If you suspect that you need a new starter motor, here is how to tell “does your car need a new starter motor?”
- The engine won't start even though the lights are on
- The engine doesn't turn over
- Weird grinding noises
- Strange whining noises
- Engine overheating
- Oil leaks on the starter motor
- The starter motor doesn't pause
- Solenoid is damaged
- Engine starts intermittently
- The car doesn't start after engaging the starter motor
Your vehicle contains lots of interacting components that get your vehicle going. You might be familiar with some very big ones like the engine, transmission, and the battery. However, have you ever educated yourself about other components like the starter motor?
It is important for you as a driver to familiarize yourself with these other components between now and then. This helps you prevent major complications and understand what could go wrong if you ignore maintaining these components.
This article is focused on the starter motor. It provides a general overview of its main job, how long it lasts, and what exactly you're recommended for replacing the starter motor to avoid further complications that could impact your vehicle's drivability.
Therefore, once you read this article, you should be able to answer your question, “does your car need a new starter motor?”
What is the Starter motor, and what does it do?
Before we dive into the details about answering your question, “does your car need a new starter motor,” we need to understand the starter motor and what it is in the first place?
The starter motor is a critical component in any vehicle. Without this component, turn it off. Even if you have the best air, you'll spark plug come or everything needed to start your car; if there's no starter motor, there's no vehicle cranking or going.
The starter motor is a very simple component in the starting system. It is responsible for enlarging the electric power coming from the battery and making it big enough for cranking the engine and turning it over.
As you turn your key in the ignition switch, a lot of energy is sent to a specific magnetic switch to trigger the starter motor, make it receive the electric charge from the battery, and then make it big enough for the engine to start.
How long does the starter motor last?
Let's start with the motor is a pretty durable component in your car. It should typically last between 100,000 miles and 150,000 miles. But, of course, there are situations where you might deal with certain problems that get the starter motor to go bad prematurely.
Therefore, it is important not to rely only on the thresholds indicated here because things differ on a car-by-car basis and might even be different on a model-by-model basis. Check with your vehicle owner’s manual for more details, and keep an eye for any symptoms indicating a bad starter motor.
Does your car need a new starter motor? 10 signs
Obviously, by quickly understanding the basic job of the Starter motor, you can tell immediately that it is a critical component, and when it goes bad, there is no way that you can drive your car. Therefore, it is worth understanding the main signs that could help you identify starter multiple problems in your vehicle.
The good news is that automotive experts performed thorough research to identify what to look for if we need to investigate the condition of our starter motor. Of course, there is an expected threshold lifespan for the starter motor, but there are situations where it can go bad prematurely.
Let's also look at the 10 common signs of a bad starter motor to help you answer the question, “does your car need a new starter motor?”
1. The engine won't start even though the lights are on
One of the first and most common signs indicating that you have a bad starter motor is when the engine doesn't start even though the lights are turned on. This situation tells you that the battery has some charge, and this charge is not getting to the starter motor to turn on the vehicle.
Therefore, you need to consult your mechanic and confirm whether you have only a problem with the starter motor or any other components because it could be a combination of multiple faulty culprits.
Once you identify the culprits, you have to fix them because there is no way for your vehicle to start if it has a problem with the starter motor. This is because starter motor problems are not like the battery issues that you can skip using a simple thing like a jumpstart. Therefore, you must avoid getting into situations where you are stuck in nowhere without any help. Instead, consider replacing the starter motor immediately.
2. The engine doesn't turn over
Another situation that might indicate a bad starter motor is when your engine is not turning over. It means that the engine is not receiving any power from anywhere. Since the engine relies on the starter motor, this new signal of electric current, when that electric current is not received, the engine doesn't move at all.
3. Weird grinding noises
A bad starter motor might cause some weird grinding noises from the engine compartment. Listen closely, and if you feel that there are some metal-to-metal grinding noises, it could be a problem with the starter motor.
