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Think of your car’s starter motor as the training wheels for the car’s engine. It helps get things going. The starter motor, in essence, is exceedingly simple. It’s just a small motor that’s used to help get your car’s much larger motor up and running. It’s powerful, despite its size, and electric. It can turn the car’s motor over at a pretty slow speed (around 200 revolutions per minute, whereas most cars idle just under 1,000), but that’s enough to get the motions going, the momentum flowing, and everything working. It’s a pretty cool and somewhat complex operation that I’m guessing you don’t really care about, so let’s do the quick and dirty version. When you turn key (or press the “ON” button) in your car, the starter motor is activated. It has a gear, called a pinion gear, which attaches to the engine’s flywheel. As the starter turns the engine follows suite, sucking in air and fuel, until it’s up and running at full speed. Starters get a lot of use. It’s not too rare for them to begin to malfunction and require replacement.
It’s right there in the name! The starter motor helps the car start. When the starter motor decides to call it a day, the car might not start any more. If the starter motor is fully dead, you won’t be able to start your car. If it’s only just malfunctioning, you might experience intermittent starting, as the car will sometimes turn on, and sometimes won’t. And yes, that is as frustrating as it sounds. If you’re experiencing intermittent starting, it could be do to some faulty wires going to the starter motor, rather than a starter motor that is dying.
If there’s an electrical issue in the starter motor, then it may draw too much electrical current. That means that there won’t be enough electricity for other parts of your car when the starter motor is in use. So, if you’re sitting in your car with the lights on, or the music on, and then you turn on your car, watch the electrical components. If the lights dim or the music fades, it’s because electricity is being sapped from them as the starter motor heads into action. That could be a problem.
By now, you should probably know that your car shouldn’t make funny noises. A busted starter motor can cause two different weird noises. If the car won’t turn on, it may be due to the starter motor, as mentioned above. But it could also be due to other things, such as a drained battery. If you hear the car making a whining noise when it tries (but fails) to turn on, then that’s usually a good sign that it’s the starter motor. That noise is due to the starter motor spinning, without being attached to the flywheel. The second noise occurs if the car is running. It’s a grinding noise that you’ll hear as a result of the starter motor gear not disengaging after the car is up and fully running. The noise could also indicate damaged starter gear teeth.
Depends. Do you like being able to turn your car on? Okay, then. I think you know the answer here. Get your starter motor replaced asap if you want to continue driving your car.
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