5 Most Regular Symptoms of a Bad Starter

If a car doesn’t start, it is normally linked to a dead battery. But this isn’t usually the case. A bad starter can cause the car not to start. For the vehicle to move, it should have a successful operation of the starter. The starter on today’s vehicles is connected in the rear of the motor, where the gear on the starter aligns with the car’s flywheel to commence the ignition process. When your car engine starts to turn over, fuel is introduced to the combustion chamber and is ignited thanks to the ignition system activated. When this process functions right, your engine comes to life. But when the starter starts to wear out or break, it will affect how you drive your car. To identify a bad starter, here are some of its symptoms. But before jumping into our main article, you need to know what a starter is and how it work. So let’s check some brief descriptions about it.

What is a starter?

In general terms, a starter is a device that enables the car to run. The starter is also known as a self-starter or a cranking motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. It takes a tremendous amount of electric power from the battery and rotates the crank. Different vehicles use different starters such as electric starter,  hydraulic starter, or pneumatic starter. So a starter is mainly a gadget that is responsible for operating the vehicles at the initial stage.starter

How does a starter work?

A Starter is built with two main parts: A primary motor and a solenoid. The primary motor starts the engine with the help of a crankshaft, and the solenoid flows the electric power into the engine motor. As I said above, a starter is an electric device that utilizes the power of the battery to start the car or other vehicles. When you insert the key into the ignition switch, the starter solenoid receives a small amount of current from the battery. Then the piston starts mixing the fuel and oxygen into the cylinder to allow combustion. So with the help of a spark, the vehicle starts operating.

Symptoms of a Bad Starter

Suppose you have a medical emergency or you have to go for an argent meeting, but suddenly your car acts up. There is nothing more frustrating when the vehicle won’t start instantly. Sometimes you might also face some difficulties while starting the car in the morning. If there is no battery issue, then the problem is in your vehicle’s starter. So I have listed some of the major signs of a bad starter that will help you to solve the issue in no time.

The starter engages but doesn’t spin the motor.

Sometimes, you might turn the ignition switch and hear the starter activate but will not hear the motor crank over. Problems with the starter are, at times, mechanical in nature. In such a scenario, the issue may be a result of gears linked to the flywheel. This might mean that the gear has been stripped or become dislodged against the flywheel. In such a condition, you will need a professional mechanic to replace the starter.

The engine won’t turn over.

This is the most common sign that shows itself when your starter isn’t working. It is normally caused by the starter solenoid or motor that has burnt out or has electrical problems.

Smoke or smell when starting the motor.

The starter is a mechanical system that is powered by electricity. At times, the starter will overheat due to continued power being supplied to the starter will not shut off after the vehicle’s engine has been ignited. When this takes place, you will likely see smoke or smell smoke coming from below the engine. A short circuit may bring about the issue, a blown a fuse or might be as a result of an issue with the ignition switch. If you notice such a problem, you should consult an expert mechanic about repairing or replacing the starter.

Grinding noise when attempting to start the motor

When the gears that are linking the starter to the flywheel are worn out, you will hear this noise. Nevertheless, grinding may as well take place inside the starter motor. When you see such a case, you should call or visit a professional mechanic right away as it can damage the car’s flywheel, which is costly.

Malfunctioned solenoid

The solenoid transmits electrical current from the battery to the starter motor when you turn the key in your car’s ignition and also pushes the starter drive into the flywheel to enable cranking. The starter can’t function without the solenoid. If you turn the key to the crank position and noting takes place, try jiggling the transmission gear shift lever first. In case the engine fails to crank, there might be an issue with the solenoid.

So if you notice any of the signs from above, you need to check the battery first and then the starter. You should diagnose some other minor facts that indicate the Vehicle’s starter won’t work properly, which I listed below.

  • You might hear some whining noise if the starter is not engaging with the flywheel.
  • Sometimes, the starter motor doesn’t stop turning after the vehicle has started its movement.
  • When the car’s starting system doesn’t crank the engine, but your interior lights illuminate normally.
  • Sometimes you might notice an oil leak around the starter that can damage your whole electric circuit system.


When a starter wears out, there are two usual parts in it that fail and include the starter motor and solenoid. Although these parts can be repaired, most of the manufacturers recommend a replacement of the entire equipment. A bad starter usually manifests itself in symptoms such as smoke, vehicle failing to start, grinding noises, or freewheeling. So visit a professional mechanic to repair and replace the starter if you notice any of the Symptoms of a Bad Starter. If you have any questions about this article, feel free to ask me.

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