Symptoms of a Bad Car Starter

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Some common bad starter symptoms include difficulty starting your engine, hearing clicking, grinding, or whirring noises from your engine, or smoke rising from under your hood. Knowing the signs of a bad starter system could save you from being stranded on the side of the road. 
Your starter system is meant to withstand a variety of road and weather conditions. While your starter should last the lifespan of your vehicle (or about 100,000 miles), failing to care for the starter properly could lead to trouble down the road. 
If your starter fails or you start to notice bad car starter symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your mechanic immediately. 
Thanks to car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry, staying informed on the symptoms of a bad car starter is easy. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the signs of a bad starter, including tips on how to troubleshoot a starter that’s causing you issues. 
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What is a starter?

The starter of your car consists of a primary motor and a solenoid. The motor cranks the engine when you insert your key or tap the push/start button. The solenoid (or relay) is attached to the motor and delivers power from your car’s battery to the starter by engaging the drive gear and closing the motor’s electrical contacts. 
Because the starter is powered by your car’s battery, if the starter relay malfunctions, no power will reach the motor and your car won’t move. You’ll have to jump-start your car or call a towing service

Signs of a bad starter

You’ve suddenly found yourself stranded at the grocery store, unable to start your car. As you call a towing service you may be wondering: what went wrong? 
Chances are, if your engine didn’t fire, your starter went bad. To make sure you’re not caught in a pickle again, it’s a good idea to know the signs of a bad starter.

Common bad car starter symptoms

Like most other car parts, starters are subject to wear and tear and will fail over time. Below are common bad starter symptoms:
  • Engine refuses to start
  • Engine emits strange noises
  • Car starts intermittently
  • Smoke issues from the engine
  • Oil-soaked starter system
  • Faulty battery

How to troubleshoot a bad starter

When it comes to a bad car starter, the first thing you should try to do is jump-start your car. If that doesn’t work, try the below troubleshooting tips:
  • Inspect under the hood. Check your vehicle’s battery and battery cables. Faulty cables or a dead battery could be the culprit.
  • Tap the starter. Lightly tap the starter with a hard object—this will sometimes help power it up.
  • Engage the transmission. Try moving your vehicle from “park” to “neutral.” If your vehicle starts while in neutral, this may be an indication of a technical glitch.
  • Check the fuel gauge. As silly as it sounds, make sure your fuel tank isn’t empty.

Why having great car insurance is important

Being stranded on the side of the road with a bad car starter is an inconvenience that no one should have to endure. Another inconvenience? Paying too much for car insurance. With Jerry, finding great coverage at an affordable rate is easy. 
All you have to do is download the Jerry app and sign up. From there, a licensed broker will provide you with customized quotes from dozens of top insurance providers in just 45 seconds! 
The best part? Jerry users save on average $887 a year on car insurance!
“I took a shot with Jerry and I’ve never been more happy! I was paying $350, and Jerry found me a Clearcover plan at $105. If saving $245 each month isn’t great news, I don’t know what is.” —Wyatt K.
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If your starter goes bad, you won’t be able to start your engine, and you’ll most likely need to call a tow truck. 
Failing to address a bad starter could cause electrical system damage, transmission or engine damage, or battery drainage.

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