How to Check Car Starter | What Are Common Bad Starter Symptoms? | How Do You Troubleshoot Starter Problems?

What Are Common Bad Starter Symptoms

How to Check Car Starter

How to Check Car Starter

Even when the battery in a vehicle is in great condition, it is possible for the vehicle’s starter to fail to turn on the engine and allow the vehicle to move. In situations like these, the problem could be a mechanical one or it could be an electrical malfunction in the circuitry. Both of these scenarios are possible.

You will need either a test lamp, a circuit tester, or a voltmeter in order to perform checks on the starter system. The system is fairly simple, and the checks can be performed with relative ease. To do a mechanical inspection, which consists of nothing more than inspecting the pinion gear, you will need nothing more than a spanner.

Let’s talk about the setups first before we move on to the first steps of the process.

To begin, a hefty lead is utilized to make the connection between the live terminal of the battery and a terminal located on the switch that controls the solenoid. When the ignition is turned on, the switch that controls the solenoid goes into operation.

In the meantime, one of the terminals of the starter motor needs to be connected to the second terminal of the solenoid. Either a strap of wire that is threaded through the engine or a gearbox is going to need to be used in order to earth another terminal of the motor.

It is necessary to make a connection between the earth terminal of the battery and the bodywork of the vehicle. A pre-engaged starter, in which the solenoid is mounted on top of the casing, is standard equipment in today’s contemporary automobiles. In older automobiles, the solenoid would be mounted in a separate location within the engine compartment. This type of starter was known as an inertia starter.

Discover the many things you can do with your vehicle, and pay attention to the following instructions.

Check the starter pinion as the first step:

Test of the Car Starting Pinion

You should begin by turning on the headlights and giving the starter a few turns before doing anything else. The presence of dim headlights is an indication that the starter pinion has been caught in a mesh with the flywheel.

Try to find a square stub that is located closer to the end of the spindle of the starting motor. In the event that you come across one, you can utilise a spanner to turn it and, as a result, free the opinion. It is imperative that you refrain from working on the starter switch until the pinion has been successfully unlocked.

The battery provides power to the starter, which is a miniature motor. It kick-starts the engine of your car so that it can move. Power is transferred from the battery to the starter motor via a starter relay, which is located between the two components. You won’t be able to start your vehicle if it doesn’t have a starter relay and motor that are in good working order, and you might need a tow.

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What Are Common Bad Starter Symptoms?

#1. Something Sounds Off

When you turn the key or press the start button on an automobile, you may hear a clicking sound. This is one of the signs that the starter is not working properly. However, a starting can pass away without producing any sound at all, or it may warn its imminent demise with a whirring and grinding noise—so pay attention to what it has to say!

#2. You Have Lights but No Action in the Game

If you try to start the engine and all of the lights on the dashboard come on, but the engine still won’t turn over, the problem might be with the starter.

#3. Your Engine Will Not Start at All

Even after you have attempted to jumpstart it, is your engine not starting to rev up? At this juncture, you should contact roadside assistance and drive your vehicle to the closest Firestone Complete Auto Care location as soon as possible. Your engine will not start with anything other than the help of a trained professional if a jumpstart doesn’t do the trick.

#4. It Looks Like Smoke Is Coming from Your Vehicle

Because it is a component of the electrical system in your vehicle, the starter might experience issues such as blown fuses and short circuits. If you have been trying very hard to get your automobile to start, the starter may overheat, which increases the likelihood that there will be electrical problems and the smoke that comes along with them. Instead of trying to turn the key more forcefully, you should contact for assistance if you see or smell smoke.

#5. The Starter Has Been Drenched in Oil

The starter for your vehicle is often located on the driver’s side of the engine (if the vehicle has RWD), immediately below the exhaust manifold. Check the area on the driver’s side of the vehicle above the transmission or under the exhaust manifold if the vehicle has FWD. On some automobiles, you might also find them situated directly beneath the intake manifold.

If you lift the hood of your vehicle and notice that the starter is covered in engine oil, this could be a sign that there is another issue with your vehicle, perhaps an oil leak. Unfortunately, what starts out as a few drops of oil can slowly and sometimes unnoticeably turn into an expensive problem. Because of this, it is important to keep an eye out for oil leaks in order to prevent problems with starters of this nature.

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What Causes Starter Problems?

A poor starter can be the result of a number of different issues, including the following:

  • The unsecured wire leading up to and coming from the starter
  • Connections at the starter that are either dirty or rusted
  • Corrosion of batteries
  • Components in the starting system that are broken or worn out
  • Oil seeps
  • A faulty fuse or relay.

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How Do You Troubleshoot Starter Problems?

Assuming that you have already tried to start your vehicle by yourself and by using a jump starter, the next stage in the process of troubleshooting is for you to try one of the following suggestions.

#1. Look at What’s Going on Beneath the Hood

Examine the batteries as well as the wires that connect them to make certain that everything is in good working order. It is possible that the problem with your vehicle is not the starter but rather the battery, which could be weak or dead, or even the battery cables themselves. If this is the case, you will need to replace the battery.

#2. Press the Start Button

It is recommended that you give the starter a couple of light taps with something firm, but you should take care not to pound it. This light tapping may, in some cases, be able to assist in powering it back up because you will be putting the electrical components back into touch with each other after you are through.

Do you know that if you have an older television set, beating on the edge of the set will occasionally bring the picture back into focus? It’s not completely unrelated to that in any way. On the other hand, similar to your broken television, your vehicle may only react to this fix momentarily — just long enough for you to drive it to the nearest service centre.

#3. Adjust the Transmission

Imagine that the “park” setting on the automatic transmission of your car is engaged, yet the vehicle still won’t start despite this. In the event that this is the circumstance, you need to make an effort to start the vehicle while it is in the “neutral” position.

If it starts in “neutral,” there may be a technical issue that is preventing the car from starting in “park,” such as a faulty neutral safety switch. If it starts in “park,” there may not be a problem with the neutral safety switch. If it starts in the “drive” position, there shouldn’t be any issues.

#4. Check the Gauge to See How Much Fuel Is Left

We are well aware of the fact that this query can appear to be ridiculous, but…has the gas in your car run out? When it comes to the problem of why your car won’t start, it is most certainly the case!

In many cases, the quickest way to fix an issue is to tap on a starter that is not working properly. You might be able to get your car rolling again, at least momentarily, by giving it a jump start, but after that, you should have the problem looked at by a skilled professional technician who has experience in the field.

If a jumpstart or tapping the battery does not get the car started, you will most likely need to have the vehicle towed to a repair shop, where the starter will be either repaired or replaced. If a jumpstart or tapping the battery does not get the car started, you will most likely need to have the battery tapped. That is something that we are able to help you with.

If you have even the smallest idea that there may be something wrong with your starter, don’t waste any time and go on over to your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care as soon as possible. You won’t have to pay anything for the inspection, and there won’t be any duties associated with it either.

If the starter in your vehicle has stopped working, our trained mechanics are able to repair your vehicle in the correct manner, at the appropriate price, and on time without compromising the quality of the work.

If your vehicle has a manual transmission, you will need to stop the engine, shift into the second gear, and then release the hand brake before you will be allowed to move forward. If your vehicle does not have a manual transmission, you will only need to release the hand brake. When the pinion is unlocked, the vehicle will no longer sway from side to side; nonetheless, it will keep moving in both the forward and the reverse directions.

In the event that the headlights have retained the same level of brightness as they had previously, you will need to investigate the possibility that there is an electrical problem.

Finding the source of the electrical problem, which is sometimes referred to as an electrical defect, is the second item that needs to be done.

A fault with the electrical system might have been brought about by any one of a very large number of diverse factors. The power input test is the very first thing that needs to be done in order for you to find out whether or not the electricity is getting to the solenoid.

You will need to attach a tester lamp to the connection point that can be found between the earth and the feed terminal in order to successfully complete this task. You can locate this connection point by looking between the earth and the feed terminal.

However, before continuing with anything else, you need to make certain that both the terminal on the battery and the battery itself is in satisfactory condition. Only then should you move on to the next step. After that, look at the opposite end of the earth strap from where it is attached to the battery.

After that, examine the opposite end of the earth strap. The last step is to determine, with the assistance of a test bulb or a circuit tester, whether or not current is being supplied to the solenoid. This ought to be completed as quickly as time permits.

