5 Ways to Tell Your Starter Motor Is Failing & What to Do About It

Date Posted: 16 May 2023 

5 Ways to Tell Your Starter Motor Is Failing & What to Do About It main image 5 Ways to Tell Your Starter Motor Is Failing & What to Do About It image

Whether you drive a BMW or Mitsubishi, your starter motor needs to be in working order if you want to get anywhere. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise when their starter motor has a problem or is failing. But, thanks to this blog, you won’t be one of them.

What Are the Signs of a Failing Starter Motor?

1. Your Headlights Seem Dimmer

Whether you’re driving at night or just pulling into your garage, if your headlights seem dimmer, it could mean there’s something wrong with your electrical system. In turn, this can be affecting your starter motor and leading to some other symptoms too.

2. You Can Hear Clicking When You Turn the Key

When you turn the key in the ignition, the starter motor should work immediately, getting your engine roaring to life. However, if you hear a clicking, this is likely the starter motor not engaging properly.

3. The Engine Turns Over Slowly or Inconsistently

Starting your engine should be a smooth and simple motion. Just turn the key and go. However, if you’re finding it takes a little while for the engine to kick in — whether this is every time or just sometimes — your starter motor could be on the way out.

4. Your Battery Keeps Running Out

Did you know that a failing starter motor can drain your car’s battery, even when your vehicle is switched off? If you forever seem to be needing to replace or charge your battery, check what’s happening with your starter motor.

5. Your Check Engine Light Is On

Where would we be without modern technology with cars able to let you know if something is going wrong? While the check engine light may become lit for a range of reasons, including issues with the alternator or battery, the starter motor is often a culprit. So, if that light comes on, be sure to act quickly or you may find yourself stuck with a car that won’t start!

Why Did My Starter Motor Stop Working?

Understanding what has caused your starter motor to stop working can be helpful in rectifying the problem, as well as preventing it in the future.

The Contacts Became Corroded or the Connections Grew Loose

Your starter motor’s contacts play a role in transmitting electricity to eventually get your engine running. Over time, these contacts can become corroded, dirty and damaged. This means your starter motor has to work harder to do the same job.

And the same thing happens if the connections to your starter motor become loose. It means reduced voltage for your starter motor to work with, placing unnecessary stress on the part. As a result, it will likely fail sooner than otherwise expected.

Your Car Battery Leaked

If your car battery leaks, it can do damage to nearby parts, including the starter motor. This is why it’s a good idea to regularly pop the bonnet and check everything is as it should be in there.

Something Has Happened to the Armature

Your starter motor’s armature helps get the crankshaft moving to start up your engine. If it becomes damaged in some way or wears out, your starter motor won’t work properly.

It’s Had a High Current Draw

When your car’s starting circuitry is put under extreme pressure, like jump starting another vehicle, managing heavy loads or even just running an engine that needs some serious attention, it can affect how long your starter motor lasts. That’s why it pays to keep your car in its entirety in good nick, as well as limit any activities that can severely affect your car’s electrical system and more.

It Was Manufactured Incorrectly

While this is a rare occurrence with modern manufacturing techniques and quality control checks, it does still happen from time to time. If your starter motor fails for seemingly no reason, it may be because of a manufacturing defect.

It’s Just General Wear & Tear

It’d be nice if our starter motors could last forever; but this simply isn’t realistic. Over time, the various parts will start to wear down and deteriorate, affecting the starter motor’s ability to transmit a current and start up your engine.

Can Starter Motors Be Repaired or Rebuilt?

While some car parts can be repaired or rebuilt to get that extra value and mileage out of them, it’s not always the case. So where do starter motors fall on this spectrum?

The right choice for you and your car’s starter motor ultimately depends on what has happened to your starter motor. If the problem can be narrowed down to a specific component in the part, like corroded contacts or worn-out brushes, you may be able to replace these elements. This can often be the way to go if you are rebuilding an older car and the required starter motor is no longer manufactured.

However, it is often cheaper and easier to simply replace the whole starter motor. This also ensures that all the parts are up to the task, and won’t fail and lead to more starter motor problems in the near future.

4 Tips for Finding the Right Starter Motor Replacement & Minimising Cost

If a starter motor replacement is on the cards for you, make sure to keep these tips in mind. They’ll make your search for a new part easier, as well as help you save money.

1. Know What Starter Motors Suit Your Engine

If you’re looking to save some money, aftermarket starter motors are generally cheaper than the genuine parts. However, you need to be sure what engine your car has to ensure a correct fit. This is because, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a universal starter motor. But you can find options that suit a range of car makes and models.

To figure this out, make sure you know your vehicle make and model, as well as make a note of the original parts number for reference.

2. Look at Guarantees & Warranties

Whether you pick the wrong part or something goes wrong, guarantees and warranties can be your best friend here. Take the time to read the small print as you shop around for that starter motor to set yourself up with some extra protection in case of defects or other problems.

3. Know Your Budget But Don’t Get Tricked By a Bargain Either

The most expensive option isn’t always best, but the cheapest is usually the worst. Being realistic with what you can spend — and what is the average spend for a starter motor — will help you ensure you get a good deal in both price and quality.

4. Go With a Professional

While it’s tempting to cut out the middleman to save yourself some extra cash, unless you’re a seasoned mechanic, replacing your starter motor isn’t going to be something in your wheelhouse. Instead, think of the expense as an investment into ensuring your starter motor is installed correctly, preventing a range of potential problems and costly issues.

Get Started on Fixing Your Starter Motor Problems!

Don’t let a bad starter motor stop you from getting on the road. With a range of quality aftermarket starter motor replacements at low costs, Machter has you covered. So, find a starter motor to fit your car’s make and model today.

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