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4 Signs Your Starter May Be Failing

Your car's starter often gives you a heads-up before that dreaded moment of turning the key and hearing crickets. Being aware of these friendly warning signs can save you from the stress of a sudden breakdown. Here's a quick peek at four clues that your starter might be reaching the end of its road.

  1. Lazy, Slow Crank:
    • A healthy starter should kick off your engine with enthusiasm. If your starter seems a bit lethargic, taking its time to rev up the motor, it's a sign that something might be up. While it might not be a definite failing starter, an inspection with a trusted mechanic can rule out battery or electrical issues.
  2. Lights Dimming During Start:
    • As you turn the key and the starter begins its work, you notice a significant dimming of headlights or interior lights, it's not normal. Starters are designed to draw a specific level of current, and excessive energy consumption could point to a failing starter or an electrical system overload. Consistent occurrences of this suggest a potential starter issue.
  3. Spinning, But no Connection:
    • When you turn the key and hear the starter spinning without the engine actually turning, it signals a problem. Although the starter receives power, it may be disconnected from the flywheel, failing to make contact with the motor's internal rotating assembly. This situation often requires repair or replacement of the starter unit.
  4. Grinding Noise on or After Start:
    • A mechanical grinding sound during the initial turn of the starter indicates a gear problem within. If this noise persists after the engine starts, it suggests an ongoing issue. The starter might be receiving electrical power even after disconnection, pointing to a potential solenoid problem that could lead to damage if left unattended.

If you observe any of these signs, your starter may be in trouble! We’re here to help, to avoid the inconvenience of a non-starting car or the need for a tow, have your starter thoroughly examined by the skilled professionals at your local Old Town Auto Service.

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Old Town Auto Service


Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant