USA Edition – Decoding Symptoms, Causes, and Fixes of a Troublesome Car Starter Motor

Have you ever thought about what happens when you turn the key in your car’s ignition? You might say that it starts to crank. However, getting the engine to crank is much more than you think, and it requires a flow of air into the engine, which can only be achieved by generating suction. 

If the engine is not turning over, then no air will be sucked. The starter motor works to turn the engine, allowing it to suck in air and get started.  

The car starter motor is a very important part of an internal combustion engine because it starts to turn the engine. It is mainly used to start the engine until it begins running on its own. 

How Does The Starter Motor Works? 

First of all, you insert the ignition key into its position and turn it. This action triggers an electric impulse to the starter solenoid, which is a relay switch located on top of the motor for starting.

The electrical signal then reaches the starter solenoid, where it activates a small pinion gear that engages with the engine’s flywheel. The flywheel is a big wheel with teeth that are connected to the engine’s crankshaft.

The pinion gear disengages with the flywheel as it meshes its teeth together, thereby establishing a mechanical connection between the starter motor and the engine.

Once these are engaged, the electric motor of the starter is switched on. This motor takes the electrical energy from the car’s battery and turns it into mechanical action, which makes the pinion gear rotate.

The motion of the pinion gear rotates the engine’s crankshaft. This action starts the internal combustion process in the engine, drawing air and fuel to prepare the necessary conditions for burning.

At the same time that the engine starts to crank, the combustion process kicks in and begins running the engine on its own. At this stage, the work of the starter motor ends.

Symptoms That Indicate Starter Motor Failure 

No Cranking Occurs 

When you put the key in the ignition, the starter motor should kick on and engage the driving engine so that it cranks over to start. 

If you hear complete silence or just a clicking sound when turning the key, then it implies that, there is no electrical power being sent to the starter motor.

Cramps may also result from issues with electrical problems in the starter motor system. This can involve problems with the battery, such as having a low voltage or being completely dead, as well as issues regarding the starter solenoid, which is an essential part of connectivity between the switch and the on/off relay.

Slow cranking is another obvious sign of a problem with the car’s starter motor. Use the key, and turning it should start the engine with speed and enthusiasm. If you notice any symptoms that your starter motor is not functional, then you should contact a reputed car repair shop in Houston

Weak Electrical Current 

The starter motor needs a strong flow of electrical current to work properly. All the electrical or mechanical failures of the starter, such as weak supply, discharged battery, and corroded terminals, will cause a slow crank.

With time, the internal parts of this starter motor, such as brushes and armature, become weary. 

This wear and tear can decrease the efficiency of the motor, which will then struggle to initiate rotation as the engine.

Unusual Noises are Heard 

There are issues with a starter motor if loud and strange noises occur during starting. These sounds can facilitate early diagnosis of problems and repairs or replacements where necessary.

If you hear a grinding sound when starting your car, it is likely that the starter motor has gone bad. This noise is heard when the starter motor’s gears do not lock onto the flywheel correctly. The sound of grinding means that gears do not fit each other smoothly.

Causes Behind Starter Motor Failure 

General Wear and Tear 

Wear and tear is a normal occurrence over time as mechanical parts are used. Unlike any other part of the vehicle’s ignition system, the starter motor is not immune to wear and tear.

Typically, brushes made of graphite are used for starter motors to conduct electrical current towards the armature. As the motor runs, these brushes constantly rub against the material of the armature, causing friction. Brushes wear down over time and become less effective in maintaining a proper electrical connection. Worn brushes may cause irregular performance and reduced motor efficiency.

Problems With Solenoid 

The starter solenoid is a relay switch that governs the current circulation between the battery and the motor starting. 

The solenoid receives an electrical signal when you turn on your ignition key, so it opens a high current from the battery to a starter motor and makes a connection between rotating parts of the engine with this unpacked, which turns itself into revolutions.

Wear of the internal contacts is one of the common problems in solenoids. The constant addressing and ignoring of the contacts over time can weaken them. Intermittent solenoid valve failure can possibly be caused by worn contacts, leading to an inconsistent engagement of the starter motor. 


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