How Long Does a Starter Last?

Your car will not start and you have no idea how to determine if your car has a bad starter, if the alternator is causing it, or the car battery died. Turning the key in the ignition of your car will make the engine turn over before cranking. Although, making it crank is more involved than what car owners think which is only achievable by suction. If the car engine refuses to turn, it means there is no air present. Having no air means fuel is not combustible. The motor for starting makes the engine turn over during ignition and lets everything else happen.

You 1st Have to Know How it Works

The car starter is an electric motor and it will engage when the ignition is turned to “run” and it will turn the engine over allowing air to be sucked in. On the part of the engine, flexplate or flywheel, having a ring gear on the edge, it is linked to the crankshaft’s end. On the engine starter, gear has been designed to make it compatible with the ring gear grooves.

When the ignition switch is turned on, the starter motor gets energized, and the electromagnet engages. This is going to push out the rod where the opinion gear is linked to. The gear will meet the flywheel and the starter will turn. This will spin the engine over, which sucks the air. The electricity will go to the plugs while passing through the wires of spark plugs, which ignites the combustion chamber fuel.

When the engine turns over, the starter will disengage, and the electromagnet will cease. The rod will retract again into the starter, which takes out the contact from the opinion gear while the flywheel prevents any damage from happening. If the flywheel is still in contact with the opinion gear, there is a possibility of the engine spinning too fast which causes damage.

How Long Does It Last?

There a couple of things that can make a car motor fail but the main cause is wear and tear. Another issue might even be somewhere else and not the starter. A relay controls it and if that one fails, the starter is not going to work. The starter might not also work if the battery has been charged too low, or if it is already dead.

If the starter fails, you are going to be stuck until it has been fixed. You should know a couple of signs to watch out for because that might mean the starter is going to fail. These signs are:

  • The starter is very slow in cranking the engine but this could also be a battery issue
  • The starter is not engaging at all because it has failed or maybe the relay did
  • The engine refuses to turn over
  • When you turn the key, you hear a loud click but the engine does not turn over
  • You will hear a lot of noise from the starter when the engine is being cranked
  • The starter is still engaged but there is a grinding sound
  • The engine will only start intermittently


Keep the connectors clean – The starter motor and battery are linked through special connector wire series. In case of corrosion in the connectors or any kind of dirt or grime, it is going to limit the electric current’s strength which gets sent to the relay of the starter. This is going to make it almost impossible for enough power to be generated by the motor so the engine gets fully cranked. Moreover, it is going to ruin the motor’s integrity and cause it to wear out excessively. Therefore, you always want to make sure it is clean.

Your car should be undercover when parked – If there are extreme temperatures on the 2 ends of the scale, it is going to lessen battery life dramatically, and high temperatures causing battery failures more than freezing temperatures.

Remember that the battery’s CCA or Cold Cranking Amp rating only holds for specific temperatures, and even during the laboratory conditions. In case there is low temperature, the rating pertains to 0 degrees F. When it is in this temperature, a battery should deliver current constantly for 30 seconds with no charge in an individual cell that falls below 1.2 volts. Although, this is needed by new batteries, so if what you have has been around for a couple of years, it might not perform well during the winter.

If your car is parked under cover, it can help lessen the effects of temperature fluctuations. In case your parking space does not have a roof during winter time, the car can be covered with a nylon protector. The fluctuations caused by the temperature can be felt less by the car battery and it is going to reduce the strain on it and the longevity will improve.

Do flywheel inspection – The flywheel is a device that rotates which is responsible for assisting the starter when the engine cranks. The starter’s front side has a pinion gear. This gear is the one that engages together with the flywheel in order for the engine to be cranked. The flywheel’s teeth and gear teeth have to be in a solid condition. If the teeth become cracked, missing, or worn, then you will have a malfunctioning starter motor. You would have to replace the flywheel or opinion gear in case the problem is caused by the teeth. If you keep forcing the 2 to be engaged during this condition, then the starter motor could wear out quickly.

To prevent the starter motor from malfunctioning, remember to always stay on top of its maintenance. In case it stops working, has it fixed or replaced right away because you do not want it to interfere with your everyday tasks.

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