Ever hear that dreaded sound or maybe no sound at all when trying to start your car, especially when you’re running behind for school drop-off, work, or other appointments? The cause could be your car starter motor!
What Is A Car Starter Motor?
The starter motor is a compact but powerful electric motor that will turn a car’s engine over at approximately 200 RPM to start the engine. The starter is at the beginning of a circuit that includes the battery, the ignition switch, a neutral safety switch, relays, and fuses.
When you turn the key or press the start button in some vehicles, the starter circuit is completed, and the starter runs. Typically, starters have a small gear (pinion) that connects with a larger ring gear on the flywheel when the starter is being powered. The small gear (pinion) turns the engine flywheel at approximately 200 RPM. The flywheel is directly connected to the crankshaft, and all engine components will turn in sync and start.
When Should You Replace Your Starter?
Starters are usually quite durable. However, most will eventually fail in one or more of the following ways:
- Intermittent operation of the starter. The starter can develop bad spots on the armature (electrical component). This causes the starter to work intermittently, and other times when you turn the key, nothing will happen.
- The starter turns too slow. Electrical and mechanical issues can cause the starter to draw too much electrical current. Sometimes, the current the starter draws will exceed what the battery is able to supply. Consequently, the engine may not start as quickly as it should.
- Unusual noises when starting. Suppose you hear any grinding or unusual noises while attempting to start the engine. This should be investigated, as the noise could mean an internal starter failure or damage to the pinion gear or flywheel ring gear.
- The starter malfunctions when turning the key. Sometimes, the first sign of a starter malfunction is a complete failure of the starter motor. When turning the key to start the car, the starter motor doesn’t function at all.
How Is The Starter Repaired?
- If the starter is faulty, the battery must be disconnected before starting any work. Once the battery is disconnected, the wiring for the starter is disconnected.
- Starters are bolted to either the engine block or the transmission case. Generally, there are two bolts attaching the starter. Access to the starter differs from car models and can require the removal or lowering of other vehicle parts.
- Once the starter has been removed and the new starter is installed, the mounting bolts are tightened to the OEM factory torque specifications. Then the electrical connections are cleaned and re-attached to the starter. The starter is then tested to confirm proper function.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Faulty Starter?
Once the vehicle engine is running, the starter is no longer in use. However, knowing that the starter is faulty could leave you at risk of being stranded if you turn the engine off, as the starter may not work again. Therefore, if you knowingly have a problem with the starter, you should have the problem addressed to avoid being left stranded.
Keep In Mind When Replacing A Starter:
- Before replacing the starter, have a diagnostic test performed to be sure the problem is a faulty starter and not a weak battery, faulty neutral start switch, or other faulty electrical components in the starter motor circuit.
- Starters draw a large amount of current from the battery, much more than other electrically powered devices in your car. This makes it essential that the electrical connections to the battery are inspected for corrosion, cleaned, and tightened as needed. The cables to the starter should also be inspected for corrosion and replaced as necessary.
Do You Need Your Car Motor Starter Repaired?
If your vehicle is having trouble starting, don’t find yourself stranded. We can help. Call or come by Tilly Mill Auto Center and let us get your car starting and running properly!