Starter Motor Going Bad – May Display A Few Symptoms First

Starter Motor Going Bad - May Display A Few Warning Signs First
Starter Motor Going Bad - May Display A Few Warning Signs First

The starter motor, is what gets your engine running, when you turn the ignition key or push the start button.

So, a starter motor, gets a lot of wear during its life. As a result, at some point problems may show up.

However, it is common to assume, that a engine not starting, is the direct result of a dead battery.

In some instances that might be the case, however, sometimes the problem, is the engine’s starter motor.

When a starter motor is going bad, it may display a few warning signs. It’s also possible that you may have, wiring issues or possibly, a bad ignition switch.

Starter Motor
Starter Motor

So, if you turn the key and simply hear a clicking sound, or nothing at all. Then, it may be the starter. The odds are that your problem can be traced, to the starter the solenoid or the starter relay. Consequently, the symptoms may be easy to recognize, if you know what to look for.

So, There Are Two Main Parts To Every, Starter Motor:

  • The primary motor, that turns your crankshaft and starts your engine.
  • The solenoid, that simultaneously engages the starter drive gear, and closes, the main motor’s electrical contacts.
Solenoid Attached
Starter With Solenoid Attached

So, stop/start technology, is getting more common, every day. As a result, the starter and batteries, are more strained than ever before.

Like Most Mechanical Devices, When The Car Starter Is Beginning To Wear Out, It May Display, A Few Warning Signs:

Grinding Noises

  • When the starter drive gear, is worn out or not engaging properly, it will often produce a grinding noise. This is similar to the noise you hear, when you try to start your engine, when it is already running.

Freewheeling Spinning

  • Freewheeling occurs, when you crank the engine and simply hear, a whining noise, without the engine cranking. When this occurs, it means the starter, is not engaging with the flywheel.

Still On After Engine Has Started

  • So, when you start the engine and release the key, power to the starter is stopped. But, if power stays on after the engine has started. Then, the main contacts in the solenoid, have most likely, welded together. If this happens, it will cause serious damage, to the starter motor and the flywheel.

The first step in getting your starter motor problem properly diagnosed, is to rule out the battery. Remember that your battery will need to be fully charged, in order to operate the starter motor.

Starting And Charging Electrical System
Starting And Charging Electrical System

So, if your engine does not crank, try to start it with jump leads, or a starter pack. Consequently, if the engine starts, you know there is a problem with, the electrical system:

  • If the engine does not start or turn, try to rule out a seized engine.
  • Start by turning the engine over, by hand at the crankshaft pulley.
  • If you’re unable to turn the engine over by hand, you have major engine damage.

You May Have One Last Start Left

So, you turn the key and nothing happens or you hear a single faint click. But, the engine still won’t crank. If you are lucky, you may still be able to start the engine, one last time.

Tap With Hammer
Tap Starter Motor With Hammer

This may sound unconventional, but tapping the rear of the starter, while turning the key might start the engine. It is best to have a friend, turn the key, while you use a hammer, to tap the starter. Finally, if the engine starts, have the starter fixed or replaced immediately.


So, starting system problems can be hard to diagnose, but paying attention to the symptoms will help you. And, not only that, it can help you save money in the process.

Thank You !