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How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter? Apply These 4 Tricks!

How does it feel when you turn the ignition key, but the engine does not respond? It could be a starter problem, and dealing with a bad starter could be quite frustrating. You may have the urgency of catching a flight or joining a meeting, so don’t have time to take the car to the garage. So, how to start a car with a bad starter? Well, a non-working starter can be annoying, but a series of simple tricks might be enough to put it back in order.

How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter?

The tips described below are the best possible ways to instill life into a dead starter. Try them one by one until you find a solution.

Check the Connections

The starter is an electric motor and a part of an electrical circuit. It sets the engine of a vehicle in motion. So, the engine won’t respond if there is an issue with the battery or the connections. Check the joint of all the connecting cables between the battery and the starter. Tighten everything because a loose connection means less flow of current to the starter.

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bad starter problems
Check the starter for loose connections. (photo source: Mark Gittelman)

Clean the Corrosion

Corrosion could also be the culprit in obstructing the flow of electrical current. The dirt and grease can accumulate on the starter and the car battery, and corrode the cable clamps and terminals of the battery.

If this is the case, disconnect the battery and use a fine-grade sandpaper to clean the affected areas. It will remove the dirt, stain, and rust. If the corrosion seems pretty stubborn, apply a mixture of water and caustic soda. Be careful about not to damage any connections.

Tap with a Tool

It’s another simple trick to the manual of how to start a car with a bad starter. If the starter is dead but the windshield wipers and headlights are working, the problem could be a stuck gear. The starter cannot function properly if that happens.

Give the starter a tap about 4 to 5 times with a tool such as a hammer or a wrench. You have to carefully locate its position inside the car and distinguish it from other components. Besides, the taps should be gentle so that the part is not damaged.

How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter
Tapping the starter with a hard tool might be effective. (photo source: Rich Brown @ Youtube)

Sometimes, this method works even if the starter is actually bad. In that case, tapping will provide a temporary fix but the car could be dying anytime soon.

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Give the Car a Good Shake

It’s another trick to release a stuck gear. However, you should do it only when you are a noob and don’t have the expertise to open the hood and locate the starter. Push down the vehicle’s handbrake lever while it is in top gear. It will rock the car and may loosen the jammed gear in the process.

Take a closer look at how to deal with this situation by watching this video!

3 Comments
  1. Doug says

    Could u tap the sbindual of the starter so it can go back to start when it is stuck in the groves of the teeth of the fly wheel

  2. Yolanda Furlow says

    Where is the starter located on a bmw suv

  3. Emanuel Rivera says

    Asken cuz I tried. My car didnt start so I dont think its the starter but if I pull the car pop the clutch in 2nd gear. 3rd gear and consistand as I was being pulled should have started right if it was the starter ??? Or still wouldnt start if it was starter. In my 91 honda crx It worked but honda element 2004 no nothing

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