What are the signs of a bad starter? Have you wondered if the starter makes a sound before it goes bad? It’s important to note that the starter turns the engine. If your engine turns over but does not start, the starter motor is not to blame. Such a situation would indicate that you have an issue with air/fuel delivery, spark delivery, or compression, rather than a bad starter.

Another thing to remember is that problems with other parts of the vehicle can mimic many of the symptoms associated with a bad starter. Never assume the starter is to blame without doing some troubleshooting first.

Let’s look at the common signs of a bad starter:

Engine Won’t Crank or Start

The most obvious sign of a bad starter is that your engine that won’t turn over. There are a few other reasons besides a bad starter that can prevent the engine from cranking. A few examples include a bad battery, failed ignition switch, or an engine mechanical problem. If you hear a fast clicking when trying to start the car, that usually points to a bad battery. In any scenario, you’ll want to perform a thorough diagnosis to determine the root cause of the car not starting.

Grinding Noise While Starting the Engine

If the teeth on the starter pinion gear are damaged, or the starter fails to retract soon enough once the engine is running, you will hear a grinding noise while starting the engine. The problem can also result from damaged teeth on the flywheel that mesh with the starter gear.

Whirring Noise When Trying to Start the Engine

A defective starter drive can allow the pinion gear to freewheel during engine cranking, resulting in a whirring or whining noise. In most cases, because the pinion gear isn’t engaging the flywheel properly, the engine will also fail to crank.

Engine Turns Slowly

An internal problem with the starter motor can cause the engine to crank slowly. But the problem can also be caused by other issues, such as a weak battery or internal engine problem. You’ll need to do your homework to determine whether the starter is to blame. An internal problem with the starter motor can cause the engine to crank slowly.

If you have any follow up questions to diagnosing your starter, give us a call at Callahan Automotive – we would love to help you understand the issue and get your car back on the road safely.