Car won’t start? 6 Signs of a Faulty Starter Motor
Pictures of Driver Started Cars Pictures of Driver Started Cars
Are you wondering why your car won’t start? Problems with the starter motor system are much more common than you might think, but drivers often confuse them with other car malfunctions. Read Starter Motor Fault Symptoms to learn how to separate them from other faults.
What is a starter motor?
A starter motor is a small electric motor powered by a battery. It drives the car’s engine. The starter relay sits between the battery and the starter motor and is responsible for transferring power. If the starter relay and motor are not working properly, you will not be able to start your vehicle and may need a tow.
What are some common starter motor failure symptoms?
1. Incorrect sound.
One of the symptoms of a faulty starter motor is a clicking sound when you turn the key or press the starter button. However, a starter can fail without any sound, or it can make whirring and grinding noises, so be aware!
2. Indicator light is on but no movement.
If you try to start the engine only to find that the instrument cluster comes on but the engine does not start, there may be a problem with the starter.
3. Engine will not start.
The engine still won’t start after trying to jump-start it? At this point, call roadside assistance and take your vehicle to the nearest Firestone Car Care Center. If the jump-start does not ignite the engine, then only a certified technician should perform the operation!
4. the car smokes.
The starter is part of your car’s electrical system and is prone to blown fuses and short circuits. When you desperately try to start your car, the starter can overheat, making it more susceptible to electrical problems and the accompanying smoke. If you see or smell smoke, call for help instead of jerking the key again!
5. starter immersed in oil.
The starter is usually located on the passenger side of the engine (if rear-wheel drive), just below the exhaust manifold. If all-wheel drive, check the driver’s side above the transmission or below the exhaust manifold. On some vehicles, they may also be located under the intake manifold. If the starter motor is found to be saturated with oil when the hood is opened, a faulty starter motor may be a symptom of another problem (oil leak). Unfortunately, what starts out as a few drops of oil can slowly and sometimes inadvertently turn into an expensive problem, so keep an eye out for oil leaks to avoid starter problems of this nature.
What can cause starter motor problems?
There are a number of problems that can cause a starter motor to fail, including Loose wiring between starter motors – Loose wiring can disrupt the connection between the starter motor and the power source, so the engine may not crank.
Dirt or corrosion on starter connections – A buildup of dirt or corrosion can cause an increase in resistance between circuits, interfering with current flow. This can result in very weak or no cranking.
Battery Corrosion – Whether due to overheating, damage from leaks, or a deteriorating battery, battery corrosion can cause electrical problems if left unattended.
Damaged or Worn Components in the Starter System – Over time, the components of the starter system that conduct and distribute electrical energy, such as the starter-to-battery cables and the starter relay, wear out and need to be replaced. If a part of the starter system fails, a technician can help repair and replace the faulty part.
Oil Leaks – This is usually a problem with older vehicles where the engine may leak oil after years of wear and tear. If enough oil leaks onto the starter motor, the starter motor may not work and you will need to repair the engine oil leak and replace the starter motor.
Damaged Relay – A damaged starter relay may cause the engine to fail to turn over or the starter motor to continue cranking after starting.
How do I diagnose and troubleshoot starter motor problems?
If you have already tried starting and jump-starting your car, try one of the following troubleshooting tips.
1. Look under the hood.
Check to make sure everything is OK with the battery and battery cables. A low or dead battery, or even faulty battery cables, can cause problems with the car, not the starter.
2. Tap the starter.
Try tapping the starter gently with a hard object a few times, making sure not to hit it hard. In some cases, this gentle tapping can help restore power to the starter because you are tapping on a contact point between electrical parts. Did you know that sometimes tapping on the side of an old TV set can restore clarity to the picture? Sort of. But, just like your TV, your car may only temporarily respond to this fix – enough to get you to the nearest repair center.
3. Adjust the transmission.
Let’s say your car’s automatic transmission is in “Park” but the car won’t start. If this is the case, try starting the car in “Neutral”. If it starts in “Neutral”, there may be a technical fault that prevents the car from starting in “Park”, such as a faulty neutral safety switch.
4. check the fuel gauge.
We know it seems silly, but …… Is your fuel tank empty? This is a foolproof solution to a car that won’t start!
Often, a quick fix for a faulty starter is to tap the starter. A jump-start will get the car on the road, at least temporarily, but after that it’s time to call in a professional technician to check out the problem. If jump-starting or tapping the starter doesn’t work, you may need to have the car towed and the starter repaired or replaced. We can help.
When you suspect a problem with your starter, start with your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. We’ll provide you with a no-strings-attached, free inspection. If you have a bad starter, our experienced technicians will fix your car in a timely manner at the right price.
How to start your car with a bad starter
Starting your car with a bad starter can be difficult, but there are a few steps you can take as a temporary solution. Here’s how to start your car when your starter fails:
1. First, stop safely.
Make sure the car is off the road and away from traffic. Bring the car to a stop, put it in neutral if it has a manual transmission, and apply the parking brake for safety.
2. Locate the starter motor.
Open the hood and look for the starter. It usually looks like a large metal cylinder with a smaller cylinder stacked on top. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the location of the starter may vary. Be careful as some parts of the exhaust can be very hot and the starter motor terminals may be connected directly to the battery causing a short circuit/spark!
3. Try the tapping method first.
Helping to get the starter motor back up and running is one of the few knockout repairs. After locating the starter motor, try tapping it gently with a hammer or similar object. The purpose of tapping the starter motor is to help loosen the starter brushes so they can engage and start the system. If the vehicle still starts after using the tapping method, visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a more comprehensive starter motor repair. Be careful not to tap too hard! There may be brittle magnets inside the starter motor housing.
4. If tapping fails, prepare to jump-start the engine.
If tapping doesn’t work, another option is to jump-start the engine. So call a friend with an available car battery and grab a pair of jumper cables.
Follow the standard procedure for starting a car battery. Be sure to refer to the owner’s manual for vehicle-specific instructions. To connect the battery using jumper cables, check the positive and negative terminals of each vehicle’s battery to make sure they are not corroded and are not loose. Jumper cables are color coded, usually red for positive and black for negative.
First connect the positive clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery, then connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the live battery. Then connect the negative clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery and the other end of the negative cable to the negative terminal of the charged battery.
5. Charge the battery with a properly working vehicle.
Now it’s time to charge the battery. Have someone start a working vehicle and let it run for a few minutes to charge the dead battery of a non-working vehicle.
6. Try to start the vehicle.
After taking the time to charge the battery, you can try to start the car. With the jumper cables still connected, turn on the car’s ignition switch. With the extra charge from the rechargeable battery, you should have enough power to start the engine, bypassing the dead battery.
7. Disconnect the vehicle and drive it to the nearest repair store.
Once the car starts, leave it running and then carefully disconnect it from the working vehicle. First remove the negative clamp attached to the negative terminal of the auxiliary vehicle, then remove the negative clamp on the negative terminal of the started vehicle. Next, remove the positive clip on the positive cable end of the auxiliary vehicle. Finally, remove the last positive clip on the positive terminal of the vehicle battery. Avoid turning off the engine of a started vehicle until you reach your destination or repair store.