Defective starter motor? Causes and solutions

Do you want to start the engine but the car doesn’t start? This can also be due to the defective starter. The overview tells you what to look out for if the starter is defective.

What is a starter and what is it used for?

In contrast to electric motors, internal combustion engines are not able to generate torque from a standstill and therefore cannot start independently. You need help in the form of cranking, pushing or starting. This is the function of the starter in the car, also called the starter.

It is a small electric motor that is switched on by turning the ignition key. Thereupon it begins to turn and starts the engine with the flywheel of the starter. If the starter is defective, the engine cannot start from a standstill: the vehicle must be pushed to start.

Eliminate other sources of error before checking the starter

A defective starter is not always the cause when the car does not start. Before you have the starter checked, you can rule out other sources of error. Often the reason is an old and weak battery. In this case, you should change or recharge the battery. In addition, the cables may have come loose or one of the connections may be oxidized.

Such repairs can be done easily and cost almost nothing. In some cases the magnetic switch is simply defective. Replacing this element is also significantly cheaper than changing the defective starter. Depending on the vehicle model, this can be quite expensive.

How you can tell that the starter is broken

There are various signs that indicate that the starter is broken. If you only hear a click when you turn the key, this is a clear sign that the starter is defective. In this case, usually only the pinion moves forward, but it does not turn to start the engine.

So the starter does not turn and the engine does not start? Then the fault is often in the plunger or plunger of the magnetic switch. It is also possible that the contact is not correctly connected to the circuit connection of the starter switch.

If you suspect that the source of the fault is in the starter itself, you should go to your trusted workshop and have the starter checked.

The most common causes of a defective starter

If the starter is faulty, there can be several reasons. The main contacts of the magnetic switch are often broken or it hangs and does not switch the contacts as a result.

The cause is often also the small electric motor, which is no longer functional. Another cause could be that the freewheel is broken or that the starter pinions are too worn and therefore no longer grip properly.

Starter broken: Exchange instead of repair

The repair of a defective starter is usually limited to replacing the defective starter. Repairing a defective starter usually causes even higher costs. The only exception is if the relay is defective. This can be exchanged relatively easily and cheaply (for $50 to $70) and the starter is then functional again.

The costs for a completely new starter, however, are significantly higher. Depending on the model, the price for the spare part starts at around $200 and can also be significantly more expensive. The installation time is between one and two hours.

With a little luck, you can get a cheap starter from car recycling companies, which comes from an accident vehicle, but still works perfectly.

Take faults seriously at an early stage

In most cases, the starter does not break from one day to the next. As with many other auto parts, it is wear and tear that troubles this element.

If you notice any irregularities in advance, such as a difficult start or unusual sounds, you should not hesitate to go to a workshop.

Otherwise, the symptoms and problems may increase until only pushing is the last option.

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Jadiel Recent comment authors
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Oh yes, another tip, if someone has landed on this page while searching, whose car actually has a hanging starter: If you have found the starter (search with car model and “Photo engine compartment” or “Installation position starter”) with a hammer Tap it a couple of times, then try again. Often a little hooked or stuck gears loosen. Or (even if the battery is still ok) borrow additional juice from a second car using a jumper cable. More power can often help too. Don’t worry, if the cables are connected and disconnected in the correct order, nothing will happen, the voltage will remain the same, simply the amperes when starting are higher, which means more power from the starter’s electric motor. A booster (portable auxiliary battery) can also help. And THEN in the workshop to check this and fix the cause.