Starter Motor Repairs
Problems with your Starter Motor
#1: Engine Won’t Turn Over
The most common indicator that there is a problem with your starter motor is that nothing happens when you turn the key or push Start. The probable cause is that the starter relay or motor has burned out, or that there is an electrical problem. However, note that the problem may be caused by a dead battery as well. If you experience this symptom, you need to contact an experienced mechanic to inspect the starter motor for repairs, the ignition system, and other electrical components can also be a sign of multiple issues.
#2: Noise – Clicking, Grinding, or Whirring
If you begin to hear a noise that you haven’t heard before when turning the key or pushing Start, you should pay attention. Any clicking, grinding, or whirring noise can indicate impending death for the starter. When the starter components are worn out or are not engaging properly, it often produces a grinding noise similar to the one you hear if you accidentally engage the ignition switch again after starting the engine. If you ignore the grinding symptom, it can also result in damage to the engine flywheel.
#3: Intermittent issues starting the vehicle
If you try starting your car and the engine doesn’t start instantly, then when you try again and it works fine, you more than likely have a problem with the starter relay. The starter relay either sends full electrical current or sends nothing to the starter. It’s an all-or-nothing function. Sometimes a damaged relay can cause the starter to make a clicking sound when you turn the ignition. So, if you experience both of these–intermittent starting and a clicking sound–take your vehicle to an experienced mechanic.
#4: The starter stays On after starting the car
The starting circuit should close after starting the engine and then either releasing the key or letting go of the Start button. If you hear a continuous grinding noise coming from under the vehicle after the engine is up and running, it may be that the starter relay has become stuck. When this happens, the relay will continue to run as though you are trying to start the car. The starter relay sticks when it has become welded together. You need to address this problem immediately. If the issue persists, the relay will be stuck in the ‘on’ position, which ultimately causes serious damage to the entire starter system and the transmission flywheel. You will have to send your car in for a mechanic to have your starter motor repaired.
The starter is mechanical and is powered by electricity. If your car doesn’t start and you continue to try to start it, you can cause the system to overheat. When the starter overheats due to continued power being supplied, you will see or smell smoke coming from underneath the engine. Possible causes could be a short circuit, a blown fuse, or a problem with the ignition switch. Regardless, you should contact a certified mechanic as soon as you notice this situation.
#6: The starter engages but the engine won’t start
You may turn the ignition switch or push Start and hear the starter activate, but the motor doesn’t crank over. Sometimes the issue with the starter is mechanical. In this case, a gear that is connected to the flywheel has stripped or become dislodged against the flywheel. Either way, the engine won’t turn over. When this happens, you will need to have the starter motor replaced by a certified mechanic.
You may have lights on your dashboard and your headlights are working, so you think you have power to the starting system, but the engine isn’t turning over. This actually can be an issue with your battery because a lot of power is required to crank your engine. Try starting it with a jumper or starter pack. If it starts, this indicates a weak battery is the source of the problem. Many times, especially during the winter months, starting problems are related to the battery.