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Bad Starter Symptoms: Important Things That You Should Never Forget

bad starter symptoms

Starters are an essential component of any vehicle. It is the machine or motor that allows you to start the engine with only a flick of your keys. If your car is experiencing bad starter symptoms, the entire engine and motioning of your car will be affected.

Today, we’ll learn some of the ways to fix a bad starter. Preventing starters from sustaining any damage is also an important thing that we should learn. That is why we’ll be listing significant symptoms you need to discover. Stay tuned to find out more!

How the starter works

Before we list down the symptoms, it’s better to have a clear understanding of how the starter works. Sure, it might seem like the starter is simple, but it can get tricky to understand. A lot is going on when you turn the keys in your switch.

First, the important thing to understand is that the entry point of the keys connects to a solenoid. This solenoid serves as the bridge in engaging the pinwheel, while also acting as a connector to the battery and the main terminal.

starter solenoid

Photo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starter_solenoid

Now, we’re not going to discuss how the solenoid works. That is because it can get complicated since it engages multiple components using electricity. But what we do know now is that the solenoid is an integral part which keeps everything working.

The only important thing to keep in mind is that the solenoid has a set of springs which pushes or engages the other parts. An example would be the primary terminal being engaged with the battery, while another would be the springs pushing the pinion wheel towards the flywheel ring gear.

List of Symptoms to Look Out For

Now that we’re aware of the general principles of a starter, we can safely assume that most of its problems would include either stem from the solenoid, or to its electrical connector.

Some starters also have mechanical problems such as the mechanism of the pinion and flywheel ring gears. With all that said, here are some of the symptoms that might indicate you have a faulty or failing starter.

#1 Vehicle Fails to Start

It is by far the most common symptom of a failing starter. The starter is the first gateway for your car to start, so any failure in that regard might be a sign of starter problems.

Whenever you turn on the switch, an electrical signal must be sent to ignite the other components. It begins the mechanical process inside. Should this reaction not occur, it might hint that the starter relay is having problems.

There are dozens of ways that this can branch out. Your vehicle might even have further problems apart from the starter. With this said, it’s best to consult a professional regarding this matter.

#2 Excessive Clicking Sound Upon Ignition

woman driver starting the car engine

The clicking sound that we are saying here is when you start the engine, but the starter clicks awkwardly. This weird clicking noise might be an indication that your battery is having problems.

So why the battery? Well, as we should all know, the battery is the primary source of electricity in the vehicle. It powers components such as the headlights, the signal lights, and even the ignition.

You can hear the clicking sound because the electrical input does not meet the mechanical output. That means that the electricity that the battery is giving is not enough to keep up with the pinion and flywheel ring gears that are engaging.

Your battery might be low on amps, considering the weakness of the signal. However, this can be the other way around, because the starter relay might be the one that’s weakening. Still, it all boils down to a weak system that does not provide sufficient source.

#3 Starter Continues to Be On

I would say that this symptom is the scariest among the ones that we will list. As we all know, whenever we crank the keys in the entry point, the engine should turn on while the starter will immediately stop.

As soon as the engine is up and running, the starter closes its operation and goes back to rest. That is because it has fulfilled its job as an igniter. However, in some instances, the starter does not stop, and despite a running engine, it continues to crank.

It is scary in a way that it can damage the entire starter solenoid system along with the electrical circuits. Remember, it makes use of mechanical energy, and a starter is not meant to run more than a minute. Extending beyond that will be dangerous. Thus, it’s advisable to seek professional help immediately.

#4 Problems with the Headlights

problems with the headlights

Headlights are a good indicator that your car is experiencing an overall problem with its electrical circuit. Using lights as the basis is pretty simple. You’ll just need to crank up the engine and see if the headlights are in good condition.

If it is, then your bad starter might be caused by something else. On the other hand, dim, foggy, or shut headlights can mean a thing or two. For one, you could retrace it to the condition of your battery. Lots of dead lights are due to dead batteries.

However, if your headlight is dimming, it might mean that there could be an open circuit in your starter. It is quite a broad generalisation since the cause of the dim lights is the faulty battery terminals.

In a Nutshell

Overall, you can associate your car’s starter with the other electrical components of car’s system. That is because the starter makes use of electricity as its primary driving force to create that mechanical energy between the wheel and gears.

Thus, it’s important to remember that the battery and headlights of your car are crucial in determining the status of the starter. However, always be aware that the starter can still run when you close it. When that happens, it’s more on the mechanical component rather than the electrical, so keep that in mind.

Proper maintenance is always the key. Check your batteries and replace them responsibly when needed. Remember, one checkup a week keeps the wrenches away! Good luck!

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