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 Tell If Your Starter Is Bad?

The purpose of the starter is to turn the engine so that the ECM commands fuel and spark to start the combustion process. In most cars, the location of the starter will be closer to the flywheel or the flex plate of the engine. If the car starter is going bad, your car won’t be able to work. Before knowing how to start a car with a bad starter? Let’s find out with us about some symptoms of a bad starter:

No crank or no start 

The first symptom of a faulty starter is not starting. This is also one of the most common signs correlated to a bad starter. The reason why this happens is due to an internal electrical issue or the starter solenoid isn’t functioning or the brushes are inside of the starter worn out which will be unable to pass the current through a commutator to get the starter tuning. And at that time, your car can not start like normal.

One click sound

When you’re trying to start your engine and only hear a clicking noise, this is a sign to tell that your starter is faulty. In this case, the click sound you hear is that the solenoid is activating the plunger to move the pinion gear outward touching the flywheel. 

The slow crank 

The next symptom you can experience in your car when the starter is going bad is the low crank. The culprit behind this problem can be poor contact between the brush and the commutator restricting the right amount of the current that is needed to produce the full motor’s torque to turn the engine. 

How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter?

Before knowing the methods to start a car when your starter is going bad, we will briefly explain a problem some drivers are concerned about: Can I jump-start a car with a bad starter? 

What do you think about this action? Can you really jump-start a car when the starter is going bad? The answer will depend on whether your battery has a little charge or not? If “yes”, you can jump-start the car, in contrast, you can’t. And that is because jump-starting a car in most cases is done when the battery has the issue. If your battery is not weak, you might be able to jump-start your car.  Next, we will find out about the most looking forward part in this article: 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.

bad starter problems
Check the starter for loose connections. (Photo: 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: 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!

Inspect the engine grounds

There’s a ground cable that leads to the starter, it can’t come from the battery, but from the transmission through the external frame. Conversely, the transmission gets its ground from the ground wires that connect the transmission to the body of the automobile. If any of these wires are injured or rusted, this could be the reason why your car is unable to start. The engine and transmission ground wires can affect the general ground getting to the starter. Both of these wires have to work flawlessly to help the starter operate optimally. Try bypassing this error by connecting the battery’s negative post to the taster frame using a jumper wire. If the fault was the ground on the automobile, your car should be able to start effortlessly with this connection.   

Jump-start the car 

In some cases, jumping – starting your car may not get the desired result. Your battery should supply enough current to the starter intended for it to work correctly. However, there’s no harm in trying and then going ahead and doing it with a larger battery or a jump-starter.