Signs That Indicate a Failing Starter System


Every successful drive you’ve ever taken involves starting your car. It’s easy to start the engine and take off. No one typically thinks about their vehicle’s starter until they encounter a problem. Turning the key is the most straightforward part of a complicated series of events. When the engine turns over, and fuel enters your combustion chamber, the engine roars and comes to life. The starter system is durable and meant to last under extreme weather and road conditions, but daily wear and tear can create problems. Several signs can indicate a failing starter system, below are a few common symptoms to look out for:  

You hear a grinding noise. 
Grinding sounds usually indicate a mechanical problem that’s typically related to the gears that connect to your vehicle’s starter motor. Worn gears can lead to various issues that result in them not adequately engaging with the engine. Additionally, there can be mechanical issues inside or outside the starter due to it being loose on it’s mountings. Grinding noises should always be inspected immediately before any severe mechanical damage occurs.

Your engine doesn’t start. 
You insert the key and turn it over, but nothing happens. You try again, and you’re met with silence. While this can indicate a problem with your battery, it could also be related to your starter. These issues usually indicate a problem with the electrical system or solenoid. The solenoid is a wire that helps convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. If your engine won’t start, you’ll want to get this fixed right away. Try to have your vehicle brought into our repair shop to have it inspected by an expert. 

Your vehicle’s interior lights dim after starting the engine. 
If you notice your dashboard lights dim after you start your engine, this can indicate a short circuit in the starter’s motor internal wiring. A short circuit can cause the starter’s motor to pull extra electrical current away from your vehicle’s other systems. If an additional chugging sound accompanies the dim lights, you should receive automotive advice from a professional.

You notice a distinctive burning smell coming from your engine. 
A big sign that your engine is overheating is smoke coming from the hood and a noticeable burning smell. Your vehicle has metal components lubricated with grease. Since your vehicle’s starter system is both electrical and mechanical, these metal components can become overheated. 

The starter is soaked in oil. 
For the majority of vehicles, the starter is located near the bottom of the engine. The bottom of the engine is a compromising position because it makes it susceptible to any drivetrain fluid or engine oil leaks. If your starter is soaked in oil, a diagnostic test trip is inevitable as these types of leaks are dangerous and can result in a shortened lifespan for your starter. 

Are you experiencing any of these problems? If so, bring your vehicle in for a thorough inspection. One of our first steps in adequately diagnosing your starter system is by ruling out any potential issues with your battery and/or charging system. If your battery and charging system is properly functioning, we immediately focus our attention on the starter system. If you need a starter inspection or repair in St. Petersburg, bring your car or truck to the expert mechanics at Victory Auto Service. 

Our team will work quickly and diligently to get your car back in it’s most optimal condition! Call us today to schedule an appointment for quality auto repair in St. Petersburg, FL!

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