How Long Do Starters Last On Cars?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 28th, 2022

The starting motor is a powerful electric motor powered by a battery. When you press the start button, it starts the engine. Is it true that the starting motor is faulty if a car won’t start?

Not usually; a faulty starter motor is merely one of several potential causes; learn more about how the starting mechanism works below.

car starter

How long is the starting motor expected to last?

A starting motor typically lasts 100,000-150,000 kilometers. The starting motor in many automobiles lasts the life of the vehicle, but, in some cars, it might fail early.

What are the symptoms of a faulty starting motor?

A starting motor may suddenly quit operating one day with no warning. When the starting motor fails, you may notice that the engine does not turn over on the first try; it may take numerous attempts before the beginning motor engages.

Even if the battery is completely charged or fresh, a worn-out or shorted starter may turn over slower than usual. Also, when a starting motor fails in some vehicles, it may make unusual grinding or screaming noises. Another symptom is when a starting motor won’t crank the engine when it’s hot but works perfectly when it’s cold.

What is a Starter?

The battery powers the starter, which is a little motor. It starts your vehicle’s engine. A starting relay transmits electricity between the battery and the starter motor. You won’t be able to start your car without a fully functioning starting relay and motor, and you may need to tow it.

How does starting mechanism work?

First, the car computer, known as the PCM, determines if the code in the ignition key or key fob fits the security system (immobilizer). Otherwise, the security warning light will remain illuminated, and the starter will be disabled.

Second, the computer checks to see if the transmission is in Park or Neutral or if the clutch pedal is pushed in the event of a manual gearbox. Finally, check to see if the transmission indicator shows Park or Neutral; if not, the transmission range switch may be faulty.

If both tests are successful, the computer activates the starting motor through the control circuit and the starter relay, as shown in the diagram. This signifies that the control circuit must be operational.

The starter motor will not run if, for example, the control circuit connector at the starter solenoid is rusted or loose (which is extremely frequent) or if the starter relay is faulty.

The starting motor is powered by the automobile battery and will only operate if the battery is charged sufficiently.

To function, the starting motor needs a large amount of electric current. This implies that the battery cables must be in good condition and have solid electrical connections to transmit power to the starting motor.

The starting motor frequently fails because the positive or grounding wires between the beginning motor and the battery are loose or rusted.

If the starting motor does not operate, the battery must first be inspected, as well as the battery connections and cables as well as the control circuit.

If the starter motor turns the engine over normally, but the engine does not start, the fault is not with the starting mechanism but with something else (e.g., no spark, no fuel, low compression, etc.).

What causes the starting motor to fail?

It contains multiple moving and rotating pieces. Unfortunately, electric carbon brushes, bearings, and an overrunning clutch all wear down over time.

The electrical contact points can get pitted or scorched inside the starting solenoid. When the contacts within the starting solenoid fail, you will hear a single click from the solenoid, but the motor will not start even though the battery, cables, and cable terminals are all in good working order.

What Are the Observable Signs and Symptoms?

If the starter fails, you will be stranded until it is repaired. As a result, you must know the indications and symptoms that the starter is about to fail.

The following are some of these indications and symptoms:

  • The starter may or may not participate at all.
  • The starter takes a long time to start the engine.
  • It’s possible that the engine won’t start.
  • When you turn the key, there is a loud click, but the engine does not start.
  • When you rev the engine, the starter will produce a lot of noise.
  • The engine would only start occasionally.
  • The starter would be fully engaged at all times.

Indeed, if you’re experiencing trouble starting your automobile, the issue is likely to be the faulty starter. With that, you might either diagnose the problem yourself or seek expert assistance.

How does a mechanic inspect a starting motor?

The method used to softly touch the starting motor with a little hammer and check whether it started operating after that. A mechanic would know that the starting motor was faulty if it occurred. Today, techs monitor the voltage at the terminals of the starting motor.

A starting motor is wired with a tiny wire for the control circuit and a bigger cable for the positive battery terminal. If there is a battery voltage at both starter terminals when pushing the Start button or turning the key and the starter motor does not run, the starter motor is faulty and must be replaced.

How do you diagnose a faulty starter?

If you’ve previously attempted to start and jumpstart your automobile, consider one of the troubleshooting techniques below.

  1. Examine the engine compartment.

Examine the battery and the battery wires to ensure that everything is in working condition. For example, your car’s issues might be caused by a weak or dead battery or faulty battery connections rather than by the starter.

  1. Press the begin button.

Tap the starter a few times with a firm object, careful not to pound it. Because you’ll be tapping the electrical components back into touch with each other, this gently tapping may assist power it back up in some circumstances.

