checked by a technician. 

car key on seat

Why does my car starter keeps going bad?

A start typically goes when the armature, brushes, and other internal parts wear out naturally. A vehicle that is started and killed repeatedly will wear a start out quicker than a normal everyday driver would their car. 

There is nothing more frustrating than a car not starting, except maybe the water heater going out.  Where the problem is the batter, car starter vs alternator problems, or out of gas, the problem is major when it happens to you. Having a mechanic you can trust and rely on is important. Call 941-493-6511 today for your car starter replacement in Venice, FL.