New starter.

Installing a new car starter on a Honda Pilot

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Is your car refusing to turn over? It could mean that you need a new car starter. 

Bolted into the transmission housing, this component shoots out a bendix, causing the flywheel to spin. The flywheel is responsible for turning the engine over.

It’s important to note that not all vehicles use a starter. Electric vehicles do not have starters, and hybrids may or may not have one. Certain hybrids use the hybrid system to start the engine.

Replacing the car starter

A new car starter was installed in a 2005 Honda Pilot.

First, the battery was tested. When our automotive technician confirmed that the SUV had a good battery. Then, he checked the starter and found it wasn’t working properly.

To get to this component, we needed to remove the battery, the tray the battery sits on, and the wires connected to the starter.

A jump box was used to bench test the new and older starters. Through this process, the technician was able to compare their power.

Signs that a car starter is going bad

A car that won’t start  – even when you use jumper cables – isn’t your only clue that you have a bad starter.

Other signs include a clicking sound when you try to turn it on. The dashboard lights should still appear, as long as you have adequate power from the battery.

You may hear a slight grinding noise, as well.

Key in ignition of Honda CR-V.There are times when starters go bad without any warning. The car may not have had a problem when you were leaving home but is having trouble starting as you’re wrapping up errands.

If you’re stuck with a car that won’t start, try jumping it and turning the key a few times. You may be able to get it going and drive it to a nearby auto repair shop. 

The other option – if this method doesn’t work – is having a tow truck pick it up.

How long starters last

A starter’s lifespan isn’t set in stone, typically ranging from 100,000 to 150,000 miles. Some last longer.

This can be impacted by different circumstances. These include how many times you turn your vehicle on each day. Connection issues, corrosion issues, heat, and driving conditions can affect the longevity, too.Connections, starter motor and starter solenoid.

The quality of the starter also has a part to play. Original equipment (O.E.) and O.E. equivalent starters from Bosch, Denzo, Motorcraft, and Delco will last a lot longer than remanufactured starters. That’s why we try to purchase new starters and go with the O.E. supplier.

Other car starting problems

Having a bad starter is one of a few problems that can prevent a car from starting.

The issue could lie with the battery, which may be dead. There could also be corrosion on the battery terminals or something wrong with a wire. 

Another possible culprit is a bad alternator, which provides power to various items you use everyday, such as lights and electronics.

More information about batteries and alternators can be found in this article we wrote.

You want to check for the whole starting system. Sometimes what can seem like a starter problem could be ground connections from the engine to the frame of the vehicle. Especially if you have had a transmission replaced or major engine repairs, it’s not uncommon for the ground wire to be loose or not connected, which would simulate a bad starter.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.