Common Symptoms of Faulty Starter Motor

Last Updated on January 16, 2019

The starter motor is responsible for starting up the combustion engine. Once you turn on the starter switch, the electric motor is turned on by the starter relay. The starter gear ring is driven by this motor through the pinion gear. Two magnetic fields end up interacting which causes the starter motor to rotate. Electromagnets or permanent magnets are found in starter motors. Regardless of which configuration is used, they have their own unique characteristics. The battery supplies energy to the starter motor, which needs a lot of power in order to start up in the first place. The capacity of the battery has to be sufficient for this reason, with only a minimal amount of losses. Once the starter motor rotates fast, there is a reduction in the start-up power.

Looking for a good online repair manual?
Click Here
for the 5 best options.

Common Symptoms of Faulty Starter Motor

A failing starter will always give off warning signs about its condition, like most mechanical devices. Below are some of the indicators to look out for when the starter motor has a problem.


If you crank the engine and the starter produces a whining noise without any cranking from the engine, this is called freewheeling. This means the flywheel is not engaged with the starter gear. In this situation, the starter will need to be replaced. Go to an auto body shop to get this service as soon as possible.

Grinding Noise

The starter is connected to the flywheel by a set of gears. If you hear a grinding noise, it is likely due to these gears being worn out. Sometimes the interior of the starter motor may also produce grinding noises as well. Regardless, the problem is something that cannot be repaired. The best thing you can do is bring your car into the auto shop and have a mechanic determine what the next move should be. The ultimate solution will be to replace the part that is worn out. Otherwise, if you allow the noise to continue, the flywheel of the engine will get damaged. Then you’ll have to spend a lot of money to repair the flywheel.

Read also: EGR Valve Functions, Failure Symptoms and Replacement Cost


If you have excessive amounts of smoke coming out of your vehicle, it might be a problem with the starting circuit or starter. Usually, when a lot of power goes to the starter from the electrical supply, smoke will form. The reason why too much power is used could be a shorted starter, a connection problem, or it’s simply been used for too long a period of time. Sometimes the smoke will also have a burning smell to it. But even if it doesn’t, you should still have your vehicle serviced once you start seeing any kind of smoke coming out. Use a tow truck to get your vehicle to the nearest auto body shop if you have to.



Leave a Comment