The electric automobile self starter or best known as the starter is the device chiefly responsible for carrying out the processes involved in starting vehicles up.
The car starter works by harnessing the power of the automotive battery. Once the key is inserted into the ignition switch and then turned to the start position, a tiny amount of current flow through the neutral safety switch and into the starter relay or starter solenoid. The starter motor then cranks the engine to enable the piston to create a suction drawing in the fuel and air mixture into the cylinder. The engine will then start as the spark created by the ignition system will ignite this mixture.
Turning on the ignition switch allows a small amount of power from the battery to flow to the solenoid above the starter. When the low-current power from the starting battery is applied to the solenoid, oftentimes with a key-operated switch, it releases a small pinion gear on the starter motor's shaft and meshes it with the ring gear on the flywheel of the engine.
The solenoid is also responsible for closing out high-current contacts for the starter motor and it then starts to run. Once the engine starts, a key-operated switch is activated and a spring in the solenoid assembly pulls the pinion gear away from the ring gear which then causes the starter motor to stop. Modern auto starter motors are equipped with a "bendix," a gear and integral freewheel, or overrunning clutch, thereby allowing the flywheel to automatically disengage the pinion gear from the flywheel when the engine starts.
Starter Buyer's Guide
The car starter or engine starter is a small electrical motor responsible for making your engine run at the twist of a key or a push of the ignition button.
If you take a closer look at an engine starter, you’ll see that at the inner end of the solenoid are two terminals for the battery cable and starter control.
By turning the key inside the ignition switch or by pressing the push start button, a voltage is sent from the battery and through the control switch so that the starter solenoid can be activated.
When the starter motor turns the gear, it will rotate the flywheel which then causes the crankshaft to spin.
Issues like loose wiring, compromised connections, corrosion on the battery, damaged starter motor parts, and oil leaks all contribute to different changes in the performance of the engine starter.
CarParts.com offers a wide range of selection with price tags anywhere between $15 and $750.
What is a car starter?
The car starter or engine starter is a small electrical motor responsible for making your engine run at the twist of a key or a push of the ignition button. Traditional modern designs feature a twin cylindrical assembly with one being smaller than the main housing. The larger housing contains the starter motor, while the smaller one houses the solenoid. It is typically placed at the driver’s side of the engine, just below the left bank of the cylinders.
The starter is considered an essential component as it makes your car fully functional from rest. It gets its supply of electric current directly from the battery of your car, with a relay located in between the starter and ignition switch. Without it, you won’t be able to move your car without bypassing the wires or the help of a jumpstart.
A closer look at an engine starter
If you take a closer look at an engine starter, you’ll see that at the inner end of the solenoid are two terminals for the battery cable and starter control. These two are crucial as they are responsible for supplying the motor with the voltage it needs to function. The upper terminal is for the positive battery cable that links the assembly directly to the battery. The lower terminal, on the other hand, is for the thick cable that directs the voltage to the power motor.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the starter motor assembly is the starter gear. This gear serves as the mechanical link between the starter and your car’s flywheel, or the flexplate, if you have an automatic car.
The starter gear is not in contact with the flywheel by default. For these two to connect, the solenoid would have to push the gear to mesh with the flywheel, which is the only time the electric energy is converted to mechanical energy to make the engine components move.
Of course, there is more to see if you take a look inside a starter assembly. Subcomponents like an armature, return springs, coils, and levers among others are working all together to make up a fully operating starter motor and solenoid.
How does an engine starter work?
It all starts at the turn of a key or at the push of a button. By turning the key inside the ignition switch or by pressing the push start button, a voltage is sent from the battery and through the control switch so that the starter solenoid can be activated. The solenoid then powers the starter motor and pushes the gear at the end of the motor, connecting it to the engine’s flywheel or flexplate.
In an internal combustion engine design, the flywheel is connected to the crankshaft. This means that when the starter motor turns the gear, it will rotate the flywheel, which then causes the crankshaft to spin.
What are the symptoms of a bad starter?
There are a lot of factors that cause the starter motor to fail. Issues like loose wiring, compromised connections, corrosion on the battery, damaged starter motor parts, and oil leaks all contribute to different changes in the performance of engine starters. Once your car’s starter fails, you’ll begin experiencing one or more of these symptoms:
This is quickly noticeable when turning the key or pushing the ignition button. The weird noise is characterized by a clicking sound, although severe issues often result in grinding noise. Not all bad engine starters exhibit this symptom so not hearing any weird noises when starting your engine is not a good basis for a healthy engine starter.
An obvious symptom is an engine that won’t crank despite your continuous effort of turning the key or after repeatedly pushing the ignition switch. Sometimes, the starter solenoid clicks but it does not crank the engine. In extreme cases, you can’t solve this by jumpstarting the engine.
A non-responsive engine isn’t always about a bad starter so it would be better to call a certified technician if you experience this symptom.
Oil leaking from the engine can easily coat the starter and seep into the insides. When this happens, it can damage the internal components of the starter motor and solenoid, causing a malfunction. Be wary of oil leaks as it can also damage other parts, including the engine itself, when not fixed immediately.
Smoke after repetitive ignition attempts
The starter is an electrical component, meaning it can overheat when being overused. It is a mistake to desperately turn the switch or push the ignition button over and over again to start the engine. The reason why you don’t want to do this is it can quickly overheat the starter motor, which eventually leads to smoke or burnt odor.
How much is an OE starter replacement?
In need of a quality replacement for your faulty starter? CarParts.com offers a wide range of selection with price tags anywhere between $15 and $750. All that you have to do is to input your vehicle’s year, make, and model in the filter tab to generate a narrowed-down list of parts that fit your car.
There are two conditions of engine starter assemblies: remanufactured and new. You can choose your preference on the left-hand side of the page. You may also find there categories like brand, series, and product fit. OE engine starter replacements are sold in single pieces.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Starter
Can't get your car going right away at every start-up? Then it's high time to have your old Starter replaced with a brand new one today.
Do you know the secret of the world's fastest and most powerful cars? While a high-performance engine is definitely an automotive must-have, it doesn't stop there. A great engine is useless if you have no means to operate it. So what's the secret behind efficient vehicle operation? Enter: the "on-switch" of all automobiles-the Starter.
Okay, so your car starter may be a bit more complex than your regular light switch, but it pretty much works the same way. It's the part of your car that initiates the process of vehicle operation. In short, no starter-no engine power. Powered by the battery, the Starter converts electricity into mechanical energy. This allows the crankshaft to control your vehicle's pistons.
So how does the car starter work? Each time you turn on your ignition key, a small amount of electricity is sent from the battery to the starter solenoid located on top of your car starter. Then, the shift yoke makes its way to your starter's drive, which causes the crankshaft and the pinion to come together perfectly. The plunger then makes contact, which allows more power to flow from the battery to your car starter. Once the crankshaft has enough power to prepare your engine cylinders for ignition, the spark plug then lights the gasoline in your engine cylinders, allowing fuel combustion to ensue. Of course, this process won't happen if you have a broken car starter. If your car won't start, look for a starter replacement from a reputable dealer immediately.
Starter: Just the Facts
Your vehicle's engine must be set into motion by an external force before it can itself power up. Located at the front of the transmission bellhousing, the starter is what initiates the rotating motion that relays electric current from the battery to the engine. Early vehicles used a hand crank to crank-start the engine. But because this was dangerous and inconvenient to use, automakers have introduced a more reliable and safer system to jumpstart the engine. Today, you can use a remote starter installed by wiring a small electrical module to the starter in your vehicle. Just like other electronic devices, your vehicle's starter will periodically wear out. Fortunately, a replacement starter is relatively affordable and easy to find. That's especially true when you shop here at CarParts.com. We have a wide selection of starters for a wide range of vehicle makes and models.
• Our high quality starters guarantee easy, hassle-free startups, even if your vehicle's engine is cold.
• Coming from the industry's renowned suppliers, our wide array of starters are the best in form and function.
• Our starters guarantee easy, fast installation.
Choosing the Perfect Starter Motor
In the old days, engines used various methods to start up. These ranged from human-powered techniques like a removable crank handle to gun powder cylinders. They proved to be inconvenient and dangerous--however, an engine's behavior was unpredictable during starting which led to near-fatal injuries. The development of larger engines with higher compression ratios paved the way for the modern self-starter motor.
If you're in the market for a starter motor, this guide will help you understand and choose the right part for your vehicle.
How does a starter motor work?
A starter motor converts electrical energy from the vehicle's batteries into mechanical energy--giving life to the engine. At zero RPM, an internal combustion engine is unable to produce torque and the starter helps turn it over. By providing rotational speed or RPM to an engine's crankshaft--the combustion process starts and the engine can now power itself. As the engine spins faster than the starter, the bendix drive (an over-running clutch device) automatically disengages the starter gear from the engine gear. The starter motor was designed to make sure that anyone can run an internal combustion engine with ease.
What are the different types of starter motors?
Pneumatic --- It's reliable, mechanically simple, and delivers a higher torque. Used by some gas turbine and diesel engines, it has a geared turbine, pressure tank, and an air compressor. The turbine spins after compressed air is released from its tank. As the engine runs, its pressure tank is recharged by the compressor. A pneumatic starter is used by trucks and earth-moving equipment.
Gear-reduction --- Designed with a direct-drive and movable pole shoe--it's mainly used for cost-reduction rather than electrical or mechanical benefits. The solenoid was removed, replaced by a separate relay starter, and movable pole shoe. Due to its larger size, higher current requirements, and heavier weight, the gear-reduction starter motor is almost obsolete.
Electric --- It's the most common type used on modern gasoline or diesel engines, and a solenoid switch is mounted on the starter. A key-operated switch activates the battery which sends a low-current power to the solenoid. The solenoid pushes the drive pinion on the starter drive shaft and meshes with the ring gear, on the engine's flywheel. High-current contacts are closed by the solenoid and the engine starts running. The starter motor's pinion gear is controlled by a bendix drive--a device which allows the pinion gear to engage or disengage the engine's flywheel automatically when the engine fires or the starter is powered.
What should I look for in a starter motor?
Check your vehicle's manual for the starter motor's model or part number. It's important that you get the correct type and make to avoid any problems. After replacing your vehicle's starter motor, it's better to send the broke unit to the parts store. It will be rebuilt and sold as refurbished units. If you have the knack for rebuilding things, you can purchase a starter motor repair kit. It will save you money and learn more about repairing as well.
Finding the right replacement part for your vehicle is very important. Ask, shop or even do your own research for brands that offer the best quality and deals. Don't forget to always check your vehicle's wiring. Dirty or faulty wiring can cause electrical problems which leads to a dead starter motor. A simple cleaning and repair can save you a lot of money.
Guide to Replacing Your Vehicle's Starter Motor
The starter motor is your vehicle's heart; carrying current from the battery to fire up your engine. It's responsible for bringing your engine to life; and it sets your car in motion. It also suffers from wear and tear as it ages: wires and windings coming loose or broken flywheel teeth. Without it, your vehicle will be dead in the water.Replacing a starter motor will take time and patience. We have prepared the steps, tips and tools that you need when removing and replacing your starter motor.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Things you will need:
- Car jack
- Jack stands
- Ratchet wrench set with universal joints
- Wheel chocks
- Replacement starter motor
- Let the engine cool before working on your vehicle.
- Avoid using starter motor parts from other vehicle models.
- Remove the negative (grounded) battery cable from the battery to avoid electric shock.
- Make sure that your vehicle is supported by jack stands and work on a solid, level surface.
- Always wear recommended safety equipment like closed-toe shoes, an industrial-grade dusk mask, safety goggles and gloves.
- Check your replacement parts and make sure that they are compatible to your vehicle's make and model.
Step 1: Remove the battery cable attached to the solenoid or starter.
Step 2: Remove the other wires connected to the starter and solenoid. Take note of the wire positions so you can reconnect them correctly.
Step 3: Remove all mounting bolts and support brackets holding the starter motor.
Step 4: Depending on your vehicle, you might have to remove or loosen the following: ground straps, oil cooler lines, idler arm or exhaust pipes. Some vehicles will only require you to turn the wheels to one side. Once you have enough clearance, you can remove the starter motor from your car.
Step 5: Install the new starter and secure it with mounting bolts and brackets. Apply appropriate torque when tightening the bolts holding it to the frame.
Step 6: Reconnect all the cables and wires to the solenoid and starter. Make sure that all the wires are connected properly.
Step 7: Reconnect the battery's negative cable.
Step 8: Test the new starter motor by starting the engine.
Step 9: Bring the old starter to a motor shop for proper core return.
Replacing the starter motor would usually take an expert DIYer around two hours. It will take about two and a half hours for a beginner to finish this project. Be careful when reconnecting wires and cables to avoid any accidents. Always stay safe! It's a fun and straightforward job.