How to start a car with a bad starter

How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter

One of the difficulties experienced by car owners over time is starting a car with a defective starter.  Everyone dreads having trouble starting their car, especially if they are stranded somewhere they don’t want to be. You might find yourself unable to start the engine if the starter is damaged. To get back on the road, you can learn how to start a car with a bad starter.

How to start a car with a bad starter

This makes it a frequent flaw discovered at the auto repair shop, but it has declined recently. But how can you get rid of damaged starter automobiles without using an EV?

Well, due to this decline, electrically powered cars were developed, which lessened the occurrence of faulty starts but did not entirely eliminate them. It will be advantageous to be able to jumpstart an automobile with a defective starter, at the very least.

So, in this article, we’ll be discussing the answers to the following questions:

  • How do you start a car with a bad starter?
  • What are the symptoms of a bad starter?
  • How can you test if a starter is bad?
  • How do you start a car with a bad ignition switch?

Read more: Understanding Engine Starter Motor

Alright then, let’s get to it!


How do you start a car with a bad starter?

Here are the two most common ways to start a car with a bad starter:

  • Jump-start your car
  • Push-start your engine

Jump-start your car

Your automobile may frequently not start because of a weak or drained battery. Giving the starter enough amps will enable it to operate normally, which enables the engine to start. You can either use a portable jump starter or the battery and jumper cables from another automobile to jump-start a vehicle. Here’s how to jump-start your car:

  • Open the car’s hood and find the car battery. Consult the car’s manual if you can’t find it. Don’t work on the car’s battery if it appears bloated or is leaking. Instead, give a mechanic a call because the battery could need to be changed.
  • If the car battery appears to be in good condition, connect the positive terminal of your weak battery to the positive terminal of the backup battery or jump starter using the positive wire (red jumper cable).
  • Connect the negative terminal of the charged battery to any exposed metal on the vehicle using the black jumper cable.
  • Now start the engine and wait for the battery to charge for a few minutes.

Depending on the engine type, DOD, and battery condition, a dead battery may take between 5 and 20 minutes to start up. Detach the jumper cables once you’ve successfully started your automobile with a jump. The (-ve) clamp comes first, followed by the (+ve). Ensure that none of these cables touches one another as well. Keep in mind that a defective starter may be to blame if your battery is charged but your car still won’t start. The starter relay can thus be disregarded. There is also another, more straightforward method you can employ as well.

Read more: How to jump-start a car (what you need to know)

Push-start your engine

Push-starting, often referred to as bump-starting, is an outdated yet reliable method to start an automobile with a defective starter. It only functions, though, if your car has a manual transmission. Here’s how to push start a car:

  • Keep the engine running while shifting into first or second gear on your car’s manual transmission. Maintaining your vehicle in second gear will enable a smooth push-start. Additionally, it lessens system harm to your car. However, when you have a significantly shorter distance to push-start, use the first gear.
  • Get a strong person to push your automobile from behind so it can accelerate to 5–10 mph.
  • When you reach this speed, release the clutch. The car can be started at the speed that has been reached.
  • If the first effort doesn’t work, try again.

Read more: How To Rev A Car

What are the symptoms of a bad starter?

Below are the most obvious symptoms of a bad starter:

  • The engine will not start. If nothing happens when you turn the key or hit the start button, that is the most obvious sign that your starter has a problem.
  • Unusual noises like grinding, whirling, and clinking. The engine flywheel could get damaged if you ignore these noises.
  • Smoke coming from under the hood. An electrically driven mechanical system known as the starter is prone to overheating. You will either see or smell smoke coming from beneath the hood when the starter overheats.
  • intermittent issues with the car’s ignition. If you try to start your car and the engine doesn’t fire up immediately away but starts on the second try, you most likely have a starter relay issue.

Read more: How to Reset Check Engine Light

How can you test if a starter is bad?

How to start a car with a bad starter

Here’s how to diagnose if a starter is bad:

Check The Connections

Ensure that the starter battery pathway doesn’t have any loose connections. Check the other ends of the positive battery cable if the connection appears to be secure. There are two sections to this positive wire. The starter is connected to one end, and the car alternator to the other. Try the jump-start procedure once more if the connections to the alternator and starter appear to be sound.

Examine The Starter Solenoid Cable

The starter solenoid connects the starter to the transmission in your car. If you hear the starting turning freely when you turn the ignition on, there might be a solenoid issue. Check for dirt or rust on the solenoid wire to diagnose a faulty starter solenoid. You can work around the damaged starter solenoid wire if rusting is the problem.

To do this, connect the starter and solenoid using a 12V cable that runs straight from the car’s battery. When the connection is made, you’ll hear a click sound. Now switch on your ignition. As soon as the engine cranks, you should unplug the 12V wire. If not, the flywheel, which is moving at a much faster speed, will continue to rotate with the starter gear (pinion) engaged, which could cause damage.

Read more:  Reasons why a car starts off then dies immediately

Check The Battery Voltage

A voltmeter or multimeter can also be used to determine whether the starter solenoid is receiving enough power from the battery or whether the battery is dead. To determine if the battery is weak, Set the meter’s scale to 20V, which is higher than the voltage of your battery.