Connect one of the leads and then earth the other lead by connecting it to the metal on the bodywork that has not yet been finished. This will complete the process. If the light switch is activated, the problem is most likely located in either the starter or the solenoid. If the lamp does not light up, the issue is most likely located in another part of the house.

If the ground strap of the engine is not functioning properly and the lamp does not light up even though the connection is earthed to the body, this is an indication that the ground strap is defective. It is a sign that the engine is not correctly grounded if the connection is earthed to the body, but the lamp still does not light up.

It is possible that one of the bolts has worked its way free, and the dirt may have gotten in the way, which would explain why the contact isn’t very good. Another possibility is that both of these things have happened at the same time. If the bulb lights up when it is earthed to the body of the automobile but does not light up when it is earthed to the engine, the fault must be with the earth strap that is attached to the engine.

It is possible that one of the bolts isn’t properly secured, and dirt could be hiding behind it, which would make contactless reliable. Another possibility is that none of the bolts are properly secured. If, on the other hand, the lamp does not light up at all, this is an indication that the connections between the solenoid and the battery are not functioning as they should be.

In the event that this does occur, you will be tasked with conducting a power output test as part of the necessary actions. This test’s objective is to determine the magnitude of the current that flows from the solenoid to the starter.

In order to accomplish this task, you will need to connect the test light to the ground in addition to connecting the output wire of the solenoid to the test lamp.

In the third phase, in addition to inspecting the starter motor, you will need to examine the structure of the solenoid as well.

You are going to want some assistance in order to effectively verify the performance of the solenoid so that you do not make any mistakes. It is important that you pay attention to the noise that is being made by the starter switch while your assistant is working on it while you attend to other matters.

When the contacts are brought into close proximity with one another, you should hear a “click” sound if the solenoid is functioning properly. This noise is made whenever there is an electrical connection between the contacts. If, on the other hand, you do not hear the “click” sound that was previously described, the problem may be located in the ignition switch itself, the terminals of the ignition switch, the solenoid itself, the wiring, or any combination of these four locations.

If you do not hear the “click” sound, the problem may be located in any one of these four locations or any combination of these four locations. If, on the other hand, you do hear a “click” sound, the issue could be in any one of these four locations.

Checking the wiring of the ignition switch is the fourth step, so make sure you do that. It is important to double-check both the key and the ignition switch.

Make a connection for the lamp at the ground terminal of the battery, as well as the solenoid that is connected to the starter. Do this before you turn the engine on. By carrying out these steps, the solenoid will be able to supply the starter motor with the appropriate amount of electrical current.

When the starter switch is turned on, the lamp should light up if there is nothing wrong with the connection between the two components. If the light does not come on, make sure the car is in the parking position and then shift it to neutral. After that, give it another shot to turn the key.

After that, you are going to want to make sure that the ignition is turned off, and then you are going to want to make sure that the two principal terminals that can be located on the solenoid are carefully connected. Because of this, we are now ready to go on to the following step in the procedure.

Because of the nature of this activity, the switch contacts that are located within the solenoid will not come into touch with anything. After that, peel back the covers of the rubber terminal utilising a solid screwdriver that has a handle that is insulated from electricity in order to avoid getting shocked. After that, access the terminal by temporarily jamming the blade of the screwdriver between the terminal for a few seconds.

You should make it an absolute priority to ensure that the blade does not in any way come into touch with your hands. Sparks would shoot in all directions if you did this, and the starter might turn as a result of the sparks.

If the starter is able to turn, this is evidence that the problem lies with the solenoid rather than the starter itself. If the starter does not rotate, there is probably certainly a problem with the beginning motor of some kind. In the event that this is the situation, the vehicle will need to be taken in as soon as possible for repairs.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to Check Car Starter

Connect the remote starter switch to the battery positive and the solenoid (smaller wire) terminal on the starter and click the switch. If nothing happens, you’ve got a bad starter. If the starter turns, the problem is in the electrical system.

Test a Car Starter

With the ignition turned off and the transmission in “park” — and with all due care — connect one end of the red/positive jumper cable to the positive terminal of the battery. Touch the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal on the starter motor. The starter should spin/crank the engine.

Check Car Starter

Connect the remote starter switch to the battery positive and the solenoid (smaller wire) terminal on the starter and click the switch. If nothing happens, you’ve got a bad starter. If the starter turns, the problem is in the electrical system.

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