Signs That Your Vehicle Starter May Need To Be Replaced
If you have owned a car for a long time, then you likely know that parts can wear out. Brake pads, rotors, and batteries are just a few things that you will likely find yourself replacing on a regular basis. The longer you own your car, the more likely it is that a part may break on you. Some of these parts may be part of the electrical system, and the starter is one thing that may stop working. Unfortunately, if you starter stops working, then this means that you will be unable to drive your car, and you may find yourself stranded. If you recognize the signs that the starter is beginning to go bad, then you likely will not find yourself stranded, so keep reading to understand some of the signs.
You Hear Grinding When You Start Your Car
If you have ever accidentally turned the key in your ignition when your car is already on, then you likely know that your starter is capable of making a grinding or screeching sound. To understand why this happens, you need to know how the starter works. The starter has a variety of stable and moving parts. The solenoid that sits just on top of the starter allows an electrical current to pass through to the starter motor. This occurs when you turn the key in the ignition. The current is sent to the starter motor, which is a large electromagnet. This magnet forces a metal part called a pinion assembly to release out from the side of the starter. An end on the starter called a bendix thread engages with a gear device called a flywheel. This flywheel engages a shaft that starts the engine.
As the engine starts, the shaft and flywheel assembly will spin extremely fast. The speed of the flywheel causes the bendix and piston to disengage from the flywheel, and the piston moves back into the side of the starter. If you happen to turn the key in the ignition when the car is on, then the bendix and piston will try to engage with the flywheel again. However, it will be unable to do so since the flywheel will be moving fast. This causes the grinding sound.
You may hear a similar grinding sound if the piston and bendix are unable to disengage from the flywheel. This sound will occur when you are not turning the key, and it is a sign that the starter needs to be replaced. If you wait to complete the replacement, then the piston may wear out and stop engaging with the flywheel when you try to turn your engine on.
Your Car Is Difficult To Start
A car that will crank but is difficult to start may be a sign that the starter is going bad. Unfortunately, this may also be a sign that your starter and the engine are not receiving enough electrical current. Before you even consider that your starter may be failing, you should make sure that your battery is still in good condition. Remove the battery from the car and take it to your local auto repair shop so it can be tested. The shop will test the voltage of the battery as well as the charge of the battery. If the battery is bad, then replace it. If the battery is good, but is not fully charged, then the alternator may not be working properly. This part can also be removed and tested by the repair shop, so make sure the alternator is tested and replaced as well if there is a need.
If the battery and alternator are in good shape, or if these parts are replaced and your car still will not start without difficulty, then the starter may be bad. The solenoid part of the starter may not be receiving enough power to engage the piston. Also, the piston may be engaging and disengaging before the engine starts. The starter piston may have trouble disengaging as well. This can occur due to a general wear or malfunction issue, or the electromagnet in the starter may not be able to hold an electrical current so that the piston can engage.
If your car is having difficulty starting, then you can have the starter tested, just like the battery and alternator. However, you will need to remove the starter first. The starter usually sits low on the bottom of the engine, and the transmission or the drive shaft may stop you from gaining direct access to the part. This means that an auto repair shop may be needed to access the starter for you.
For more information, contact a local repair shop like Central Body Co Inc.