Is My Starter Going?

by Driver's Way
11/14/2018 - Pelham, AL

Holding car keys

Are you having trouble starting your car? You might automatically blame a dead battery, and sometimes that truly is the case. However, your vehicle’s starter could also be at fault. If you’re wondering how you can tell if the starter is the issue opposed to another electrical component, look out for these five warning signs:

1. Grinding Noise

If the starter drive gear is worn out or not engaging properly, it will typically produce a grinding noise as you turn the key in the ignition. When this unfortunate symptom is ignored, it could result in damage to the engine flywheel.

2. Freewheeling

If you crank the engine and only hear a whining noise from the starter, your vehicle is freewheeling. This means the starter gear is not engaging the flywheel, and could result in the need for a new starter. If freewheeling occurs, you should have your starter checked immediately by a mechanic.

3. Smoke

Smoke is the telltale sign of an immediate concern, and can reveal a number of problems with the starter or starting circuit. The presence of smoke typically indicates that too much power is being drawn through the electrical supply to a starter, a short-circuit in the starter motor itself, or a burned-out starter after attempting to crank the engine too many times. If you see smoke, we highly recommend calling a tow truck for assistance.

4. Oil Soak

Since the starter is often located around the bottom of the engine, it’s vulnerable to being soaked by leaks from your engine oil or other drivetrain fluids. If this is the case, you should consider fixing the leak and getting the starter replaced before it malfunctions.

5. Malfunctioning Solenoid

If you turn the key to the crank position and nothing happens, try jiggling the transmission gear shift lever. If the engine still doesn’t crank, there could be a problem with your vehicle’s solenoid.

Service Your Vehicle at Driver’s Way in Pelham

At Driver’s Way in Pelham, we understand the frustrations that come with a problematic starter. Whether your car’s starter is on the fritz, or if you’re experiencing other issues, bring your vehicle into our service center!

If you have any questions for our used car dealership in Pelham, or would like to schedule service, don’t hesitate to contact us at (205) 271-6738.

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