How To Tell If The Starter Is Bad & How Much Does It Cost To Replace It?
Every car contains a starter motor. The starter motor’s duty is to fast spin the engine so it can run on its own power. The starter is essentially an electric motor that may be controlled by the ignition.
A starter (also known as a self-starting, cranking motor, or starter motor) is a rotating (cranking) mechanism that allows an internal-combustion engine to start on its own. Starters can be electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic. The starter can alternatively be another internal-combustion engine in the case of extremely large engines, such as diesel engines used in agricultural or excavation applications.
Internal combustion engines are feedback systems that rely on the inertia of previous cycles to start the next cycle once they’ve begun. A four-stroke engine’s third stroke releases energy from the fuel, fueling the following cycle’s fourth (exhaust) and first two (intake, compression) strokes, as well as the engine’s external load.
To start the first cycle at each session, something other than the engine must power the initial two strokes. The starting motor is used for this, as it is no longer required after the engine is started and the feedback loop is self-sustaining.
Signs of a Faulty Starter Motor
If you know what to look for, you’ll be able to detect the symptoms of a failing starter motor. When you first notice these symptoms, the best thing you can do is get your starter checked straight away.
Here are five common indications that suggest your starter fails and may need to be replaced.
Warning: Be careful not to touch the thick wire that connects the positive end of the battery to the starter when troubleshooting your starter. This is a hot wire that may cause you to be shocked. If at all feasible, disconnect the battery before working on the starter.
1) Vehicle won’t start
This will be the most noticeable symptom, which everyone should be able to detect. If the engine doesn’t turn over after turning the ignition key, the starter solenoid may be damaged or worn out. Check if the starter’s little electrical connector has come unplugged over time.
You should also check your neutral safety switch if you have an automatic transmission.
2) Exhaust fumes from the engine bay
If you have a lot of smoke coming out of your vehicle, your starter may be shorted. Because power from the electrical source is attempting to travel through the shorted starter, smoke is produced. Your vehicle will emit a grey or black cloud of smoke.
3) A grinding sound
A series of gears link the flywheel and the starter. When both components become too worn out, they can make grinding noises. Grinding noises will come from inside a damaged starter motor, and worn-out gears will also generate these noises.
Some malfunctioning starters may maintain the starter gear connected with the flywheel or flexplate even after the engine is running. Even if the car is already starting, this might generate a grinding noise or appear like the engine is still trying to start.
You should take your vehicle to a mechanic right once to determine which component is creating the grinding sounds.
Freewheeling is a sign when there is no cranking sound from the engine, and you hear a whining noise from the starter. This means your flywheel cannot make contact with the starter gear.
The starting solenoid is in charge of moving the starter gear forward to engage with the flywheel or flexplate. Freewheeling might occur when the beginning motor spins but the starter solenoid fails.
5) Burning Odor
Whether or not you see smoke coming out of your automobile, a burning smell inside and outside your automobile indicates that your starter is failing. Usually, the smoke and the odor will appear at the same moment.
Even if it doesn’t, and you only have the smell, you should have your starter checked out as soon as possible because smoke could be on the way.
Cost of a New Starter Motor
Starters are located near the intersection of the engine and transmission. The cost of replacing a starting motor varies depending on the repair shop or dealership where you take your car and the brand and model of your car; some starters are considerably more difficult to access than others.
You should anticipate paying anything between $300 and $500 to replace your starter on average. The parts will set you back anywhere from $200 to $360, while labor will set you back $100 to $140.
It isn’t the most expensive replacement job you’ll ever require, but it is unquestionably critical. You might have a bad starter solenoid if you can’t get your automobile started. Without fully engaging the flywheel, the starter spins (Rare)
A weak solenoid might cause the starting to spin without engaging the engine’s flywheel or flexplate, which is uncommon. You’ll hear the starter spin, but the engine won’t start in this case.
Slowly, the engine starts up (Rare)
The contacts in the starter solenoid may burn due to high resistance. As a result, the starter motor will experience excessive resistance, perhaps resulting in a slow-cranking engine. This is, once again, an unusual situation.
Common Issues That Can Be Mistaken for a Bad Starter Solenoid
A malfunctioning starter solenoid or beginning motor might be confused with various issues. Among the most common are:
- The battery is dead.
- Battery terminals/cables that are loose or rusted
- There are problems with the starting circuit.
- The engine has been seized.
What to Look for in a Bad Starter Solenoid
In most cases, testing a starter solenoid is simple. The diagnostic method is primarily an elimination process.
Note that the following recommendations above are provided solely for educational and amusement purposes. Consult your vehicle’s factory information for exact repair instructions and suggested safety practices.
Examine the battery
Start troubleshooting the battery when an engine doesn’t crank (or tries to turn over slowly). Read the following article to learn how to test a battery: How to Use a Multimeter to Test a Car Battery
Make that the starter solenoid is receiving power.
Once you’ve determined that the battery is in good working order, you’ll want to see if power is going to the starter solenoid. Power won’t reach the solenoid if there’s a problem somewhere in the starting circuit, resulting in a car that won’t crank or start.