Poor maintenance can cause starter motor problems. However, this little motor is responsible for the kinetic kick that gets your engine revving up and running, therefore you are put under a tremendous amount of stress every time you turn the key in the ignition. So whatever you do, this part will wear out over time. Stay and aware of common starter motor signs and failures .
The bigger and newer your car, the more effort the starter will have. The longer it goes without problems, the more likely it is to fail. Keep an eye out for the following danger signs that can help you avoid serious problems.
How does the starter motor work?
Turning the ignition key or pressing the switch in your car activates a solenoid (switch) in the starter motor. This, in turn, drives a gear, using its rotational force to start the engine by turning the crankshaft.
This process is more commonly known as engine spin. Since the engine does not have the necessary power to start due to its own combustion, the starter motor gives it the necessary impulse.
Common starter motor symptoms and failures
It is rare for a starter to fail outright. If you notice any of these warning signs, especially one or two combined, be sure to contact a reputable local garage to have it checked out.
If the starter won’t turn on, you won’t even be able to take the car to the shop. That’s why it’s good that you know the signs that cause common starter motor failures.
1- The instrument panel lights up but the engine does not start
If the battery has constant power and the engine won’t crank , that’s a good indication that there is something wrong with the starter. Especially if the battery has been recently charged.
2- The motor simply does not turn
Due to lack of power from the starter motor. This could be due to a dead battery, so don’t jump to conclusions without checking the available current. It could be a problem with the solenoid or connector , or the motor could have just stopped running.
3- Noises and screeching sounds of metal against metal
Caused by the fact that the engine fails to engage the flywheel correctly, because its starter transmission gear is worn . Watch out for this symptom, as if it is ignored, it can cause damage to the flywheel, which will be expensive to fix.
4- The motor moves freely
If you crank the engine and hear a beeping noise, but the engine does not seem to start correctly, this is due to a near loss of gear between the starter and flywheel. Go quickly to the workshop or you risk losing both pieces.
5- Overheating and smoke
There is a strong smell of smoke in and around the vehicle. This means your engine is drawing excessive current , which could be caused by a connection problem causing a short, ignition switch issues, or you’ve been running the starter for too long and your vehicle won’t starts due to other mechanical problems.
6- Starter motor accepted
Due to the position of the engine within the frame of the engine, this part is especially susceptible to damage from oil leaks. If oil has penetrated into the starter, its life will be drastically reduced. Quickly fix the leak and change your starter motor.
7- The starter does not stop
In some cases, the starter motor may continue to turn after the engine has started to run. The usual cause is a faulty solenoid , where the gates are soldered together preventing it from turning off. Perform a visual inspection to confirm that this is the cause and replace the damaged solenoid. If this problem is not resolved, the flywheel will be damaged, which could be very expensive.
8- Damaged starter solenoid
The opposite problem to your vehicle’s starter motor not stopping, is a misstart. If the solenoid is working properly, you should hear a click coming from the part. If there is no sound, it is probably broken.
9- Intermittent problems starting the engine
Sometimes the engine starts easily. Other times it takes a long time. This is usually due to problems with the relay that supplies power to the starter.
10- The starter motor activates but the car does not start
If you hear the starter engage but you can’t crank the engine, this is because the flywheel and other gears are not meshing correctly . It could be that the gears have become dislodged, or have slipped out of connection.
How to prolong the life of your starter motor?
The following tips can help you get a few hundred or even thousands more miles out of your starter motor:
Inspect the flywheel: Over time, the flywheel can crack, wear down, or even lose its teeth, affecting the starter’s pinion gear. If you keep forcing the starter to run with a broken flywheel, it will quickly decrease the life of the part.
Cars are put under tremendous stress on the road, and it is a testament to modern engineering that drive quality is of such a high standard and engine noise is so low. It’s almost easy to forget that cars wear out over time, and the starter is no exception.
Fortunately, starter replacement is a job most mechanically minded people with a reasonable degree of skill can handle. This allows you to keep your car running smoothly, without having to deal with expensive shop bills. Of course, now you have the experience you have gained from reading the list of common starter motor failures, and with that you will know how to quickly identify a problem.