What are the Symptoms of a Bad Starter? 5 Warning Signs!

If a car doesn’t start, it is normally linked to a dead battery. But this isn’t usually the case. A bad starter can cause the car not to start. For the vehicle to move, it should have a successful operation of the starter. The starter on today’s vehicles is connected in the rear of the motor, where the gear on the starter aligns with the car’s flywheel to commence the ignition process. The moment your car engine starts to turn over, fuel is introduced to the combustion chamber and is ignited thanks to the ignition system being activated. When this process functions right, your engine comes to life. But when the starter starts to wear out or break, it will affect how you drive your car. To identify a bad starter, here are some of its symptoms.

5 Most Common Symptoms of a Bad Starter

  • Starter engages but doesn’t spin the motor

Sometimes, you might turn the ignition switch and hear the starter activate but will not hear the motor crank over. Problems with the starter are at times mechanical in nature. In such a scenario, the issue may be as a result of gears linked to the flywheel. This might mean that the gear has stripped or become dislodged against the flywheel. In such a condition, you will need a professional mechanic to replace the starter.

  • Engine won’t turn over

This is the most common sign that shows itself when your starter isn’t working. It is normally caused by the starter solenoid or motor that has burnt out or has electrical problems.

  • Smoke or smell when starting the motor

The starter is a mechanical system that is powered by electricity. At times, the starter will overheat due to continued power being supplied to the starter will not shut off after the vehicle’s engine has been ignited. When this takes place, you will likely see smoke or smell smoke coming from below the engine. The issue may be brought about by a short circuit, a blown fuse or might be as a result of an issue with the ignition switch. If you notice such a problem, you should consult an expert mechanic to repair or replace he starter.

  • Grinding noise when attempting to start the motor

When the gears that are linking the starter to the flywheel are worn out, you will hear this noise. Nevertheless, grinding may as well take place inside the starter motor. When you see such a case, you should call or visit a professional mechanic right away as it can damage the car’s flywheel which is costly. You can also take help of a obd2 scanner!

  • Malfunctioned solenoid

The solenoid transmits electrical current from the battery to the starter motor when you turn the key in your car’s ignition and also pushes the starter drive into the flywheel to enable cranking. The starter can’t function without the solenoid. If you turn the key to the crank position and noting takes place, try jiggling the transmission gear shift lever first. In case the engine fails to crank, there might be an issue with the solenoid.


When a starter wears out, there are two usual parts in it that fail and include the starter motor and solenoid. Although these parts can be repaired, most of the manufacturers recommend a replacement of the entire equipment. A bad starter usually manifests itself in symptoms such as smoke, vehicle failing to start, grinding noises, or freewheeling. Visit a professional mechanic to repair and replace the starter if you note these signs.


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