Q: How do I know when my starter is going bad?
A: Most of the time, you will not see any “signs” of a starter going bad, it just does. If you are cycling the key to turn on your vehicle and it does not start, one of three things will occur:
1. You will hear a series of fast clicks coming from under the hood. Most of the time, this means you have a bad, or drained, battery or a bad connection at the battery or starter.
2. You will hear one solid clunk coming from underneath the vehicle. More than likely you have a bad starter or, again, a bad connection at the battery or starter.
3.Finally, you may hear the engine trying to start, or you hear the engine turning. You probably have some other problem such as a fuel delivery issue, spark issue, or computer issue.
A car starter is responsible for turning over, or starting, a vehicle engine. Located on the underside of most cars, the starter is controlled by the solenoid, which is a small attachment directly on top of the starter itself. The solenoid, which receives electricity from the car battery, is responsible for engaging and disengaging the starter. A car starter has a small cogged wheel that engages and disengages with the engine flywheel, which is a large cogged wheel attached directly to the engine crankshaft. When a person turns the key in their car ignition, the solenoid receives electricity from the car battery and then engages the starter with the flywheel. The starter turns the flywheel which in turn turns the engine crankshaft, which in turn starts the motions of a running engine.