The first indication your starter may be going bad is at the moment you try to start your car. If you turn the key and simply hear a clicking sound, or nothing at all, then it may be the starter. Given the fact that it also could be a problem with the battery, car mechanics recommend trying to turn on the headlights or interior lights. If they light up properly, then the problem is not with the battery and is likely the starter.
There is nothing more frustrating than a dead car. When your car won’t start, it is likely a problem with the battery, alternator or starter. But how do you know which part is causing your issue? All these parts work together to power your vehicle so it can be hard to know which part is at fault. Read on to learn some ways to determine where the cause of your problems lies.
Use Your Ears and Your Headlights to Help Diagnose Your Starter System
Funny sounds, or no sound, upon the turn of the key may indicate electrical problems in the starter or elsewhere in the starting system. Some of the most common electrical problems are corroded electrical connections, an undercharged or bad battery, or a malfunctioning component:
The starter motor is what gets your engine running when you turn the ignition key or push the start button.
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 (or sufficiently charged) in order to operate the starter motor. This is the reason why a dead battery can sometimes be mistaken for a starter problem.
Symptoms of a failing starter
Your vehicle won’t start: You turn the key (or push the start button), but the engine doesn’t crank. You may hear no sound at all, or there may be a clicking or clanking noise. It’s likely that a key part of your starter system has either malfunctioned or failed. The problem could be related to the starter motor, the solenoid or the electrical system. Clearly, you’ll want to get this fixed, and it may require a tow to your mechanic.
What happens if the starter solenoid is bad?
When the solenoid goes bad, something happens so there is inadequate or no current to the starter when you turn the key. Internal corrosion may freeze the slug in its “away” position. The power contacts may burn or corrode, adding enough resistance to the circuit so that the starter doesn’t engage properly, or doesn’t turn the engine over. And that’s what happens when a solenoid goes bad — the engine won’t turn over.
How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter?
If this is the case, disconnect the battery and use a fine-grade sandpaper to clean the affected areas. It will remove the dirt, stain, and rust. If the corrosion seems pretty stubborn, apply a mixture of water and caustic soda. Be careful about not to damage any connections.
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Feed your starter every day if kept on the counter or once a week if refrigerated. Remove one cup of the starter every day and use this for bread or discard it. Stir in 1 cup of water into the starter and an additional cup of fresh flour. Cover until the next day, when you feed it again.