Signs My Car’s Starter Has Gone Bad

The starter is your car engine’s Mini-Me. It’s a tiny motor that helps get your vehicle started. Starters are durable; they can last up to 200,000 miles. This being said, starters can also go bad. Del Hatt Automotive lists the signs that your car’s starter has gone bad below.

Clicking Sounds

You probably already know this sign. You hop in the driver’s seat, turn or press the ignition key, and hear nothing but clicking sounds. This is a sign that your starter is going bad. You may hear this noise yet your engine will still start a few times before the starter dies completely. It’s important to have the starter looked at the minute you hear clicking sounds when you try to ignite your automobile.

Dead Engine With Lights

If you can’t get your car started, turn on the headlights to see if they illuminate. If they do, you have a working alternator and battery power. The reason why your automobile will not start is that the starter has gone bad. It will do you no good to try to jumpstart your automobile. Again, the problem doesn’t lie in the alternator or battery. Rather, the starter motor has burned out and needs to be replaced.

No Cranking

Assume you do attempt to jumpstart your engine but it doesn’t fire up. This, again, is a sign that the problem is not with the battery or the alternator. Rather, the reason why you can’t get your engine to crank, fire up, and run is that the starter motor is no longer functioning. Chances are, you won’t be able to get your automobile to run at all and you will need to call for a tow truck.


If you keep trying to start your automobile with a bad starter motor, you will overheat it and end up with burning odors and smoke. The starter works with your vehicle’s electrical system. If you keep trying to push it even though it’s dead, you’re going to overheat the electrical system. You might even blow a fuse or short-circuit the system.


Finally, your starter may die a premature death if it is soaked in motor oil. This isn’t a sign of a bad starter. Rather, because the starter is located below the engine cylinders, you have a serious oil leak. Chances are, the engine gasket is leaking oil out of the cylinders and saturating your starter. This can cause the starter to malfunction and also cause serious engine damage.

Del Hatt Automotive in Poughkeepsie, NY, can inspect your starter to see if it has gone bad. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Photo by Dmytro Aletskyi from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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