Activate the meter. Connect the meter’s (+ve) and (-ve) leads to the appropriate posts. Now, turn on the headlights of your vehicle and take the reading. Your battery is charged if the reading is between 12.7 and 13.2 volts, and the issue is elsewhere. For the engine to start, your battery needs to be charged if the reading is less than 12.4 volts.

Read more: Reasons why a car starts off then dies immediately

Examine The Engine Flywheel

To start the engine, the starting motor’s pinion gear engages with the flywheel’s ring gear. When your car won’t start, the flywheel may occasionally also be to blame. To inspect the flywheel, remove the electric motor first then put the car’s transmission in neutral immediately. Ask someone to use a ratchet or breaker bar to turn the crankshaft pulley’s centre bolt.

This pulley aids in the operation of the steering pump, alternator, and other parts. Now check the flywheel for any broken or missing teeth that might be preventing it from engaging with the starter gear. Your flywheel’s ring gear may need to be replaced if any discrepancies are found. Keep in mind that it’s best to let a trained expert handle this task.

Check The Engine Grounds

Sometimes the starter’s overall ground can be impacted by a bad engine ground wire or transmission ground wire. In order to prevent an open circuit from forming and preventing the starter from turning, inspect these two grounds for any rust or damage. A jumper cable that provides a direct ground from the battery’s negative post to the starter frame can also be used to get around this issue.

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Tap The Starter

The armature and field coils of the motor frequently acquire dead patches over time. These dead spots can be eliminated and the starter’s motor made to run by gently tapping the malfunctioning starter with a hammer.

Inspect For Corrosion

One of the most frequent issues with car starters is corrosion. Make sure your battery cable and the terminals are free of any acid build-up to prevent it.  Any battery terminal, post, or battery cable will have an acid deposit coating that has a white, green, or blue tint to it.

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How do you start a car with a bad ignition switch?


There are two methods we suggest using to start your car if the ignition system is damaged. Hotwiring is the first option (it works for cars made before the middle of the 1990s), and jumpstarting is the second.

How to hotwire a car with a bad ignition switch:

The first step is to take out the surrounding panels from where your battery is located. Then, using a socket wrench or screwdriver, remove the four bolts holding it in place. If necessary, take them out using pliers. Once the panel is off, you’ll need two wires: one red for the positive (+) end of an automotive battery terminal connector, which is located near the airbag cover attachment point in the top centre of the left side panel.

This will go into one post, while the other will fit into the bottom right corner post from underneath through a little hole that was drilled there when the vehicle was first built. Don’t forget the ground wire, though! Before starting the engine again, simply join those three items together because if anything else breaks throughout the process, everything will simply revert to the previous state, which is not ideal.

Read more: How to Find a Hidden GPS Tracker in Your Car


What to do if a starter is not working?

Here are a few things to do if a starter is not working:

  • Look underneath the hood. Verify the battery’s condition and the battery wires to make sure everything is functioning properly.
  • Tap the starter. Avoid hammering the starter; instead, try lightly tapping it a few times with a firm item.
  • Change the transmission.
  • Examine the fuel gauge.

Read more: How to prevent catalytic converter theft

How do I get my starter to work?

How does a car act with a bad starter?

The engine will not start. When you turn the key or hit the start button and nothing happens, that is the most likely symptom that your starter has a problem. Unusual noises like grinding, whirling, and clinking. The engine flywheel may eventually be damaged if you ignore these noises.

Read more: Check charging system warning light: meaning, causes & how to fix

What causes a weak starter?

There are several reasons why a starter could malfunction: improper electrical connections. stiff or broken solenoid switch (activating relay). Electrical damage to an electric motor.

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Can a starter be repaired?

When a starter malfunctions or loses dependability, you can buy a new replacement, a rebuilt unit, or replacement parts to repair the starter yourself. The majority of repairs are simple to complete and may be done with standard hand tools.

Read more: How to tell positive and negative on a car battery

Can you start a car without a starter?

Unfortunately, there is no way to restart your car if the starter motor is fully dead. But when a car won’t start, it’s usually because the battery doesn’t have enough voltage to turn on the engine.

Read more: Auxiliary battery malfunction: meaning, causes, and how to fix

How do I know if my starter fuse is blown?

Using a test light is one of the best ways to tell if an automobile fuse has blown. If neither end of the fuse is illuminated, the fuse needs to be replaced. Sometimes a damaged wire, motor, or other components will result in a blown fuse.

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How do I know if my starter is draining my battery?

  • Your Starter Is Making Odd Noises.
  • Car Won’t Start Despite the Lights Being On.
  • The engine won’t start.
  • Smoke or an odd odour.
  • Oil Is Dripping Off the Starter.

Read more: Lists of the best portable jump starter for car

That is all for this article, where we discussed the answers to the following questions:

  • How do you start a car with a bad starter?
  • What are the symptoms of a bad starter?
  • How can you test if a starter is bad?
  • How do you start a car with a bad ignition switch?

Hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!