Dealing with a bad starter can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry. You turn the key, and nothing happens. No sound, no engine cranking, no start. However, don’t panic just yet. There are several ways to start a car with a bad starter, and this post outlines some of the troubleshooting tips you can try.
What is a Starter?
A starter is a component of a car’s ignition system that’s responsible for turning the engine over. It’s essentially an electric motor that’s powered by the car battery. When you turn the ignition key, the starter motor engages the flywheel, which rotates the engine crankshaft and starts the combustion process.
Signs of a Bad Starter
Before we dive into how to start a car with a bad starter, let’s look at some of the signs that your starter may be failing:
- The engine won’t crank or start
- You hear a clicking sound when you turn the key
- The starter motor runs, but the engine doesn’t start
- The starter drags or turns slowly
- You smell burning or see smoke coming from the starter
How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter
Now that you know the signs of a bad starter, let’s explore some troubleshooting tips on how to start a car with a bad starter:
1. Tap the Starter
One of the easiest ways to start a car with a bad starter is to tap on the starter motor. This can sometimes free up a stuck gear and get the motor to start. To do this, use a hammer or a wrench and tap the starter gently a few times while someone else turns the key.
2. Jumpstart the Car
If tapping the starter doesn’t work, try jumpstarting the car. This can give the starter motor the extra boost it needs to turn the engine over. To jumpstart a car, you’ll need another car with a good battery and some jumper cables. Here’s how:
- Connect one end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery
- Connect the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the good battery
- Connect one end of the black jumper cable to the negative terminal of the good battery
- Connect the other end of the black jumper cable to a metal surface on the engine block of the dead car
- Start the good car and let it run for a few minutes
- Try to start the dead car
3. Push Start the Car
If your car has a manual transmission, you can try push starting it. This involves rolling the car in gear and then popping the clutch to start the engine. Here’s how:
- Make sure the ignition is on
- Put the car in second gear
- Release the parking brake
- Push the car to get it rolling
- Depress the clutch pedal
- Release the clutch pedal quickly while giving the car some gas
4. Check the Battery
Another possible culprit for a car not starting is a dead battery. If your battery is weak or dead, it might not have enough power to turn the starter motor. To check your battery, turn the key to the “on” position and check the dashboard lights. If they’re dim or flickering, your battery may need to be charged or replaced.
5. Check the Starter Connections
Sometimes, a bad starter can be caused by loose or corroded connections. Check the connections at the starter motor and the battery to make sure they’re tight and clean. If you see corrosion, use a wire brush to clean the terminals and connections.
6. Replace the Starter
If none of the above troubleshooting tips work, it may be time to replace the starter. A bad starter motor can’t be fixed and will need to be replaced. Consult your owner’s manual or a mechanic to see what type of starter you need and how to replace it.
Dealing with a bad starter can be frustrating, but there are several ways to start a car with a bad starter. From tapping the starter to jumpstarting the car and push starting it, these troubleshooting tips can help you get your car running again. Remember to always prioritize safety when working on your car and consult a mechanic if you’re unsure about any of the steps.