What Is A Car Starter?

The car starter is the component that receives the charge from your car’s battery and then sends it to the alternator. If your car starter is malfunctioning, that charge won’t get passed along and your car won’t start.

The starter itself is made up of two pieces: the primary motor in charge of turning the crankshaft that starts the engine, and the solenoid, which is a relay that engages the starter’s drive gear.

7 Symptoms Of A Bad Car Starter

1. Your Engine Won’t Turn Over

The telltale sign that something is wrong with your car starter is nothing happening when you turn the key or push the start button. A likely cause is that your starter motor or relay has burned out.

2. You Hear Clicking, Whirring, Or Grinding

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Should you hear unfamiliar noises after turning your key or pushing Start, you’ve got cause for alarm. Hearing a grinding, whirring, or clicking noise is a telltale sign of a starter that’s about to die.

Worn out starter components won’t engage properly and will produce grinding noises. Failure to address this can cause damage to your engine’s flywheel.

3. Delayed Starts

In the event that your car doesn’t start instantly the first time you turn your key, but starts up on the second turn, you may be dealing with a defective starter relay.

Starter relays either send full electrical currents to the starter or they send nothing. A defective one can cause the clicking sound symptomatic of a bad starter.

4. Starter Remains On After Starting

The starting circuit closes after starting the engine and releasing the key or Start button. A continuous grinding sound from beneath the vehicle after your car is running may be the result of a stuck starter.

A stuck starter will cause the relay to constantly act as if you're trying to start the car. A relay damaged like this can cause the clicking sound mentioned in symptom #2 and result in severe damage to the starter system and transmission.

5. Smoke From The Engine

If you continue trying to start your car with a bad starter, it may overheat. In the event of overheating, you’ll see smoke rise from beneath the engine.

This can be caused by a short circuit, a problem with the ignition switch, or a blown fuse.

6. Starter Engages, Motor Doesn’t Start

Turning the ignition, but the motor won’t turn over could be a mechanical issue with the starter. A gear connected to the flywheel has stripped or become dislodged against the flywheel.

7. Battery Issues

There are times when your engine not turning over is the fault of your battery. The battery itself may be lacking in power and need a jump or replacement (as opposed to a brand new car starter) before starting your car up properly.

How Long Does A Car Starter Last?

Car starters actually last a pretty long time; most lasting over 100,000 miles before showing any signs of wear. It’s best to look into their maintenance around the 80,000 mile mark.

Regardless of the fact that starters tend to last long, you should be doing your best to ensure they last as long as possible.

how much does a car starter cost

Tips To Ensure Your Car Starter Lasts Longer

  • Clean The Connector Wires- The wires connecting the starter and the battery can build up dirt and grime over time. Cleaning them periodically will prevent the wires from degrading prematurely.

  • Tighten The Mounting Bolts - The mounting bolts are what keep your starter motor in place. If they loosen over time, the flywheel won’t engage and you’ll hear a grinding sound whenever you try to start your vehicle.

  • Clean The Solenoid - The solenoid attaches to the positive terminal of your battery. Periodically cleaning it will keep dirt and debris from building up and corroding it.

  • Clean The Battery Terminals - Cleaning the battery terminals helps fight off the corrosion they are prone to due to battery acid.

  • Periodically Inspect The Flywheel - Attached to the flywheel is a gear which, if worn, cracked, or missing, can wear out your starter even faster. Checking on it can keep you from dealing with a bad flywheel and starter.

How Much Does A Car Starter Replacement Cost?

Average Starter Costs (Part):
Average Starter Replacement Costs (Labor): $150-$1,100
Average Total Starter Replacement Costs: $200-$1,450

Depending on the age, condition, mileage, and other attributes of your vehicle, the cost of replacing the starter may exceed the car’s actual value.

Weighing the opportunity costs of repairing the vehicle or just getting a new one, you definitely have to ask yourself what you’ll be doing with your junk car.

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Who Buys Cars With Bad Starters?

DamagedCars specializes in taking less-than-perfect cars off their owner’s hands. A bad starter might be a hassle for you to fix, but it’s the perfect fit for DamagedCars.

Our entire process is as simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Get your free quote! Simply enter some basic information about your car on our website and you’ll receive a free and guaranteed quote within 90 seconds.

    Towing is complementary, so you’ll never have to worry about hidden or additional fees taking away from the profits you take home.

  2. Schedule your pickup within 24-48 hours! If you’re happy with your quote, you’ll be able to schedule your vehicle retrieval with one of our partners within your area. They’re trusted to come to you at a time that works best for you.

  3. Complete your sale! After a quick inspection and transferring of your title, you’ll receive the amount you were quoted, no haggling or fuss. Your vehicle is taken off your hands and money is put in them!

Contact DamagedCars today and worry about what to do when your car starter has gone bad no more!

Need answers? Get FREE advice from our client care experts NOW!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does A Car Starter Last?

Car starters last pretty long. They usually persist past the 100,000 mile mark.

How Long Does It Take To Replace A Starter?

It takes between two and four hours to replace a car starter. If your starter is particularly difficult to get to, then you may incur additional costs for your repair.

Can I Drive With A Bad Starter?

If your car even starts with a bad starter, then it’s not in your best interest to drive with it. You’ll likely only cause further damage to more components like your engine and transmission.

How Much Is A Car Starter?

The average car starter costs $80-$400. This does not include labor costs, which can escalate the total replacement costs to over $1,000.
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