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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Starter?

Table of Contents

In this post, we explore the signs that you should look for when your car won’t start correctly and the symptoms of a bad starter.

We also consider what happens if the starter is bad and give you an overview of the price you should expect to pay for a replacement.

Your car depends on a functioning starter to ignite.

When your starter goes bad, you may hear strange sounds come from the car.

Sometimes, you may get the car to start after a few tries, but this could lead to electrical issues.

Symptoms Of A Bad Starter

signs of a bad starter

There are a few signs that may tell you that your car has a bad starter.

Knowing what to look out for helps you realize when you need to take appropriate action.

This can help you avoid future problems, such as irreparable damage to the starter.

There are many times where early detection of starter problems leads to a less expensive repair.

Let’s take a closer look at common symptoms of a bad starter.

1. Starter Does Not Shut Off

If you switch off the engine, then the starter is supposed to switch off with it.

Sometimes, however, you may find that the starter remains on even after you switched off the engine.

This can be an early sign of trouble with your starter.

In most cases, this indicates that the solenoid’s main contacts have melted together.

This happens due to the high temperatures in the car.

If the starter does not shut off, then it may cause damage to the flywheel in your car, as well as the entire starter system.

2. Noise

Many people find that one of the easiest ways to identify a bad starter is to listen to certain sounds.

A grinding noise is most common when there are problems with the starter.

This usually happens if the gear in the starter system wears out.

As the drive gear wears out, it may start to push against other pieces of the system.

In this case, you are likely to hear a grinding noise as you try to start the car.

It is also possible that the noise comes from a drive gear that fails to engage.

Failure to attend to a grinding noise could, later on, cause serious damage to the flywheel in your engine.

3. Relay Problems

Some people find that turning the key a second or third time causes their car to start.

This, however, is another symptom that should not be ignored.

When the car starts after a few tries, then it likely means there are problems with the relay in the starter system.

The relay needs to send an electrical current – and if this fails, the car won’t start.

The most common sign is a clicking sound when you turn your key.

The starter relay can usually be replaced at a much lower cost compared to the starter motor.

What Happens When You Have A Bad Starter?

Symptoms Of A Bad Starter

There are a few things that can happen if your car has a bad starter.

First, consider whether you are going to continue driving with the faulty starter or get it replaced.

When you choose to use a screwdriver to bypass the starter, then damage dealt with the starter may worsen.

For example, if corrosion is causing problems with the starter, then this may become worse over time.

In the end, you have a starter that is severely damaged – which means rebuilding of the starter may not be possible.

The cause behind the problems with the starter should be considered here.

Apart from corrosion, it is possible for an oil leak to cause issues with a car’s starter.

If this is the case, the oil will continue to leak onto the starter and starter motor as you continue to drive.

Perhaps the car still starts after a few tries, so you do not pay attention to the cause immediately.

The oil does not only drip onto the starter but also seeps into the small holes – which means the oil will penetrate toward the interior of the starter.

Over time, this can become a major problem.

The starter may start to overheat, which can also cause electrical problems to develop.

How Much Does A Starter Cost?

The cost of a starter varies between different dealers and workshops.

Some shops offer parts at lower rates than others.

It is also important to consider whether you are buying a branded or generic starter.

OEM starters will generally be more expensive than generic alternatives.

The type of starter is another thing to consider, as well as whether you are buying a new starter or one that has been rebuilt.

Once all of these factors have been considered, it is easier to determine an estimated amount you will pay for the starter.

The general rule is to expect a cost that may run from $50 all the way up to $350 if you are willing to have a rebuilt starter installed in your vehicle.

The lowest price for a new starter is usually around $80.

The price of a new starter can, however, exceed $350.

This is why many people opt for a rebuilt option – in this case, you do need to ensure the starter was rebuilt by an experienced mechanic.

You should also note that there are additional costs involved in the process of getting your starter replaced.

You will be billed for the starter, as well as any labor required to replace your existing starter.

Some people are capable of replacing their own starter, but if you do not have experience as a mechanic, then this is not advisable.

If you need to have your current starter rebuilt, then you will pay a labor fee that can vary from $150 to around $1,100.

How Do You Know If Your Starter Is Bad Or Your Alternator?

If ignition fails, then there are a few things to consider.

While the starter may be an initial part to look at, do not overlook the part that your car’s alternator plays in the process.

It is important to do a test on your battery before considering the alternator.

If you test the battery and finds that it is pushing power through to your voltmeter, then you should investigate if the alternator is going bad.

Try to get the car starting.

Once started, remove the cable on the battery that is connected to the positive connector.

Your alternator is the issue if the car immediately stops once you remove the positive connector.

How Do You Tell If It Is Your Battery Or Starter?

bad starter or battery

There are times where the fault does not lie with your starter but instead is caused by a dead battery.

To determine whether the starter or battery is the problem, the best procedure is to turn your key.

As you turn the key, take notice of what happens and listen for any sounds that come from the car.

If you turn the key and there is a clicking noise that comes from the starter, then the battery is not the problem.

In this situation, it is your starter that is faulty.

If you turn the key and there are no sounds, with the lights staying off, then you should take a closer look at the battery.

Final Words

A bad starter interferes with your car’s ability to start.

It may delay the start process or lead to no ignition when turning the key.

Numerous problems with a car can cause the ignition to fail.

This is why you should learn about the symptoms of a bad starter.

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