How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter

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How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter

How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter | Car Starter Problems

We’ve all experienced the situation where you switch on the ignition, but the engine refuses to start. When this happens, your starter likely is to blame. Couldn’t you get worked up over it? Fixing a defective starter isn’t rocket science, and a few easy measures may be all that’s required.

What exactly is a starter?

A starter (also known as a self-starter, cranking motor, or starter motor) is a mechanism that rotates (cranks) an internal-combustion engine to start it on its own. Electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic starters are available. In the case of particularly big engines, especially diesel engines in agricultural or excavation applications, the starter can also be another internal-combustion engine.

Internal combustion engines are feedback systems that, once started, rely on the inertia of previous cycles to start the next. The third stroke of a four-stroke engine releases energy from the fuel, powering the fourth (exhaust) and first two (intake, compression) strokes of the following cycle and the engine’s external load. The first two strokes must be powered by something other than the engine to begin the first cycle at each given session. This is done with the starter motor, which is no longer needed once the engine is started and the feedback loop is self-sustaining.

Wind-up springs, gunpowder cylinders, and human-powered procedures such as a removable crank handle that engaged the front of the crankshaft, pushing on an airplane propeller, or pulling a cord around an open-face pulley were all used to start engines before the advent of the starter motor.

An engine’s behavior during startup is not always predictable. The engine might suddenly reverse rotation if it kicks back. Many manual starters have a one-directional slip or release feature that allows the starter to detach from the engine once it starts rotating.

In the event of a kickback, the engine’s reverse rotation could contact the starter, causing the crank to jerk abruptly and unexpectedly, potentially hurting the mechanic. A kickback on a cord-wound starting could drag the mechanic towards the engine or machine or swing the starter cord and handle around the starter pulley at high speed. 

Even though cranks have an overrun mechanism, the crank could keep spinning together with the crankshaft and strike the person cranking the engine. Furthermore, care had to be taken to retard the spark to avoid backfiring; with an advanced spark setting, the engine might kickback (run in reverse), pulling the crank along with it because the overrun safety mechanism worked in one direction.

Most common signs of a defective car starter

Even with a fully charged battery, your vehicle will not start.

Even with a fully charged battery,  if you can’t start your vehicle, it is the most common indicator of a faulty starter. The starter could be blamed if the battery appears to be in good condition. You can also examine if the headlights and other electrical components are working properly to narrow down the source of the problem.

Clicking noises that aren’t normal

Another common indicator of a malfunctioning starter is a sharp clicking sound. You might hear them if you try to start the engine. On the other hand, the clicking sounds could be caused by a dead battery. Test your battery first to ensure a fast boost won’t fix everything.

Slow initial speed

Your car’s starter may be malfunctioning if it takes many attempts and extra time to start. Even though starting times vary by vehicle, it is simple to determine whether your car is taking longer than usual to start.

A starter drenched in oil

This one may necessitate the use of your hood. Engine oil leaks are a common cause of a failing starting, and you may discover your starter bathed in it. In this situation, cleaning the starter could be a difficult task that requires professional assistance.

Freewheeling Issues

Instead of starting, a distinct whining noise generated by your car indicates a defective starter. This could result from a freewheel failing to link with the electric motor.

There are five different ways to start a car with a bad starter

While a specialist may be required to repair the starter completely, these easy troubleshooting steps may be sufficient to get your car started and the nearest auto repair shop.

1. Keep an eye out for any connections that aren’t working properly

The source of the problem is typically discovered to be a loose wire or a dirty connection. Ensure that all of the starter’s components are correctly connected. Use a ratchet to tighten them if they aren’t tight enough. Apart from that, keep an eye out for corrosion.

Battery degeneration might also cause a defective starter. Regular vehicle checkups might assist in avoiding these problems.


2. Go old school and start the engine

One of the most traditional means of rejuvenating a beginning is to tap it. Using a hammer to pound the starter is incredibly effective and scientifically proven gently.

As the starter wears down, it generates some dead spots between the armature and field coils. Tapping the starter will help move the armature over the dead spots and reactivate the starter. However, use caution when using the hammer, as mechanical damage to a starter can be costly.

3. Think about jump-starting the car

A larger and more powerful battery might provide a tremendous burst of current to the starter, solving the problem. This extra power may assist the armature in overcoming any dead spots, allowing it to spin faster and start.

4. Circumnavigating the relay

Another old but successful method for starting a car with a defective starter is to provide 12 volts directly to the solenoidal coil. All you’ll need is a screwdriver or a wire to get started. Connect the positive terminal of the starter to the solenoid terminal with the wire to bypass the relay switch and supply 12 volts directly to the solenoid. That sudden rush of force might be enough to get your car started.

In certain cases, a long screwdriver may be able to contact the two terminals.

5. Start the engine by Pushing Car

You can always jump-start your car if it has a manual transmission. By having someone push your automobile, you may get a minimum speed of 5-10 miles per hour. Ensure your automobile is in first or second gear and your ignition key is switched on. Let the clutch release once you’ve reached the necessary speed; the speed should be sufficient to force the engine to rotate and start the car.

Final thoughts

Overall, the options listed above are temporary cures that will help you get beyond a defective starter for the time being. It is still good to get your starting system inspected by a mechanic as soon as feasible.