The battery runs a small motor that starts the car. It gets your car’s engine going. Between the battery and the starter motor, there is a relay that sends power. Not being able to turn the key in the ignition means you may need to take your vehicle in for truck & cars repair if the starter relay and motor are malfunctioning.
Do you want to know why your car won’t turn over? Starter motor system problems happen more often than you think, but drivers often mistake them for other issues. Learn about the signs of a bad starter and how they differ from other problems.
What causes starter problems?
A bad start can be caused by several things, such as:
- Loose wiring between the starter and the battery
- Connections at the starter that are dirty or rusty
- The battery rusts
- Parts of the starter system that are broken or worn out
- Oil leaks
- A broken relay or fuse
What are common signs of a bad starter?
Something sounds off:
A bad starter might make a clicking sound when you turn the key or press the start button. But a starter can die without making noise or letting you know it’s about to pass by whirring and grinding. Truck & cars repair can repair it easily.
You’ve got lights but no action:
You try to start the engine, and the dashboard lights up, but the engine doesn’t turn over; the starter motors might be broken.
Your motor won’t start:
Is a jumpstart still unable to get your engine running? You should call roadside assistance and drive your car to the nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care if a jumpstart doesn’t start your engine; only a trained professional will.
Your car is giving off smoke:
Your car’s electrical system includes the starter and reliable auto parts, which blown fuses and short circuits can damage. When you try hard to start your vehicle, the starter can get too hot, which makes electrical problems and the smoke that comes with them more likely. Rather than turning the key harder, call for help if you see or smell smoke.
The starter has been soaked in oil:
Most of the time, the starter is on the passenger side of the engine (if RWD), just below the exhaust manifold. Or, if it is FWD, look on the driver’s side above the transmission or under the exhaust manifold. In some cars, they can also be found right under the intake manifold. If you open the hood and see that your starter is covered in engine oil, this could indicate another problem, like an oil leak. Sadly, a few drops of oil can slowly and sometimes unnoticeably turn into a costly problem, so keep an eye out for oil leaks to avoid issues with the starter.
How do you troubleshoot problems with the starter motor?
If you’ve already tried to start your car and jumpstarted it, try one of the tips below.
Check out the hood:
Check the battery and the cables that connect it to see if everything is working. The problem with your car might not be the starter but a weak or dead battery or even faulty battery cables.
Hit the start button:
Try tapping the starter a few times with something hard, but don’t hit it too hard. In some cases, this light tapping can help turn it back on because it puts the electrical parts back in touch with each other. How can you sometimes bring the picture back into focus by banging on the side of an old TV? It’s about the same. But like a broken TV, this fix might only work for a short time with your car—just long enough to get you to the nearest service centre.
Adjust the transmission:
Let’s say the “park” setting on your car’s automatic transmission is on, but the car won’t start. If so, try starting the vehicle with the gear in “neutral.” If it starts in “neutral,” there may be a technical problem, like a broken neutral safety switch, that keeps the car from starting in “park.”
Check the gauge for gas:
Anyone know this seems silly, but…is your gas tank empty? Your car won’t start for sure because of that!
A bad starter can often be fixed quickly by tapping it. Jumpstarting your car can get it back on the road, at least for a while, but you’ll need to look professionally at the problem afterwards. If a jumpstart or tapping doesn’t work, you must have the car towed and the starter fixed or replaced. Reliable auto parts can give you a hand.
Start at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care when you think your starter might be broken. They’ll do a free inspection for you with no strings attached. If your car’s starter isn’t working, skilled mechanics can fix it right, at the right price, and on time.
Even though problems with starter motors are almost inevitable, it would be smarter to replace a broken one before it worsens. And if you decide to do that, make sure to choose the best quality parts directly from the manufacturer.