Do you know how you can knock on the side of an old TV to bring the image back into focus? That’s how it feels.

However, like your faulty television, your automobile may only respond momentarily to this fix long enough to get you to your local service shop.

  1. Fine-tune the transmission.

Assume your car’s automatic gearbox is set to “park,” but it won’t start. If this is the case, start the car in “neutral.” If it starts in “neutral,” there might be a technical problem stopping it from starting in “park,” such as a malfunctioning neutral safety switch.

  1. Examine the fuel gauge.

We know it seems dumb, but… does your gas tank have any gas left? That’s a solid sign that your automobile won’t start!

Many times, tapping a poor starter is a fast repair. Jumpstarting your automobile will get it back on the road, at least temporarily, but you’ll need to get the problem diagnosed by a competent mechanic. If a jumpstart or tap doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to have the car towed and the starter fixed or replaced. We can assist you with this.

What is the cost of replacing a starting motor?

The labor fee to replace a starting motor in a typical front-wheel drive automobile with a 4-cylinder engine, such as a Honda Accord or Toyota Corolla, is between $95 and $175.

To access the starting motor in certain vehicles with bigger engines (e.g., BMW, Cadillac Northstar V8, Toyota V8), an intake manifold or other pieces must be removed, which requires extra effort ($260-$450).

A replacement starting motor (component) costs between $85 and $220, including the core fee. Many parts retailers will reimburse the core fee if you return the old starting motor.

A genuine (OEM) starting motor costs more ($270-$480).

One of our friends, for example, chose to replace the starting motor in his 2014 Honda Accord. He stated that now and again, starting an automobile would need many attempts and that the problem was becoming worse. He paid $390 for an original item and $127 for labor at the dealership.

Is it possible to rebuild a starting motor? Yes, the starting motor should be rebuildable by a local auto electric (Starter & Alternator shop). Prices range between $65 and $150. (not including installation). So naturally, rebuilding a starting motor takes longer.

When attempting to start, if the starter motor gear does not mesh properly with the flexplate ring gear, the starter motor may make a loud grinding or screaming noise.

The starting motor and the flex plate (or flywheel in a manual gearbox) ring gear must be examined in this instance. This might be caused by worn-out flex plate or flywheel gear teeth and a defective starting motor.

Replacing the flex plate or flywheel is more costly because both cases must remove the transmission.

What happens if a faulty starter is not repaired?

Various things may happen if you don’t take the time to get your failed starter repaired or replaced. The most effective options include, but are not limited to:

  • Damage to the electrical system
  • The lighting is dim.
  • Transmission or engine failure
  • Drainage of the battery
  • The vehicle will not start.

Starter failure may leave you stranded, harm your other systems, and necessitate more expensive repairs. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in the middle of nowhere with a car that won’t start and no means to get it to a mechanic. As a result, you must take corrective action and seek expert assistance as soon as possible.

How Often Should a Car Starter Be Replaced?

So, let’s suppose your starter has failed a few times, and you’ve decided it’s finally time to replace it, or at the very least fix it. Your auto starting should have lasted at least 100,000 miles, but some vehicles’ starters are designed to last a lifetime. The truth is that the durability of your car’s starting motor (like with many other parts) is greatly dependent on the conditions under which you drive:

  • The road’s condition.
  • The elements – heavy-duty parts, including batteries, do not perform well in frigid temperatures.
  • How frequently, if ever, do you empty the battery?
  • Towing — If you frequently tow other cars or trailers, the inside of your automobile is under extra strain, hastening the wear and tear.
  • The way you drive — stop-and-go driving is known to harm the inside of a car over time.

Some individuals assess starter durability by counting the number of successful starts. You should get roughly 80,000 starts on a basic urban car. However, because environmental factors play such a large impact, all of these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt.

How Can You Avoid Car Starter Failure?

I am a firm believer in regular automobile maintenance, and as a result, I believe that the best approach to avoiding car problems is to participate in the maintenance process. However, maintaining automotive health is time-consuming, and certain errors and failures occur.

The best strategy to prevent automobile starter failure is to keep the remainder of the starting system in good working order. Here are a couple of such examples:

  • Maintain the health of your automobile battery. This means not letting it empty frequently or, better yet, not letting it empty out. Another technique to ensure you always have enough juice to start the starter is to keep a pair of reliable jumper wires in the trunk of your car.
  • Check the alternator regularly — Because it is critical to battery maintenance, you should also inspect it.
  • Take your car in for a comprehensive checkup regularly — regardless of whether your state requires car inspections, you should do this at least once a year. Being road-safe is critical, and a car inspection will show you what has to be fixed.


Editorial Staff

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