Keep in mind that this symptom is very general, and it could be linked to a variety of other issues that could happen in the engine itself. Therefore, your mechanic needs to confirm the actual culprit before moving forward and replacing the starter motor.
4. Strange whining noises
Like grinding noises, you might even deal with weird whining noises, which means that the engine is not getting the required electric current to get started, and all it's doing is just not cranking properly.
5. Engine overheating
Sometimes when you have a problem with the starter motor and your engine is overstressed and looking for that electric current to get started, you might deal with engine overheating that could lead to smoking.
A smoking vehicle is a critical situation that can be very scary for many drivers. However, it could also be linked to coolant leaks or other problems here; therefore, this engine overheating issue should be monitored closely. You need to check if it's happening after the vehicle drives or before.
6. Oil leaks on the starter motor
Since the server motor is located somewhere close to the oil reservoir, there are many situations where oil might leak inside the starter motor. It can easily damage the starter motor when this happens, and you will most likely need to replace it.
You might not immediately deal with a completely damaged starter motor once it's soaked with oil. Still, this situation can significantly shorten the lifespan of your starter motor, which means you got to replace it very soon.
7. The starter motor doesn't pause
The starter motor should stop immediately after it turns over the engine. If the starter motor keeps going and never stops, a certain motor needs to be replaced because it cannot shut off itself immediately and automatically.
8. Solenoid is damaged
The starter motor is linked to a solenoid. So, whatever the problem with the solenoid, can we also do issues in your starter motor. Therefore, we always recommend that you take care of it immediately whenever you deal with a simple problem in one component. Don't wait for a long time because it can easily impact other components.
Therefore, check with your vehicle and confirm that you don't have problems with the solenoid before only replacing the starter motor because you will deal with the same problems in no time unless you take care of that solenoid.
9. Engine starts intermittently
Intermittent engine starts could also be related to a bad starter motor. Any strange behavior from your engine is linked to many different components, one of which could be the starter motor.
10. The car doesn't start after engaging the starter motor
Finally, sometimes customers might mention that they can tell that the starter motor is engaged, but the vehicle is not starting. Therefore, it could mean that the starter motor is reaching the end of its lifetime, and while it's engaged in the starting process, it's not doing the right job, and your vehicle won't start. Thus, check on the starter motor even if you feel it is doing something.
As you mentioned earlier, when you have problems related to how your engine starts, you look at a full list of potential culprits. You want to check the solenoid, the starter motor, sometimes the battery, and others.
You need to solve this problem holistically and resolve all issues of all these components because they're linked together. Once a component goes bad, it can also damage the other ones. Therefore, don't waste your time and money solving one problem while it can easily lead to damaging the other components.
How much does it cost to replace a starter motor?
Although the starter motor might not be very expensive in certain vehicles, it can be expensive on more modern and luxury cars. Typically, expect to pay between $200 and $1450 for replacing the starter motor.
The price range is wide, and it depends heavily on your vehicle and the location where you got the job done. However, you don't want to look for savings on labor costs because if this component was installed wrong, it can easily lead to further complications that could cost you lots of money.
Can I drive with a bad starter motor?
Of course not. How will you drive if your vehicle is not starting at all? If the starter motor gets to a point where it's completely failing, your vehicle will not operate at all. We highly encourage you to monitor your Starter motor closely because when starter motor problems happen, they happen suddenly without you prepared, which means you got to end up towing your car to the repair shop to get replaced.
The starter motor is responsible for getting your vehicle going, and when it goes bad, you have to replace it because there is no other solution. While this motor is expected to last between 100,000 and 150,000 miles, it might go bad prematurely. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with different symptoms indicating a bad start.
This article walks you through 10 important symptoms to help you answer the question, “does your car need a new starter motor?” Depending on repair costs, it could be worth the repair, but at some points, if you have other mechanical problems in your car, fixing this vehicle might not be worth it. Therefore, we highly encourage you to evaluate the overall bill and include everything you need to pay to get this vehicle going.
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