What Are the Signs of a Bad Starter?

When the starter in your vehicle starts to go wrong, it's terrible news. Besides the unmistakable sign of not being able to go anywhere, what are the other signs of a bad starter? We are going to cover several symptoms today that can indicate you have a failing starter. If you can detect these signs, you may be able to avoid being stuck in the middle of nowhere. 


What is a Starter?

Your battery powers the starter, and the purpose of the starter is to engage the engine and get the vehicle going. The starter comprises two parts: the primary motor and solenoid. The primary motor turns the crankshaft and starts the engine, and the solenoid (or relay) engages the starter's drive gear and closes the main motor's electrical connections. If either one of the two parts stops working at any given time, you cannot move your car without a jumpstart or tow.

A starting problem can be caused by poor maintenance or normal wear and tear. As you can guess, a starter gets a lot of wear during its lifetime, so issues are common when a vehicle gets old. 


Common Signs of a Bad Starter

Most of the time, a starter's motor and relay don't just fail abruptly. These are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • The engine won't turn over.  The most common signal that your starter has a problem is if nothing happens when you turn the key or push to start.  
  • Unusual noises, such as clinking, grinding and whirring. If you ignore these sounds, it can eventually lead to damage to the engine flywheel.
  • Intermittent problems starting the car. If you are starting your vehicle and the engine doesn't ignite right away, and it works the second attempt, you are more than likely dealing with a problem with the starter relay.
  • Smoke coming from under the hood. The starter is a mechanical system powered by electricity, which is prone to overheat. When the starter overheats, you will see or smell smoke coming from under the hood. 


When you notice any of these symptoms of a bad starter, please pay us a visit at South Denver Automotive. Our team of experts can perform a wide range of car maintenance and repairs that can save you from getting stranded! Call us today at (720) 262-9204 for more info.

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