It happens to the best of us. Just when we are ready to leave, the car just won't start. Usually, the battery is to blame, but what if it's the starter? We researched the signs to identify a bad starter so we can help you with your concerns.
When the car won't start, it helps to look for common signs so you can tell whether you are experiencing a bad starter. For one, the car creates an unusual sound when you attempt to turn on the ignition.
Another symptom to look for is the engine not cranking up despite the lights in the dashboard turning on. Finally, the car could emit smoke when you step on the gas.
Even if your car exhibits these signs, you can still bring it to life by jump-starting it. You can also check the connections and tighten them. Once you have everything in order, you're good to go.
Keep on reading this post to know more about the bad starter and how you can find a solution to it.
Signs Of A Bad Starter
There are times when your car won't start despite your attempt to turn on the ignition. The most common reason for this is a drained battery, but sometimes it's the starter.
You could be experiencing a bad starter if your car makes a whirring sound or something unusual when you attempt to start the car. On the other hand, the car might not make any sound and the engine will just die.
In some cases, the light in the dashboard will light up when you turn on the ignition. But the engine will not turn on despite this.
Another sign of a bad starter is if the car emits smoke when you attempt to start the car. This is probably due to overheating of the vehicle. If you encounter this, don't attempt to start the car again.
What Are The Common Reasons For Bad Starter?
We asked car technicians for possible reasons for a bad starter. Here are the answers we received:
- Worn-out gears and coil windings
- A problem with the solenoid
- Loose bolts
- Improper installation of parts
Getting The Car To Start
When your car shows the symptoms we've mentioned above, you don't have to despair. You can bring your car to life.
Your first option is to jump-start the car. The reason behind this is that the car battery does not have enough power to send to the starter.
Jump-Starting The Car
You will boost the car battery when you jump-start the car. You will need the help of another car with a functional battery. Before you proceed, you want to make sure that the battery is not bloated.
Use a jumper cable to connect the two batteries. Put at least a two-foot distance between the vehicles when you jump start. Experts recommend that you put the cable jumpers in the dead battery first since it is safer.
Connect the positive terminals of the two batteries first. This is the terminal with the red cable. Attach the cable to the dead battery, then head over to the functional battery.
The next step is to put the cable jumpers on the negative terminal. This is the one with the black cable. Attach the cable to the functional battery first.
But when you go to the dead battery, you will attach the cable in the so-called "negative jumping start" of the car. Check your owner's manual to find it.
You may need about two to three minutes to boost your battery.
Find this jump starter pack on Amazon.
Bump-Start Your Car
Aside from jump-starting the car, you can also try the bump start method. You will need another person to push the car for you. However, you must also have a manual transmission car for this to work.
When you push to start the car, choose a path that is clear and not on a steep slope. Turn on the engine and put the car on second gear.
Disengage the hand break. Press on the brake and clutch pedal.
Let go of the brake pedal when the other person starts to push on your car. When the speedometer of your car reached 5 mph or more, you can remove your foot from the clutch pedal.
You will hear the engine come to life. Step on the gas gently so the car can start running faster. Keep your hand on the steering wheel so that you won't veer in another direction.
If your car doesn't start on the first attempt, you can always try again.
Review Battery Terminal Connection
Even if your battery is fully charged, it cannot send power to the starter if it has loose connections. You can do this check-up yourself.
When you check the battery terminal, see if there is any corrosion around the terminal. You want to remove any corrosion with the battery disconnected from the car.
Then you have to check whether the terminals are tight enough. Be sure to put on insulated gloves when you tighten the terminal connections.
When you notice that the car has a bad start most of the time, it's time to bring it to a technician.
Do not keep forcing the car to start because you might damage the cranks even more. The jump-start and bump-start are only temporary solutions.
What Is The Role Of The Car Starter?
The car starter is an electric motor that gets your car to run. When you turn on the ignition, you set gears in motion that connect to the starter.
Through this process, you let in air to the engine. As the engine starts to spin, the process produces electricity that goes through the spark plugs. It then leads to lighting up the fuel located in the combustion chamber.
The components of the starter motor are armature, commutator, brushes, solenoid, plunger, lever fork, pinion, and field coils.
Earlier, we mentioned that the car may have a bad starter there is a problem with the solenoid. This can happen because the solenoid has coils of wire that connect the starter motor to the car battery.
How Much Would It Cost To Replace The Car Starter?
Eventually, your car starter may break down due to normal wear and may need to be replaced.
In case you are planning to get a new car starter, compare prices so you can get the best deal. The cost of the starter will vary according to the year, make, and model of the car.
The starters for old cars are more expensive, ranging from $300 to $1,500. Meanwhile, the newer models cost about $200 to $300.
Continuing to use your car with a bad starter can cause more damage, which will increase your costs. Be sure to replace your starter as soon as you need to.
When Should You Replace Your Car Batteries?
Any time your car is having trouble starting, you should get your battery checked. After all, car batteries do not last forever. On average, batteries are good for three years.
Auto care technicians recommend that you watch for signs that your battery is getting weaker. These signs could be slow start, leak in the battery, or bloated battery case.
There may be other symptoms that are not as obvious and you may see these during the battery check-up.
Your driving habits can also affect the lifespan of your battery. For example, your battery does not get enough charging time when you only take short trips.
If your car won't start, it might be a problem with the starter and not the battery. Now you know how to recognize and diagnose starter problems as well as what's involved with replacing one.
You can still jump start your car despite having a bad starter. This will boost your battery, so you can start the engine. Or you can try bump starting your vehicle if it has a manual transmission.
Before you go, you might want to check out our other articles to help you with your car concerns:
Jeep Won’t Start But Turns Over – What Could Be Wrong?
Toyota RAV4 Won’t Start [But Makes Clicking Noise]—What To Do?