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What Causes A Starter To Burn Out

What Causes A Starter To Burn Out?[Causes, Signs & Fix]

There are many reasons a car breaks down, and one of the most common causes is a burned-out starter motor

The starter motor is responsible for producing the crank your engine needs to start combustion.

So when you suspect a burned-out starter motor caused your car to break down, it’s essential to grasp what might have happened. 

That’s why it’s only natural to ask what causes a starter to burn out. Keep reading as we walk you through the reasons why a starter burns out. 

What Causes A Starter To Burn Out

What Causes A Starter To Burn Out?

You may be curious, “Why does my vehicle starter malfunction?” or “Why does my car starter keep on failing?” So we’ll discuss them in this section. Read on for some of the answers. 

Faulty Ignition System

The ignition switch is a crucial component of a car that engages the solenoid, which then closes the circuit to power the starter. 

So when the cylinder inside the ignition system gets jammed, the starter won’t disengage as it should once the engine has been ignited, which results in a burned-out starter

Thus, this part can be the most typical cause of starter motor burnout

Engaged Solenoid Switch

The starter of some vehicles is connected to a solenoid. 

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To be more precise, a solenoid-derived lever is attached to the starter’s clutch and pinion assembly.

If the solenoid switch is left in the engaged position, it will burn out the starter because it will continue to draw on the assembly.

Error In Starting The Engine

Error In Starting The Engine

The way you start your engine can also cause the starter to burn out.

Holding the key in the start position for more than 10 seconds without letting the starter cool down, as well as making repeated unsuccessful attempts to start the car, can damage the component.

This is because the magnetic switch may not work in cold weather or low battery voltage situations, which can cause the solenoid to chatter. 

Continually turning on and off the electricity to the motor results in a burned starter motor

Wiring Problems or Short Circuit

Shorted wires allow the engine to take electricity from the battery even if the ignition is turned off. Thus, the starter constantly receives electricity, even if it shouldn’t.

And because this component wasn’t designed to be used continuously, it becomes worn out, and the motor will run on a less-than-optimal charge. 

As a result of the starter being overworked by an undercharged battery, starter burnout may occur.

Defective Starter

Despite being very uncommon, some manufacturing faults that allow it to operate wrongly can cause a starter to continually fail.

Only a few possible problems include faulty connections and broken starter motor parts.

If the starter burns out shortly after being replaced and the vehicle starts normally after that, you can presume that a manufacturing defect was the root of the issue.

Dirty Engine

Dirty Engine

Corrosion and the accumulation of dust and dirt in your engine are additional factors that contribute to starter failure.

If it gets inside the starter, this dirt can serve as sandpaper, wearing down internal parts and causing starter burnout.

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Dirt can hinder the electricity’s path from the battery to the starter motor in addition to rust. The engine is being strained as a result of inadequate electricity.

The motor is strained as a result of the wrong system pressure and starting fluid levels.

Signs Of A Burned-Out Starter Motor

Now that you know what causes a starter to burn out, it’s time to learn how to diagnose it

Here are the symptoms of a burnt-out starter motor

  • The Engine Won’t Crank

This is the most common symptom. A burnt-out starter motor may be the cause of your car’s engine cranking gradually so that it won’t start. 

This occurs as a result of the starter motor’s failure to start the engine due to its inability to use the electricity coming from your car’s battery.

  • Clicking Or Grinding Noise

When you hear an annoying clicking or grinding noise when cranking the engine, you may have a burned out starter with motor issues or a stuck gear. 

Due to the engine’s inability to start, the sounds coming from underneath your hood are audible.

  • Freewheeling

One sign of starter burnout is freewheeling. When this happens, it only means that the starter is not making any contact with the flywheel. 

It can be because the starter is burned out or because it is damaged by wear and tear on the component. 

  • Smoke Is Emitted From The Hood/ Burning Smell

The longer you try to attempt starting your vehicle, the more likely it is for the starter to overheat and burn, which raises the possibility of electrical issues.

The smoke can also be accompanied by a burning smell from under your car’s hood. 

  • Check Engine Light Is On

Your car’s starter malfunction may occasionally cause your check engine light to illuminate.

If this happens, it is best to get your car diagnosed so that the problem may be accurately detected and addressed before it worsens and becomes a more serious issue.

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How To Fix A Burnt Out Starter Motor?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Starter Go Out While Driving?

A starter is only useful when starting the car. So the chance of a starter going out while driving is slim.

If you manage to start your vehicle, it is quite unlikely that your engine will shut down or stall while you are on the road.

Nonetheless, a burned-out starter could potentially cause continuous battery depletion under certain conditions.

Your car won’t run well if the voltage is off and could even crash while you’re driving.

Can You Start The Car Without A Starter?

Unfortunately, if your vehicle has an automatic transition, it won’t start again if the starter motor is fully dead.

On the other hand, you can bump start your car if it has a manual transmission and uses a push button to start.

With the clutch pushed in, get it rolling in first or second gear at a speed of at least 3 mph before releasing the clutch.

How Do You Know If The Starter Can Be Fixed Or Needs To Be Replaced?

To ascertain whether your starter is the root of the problem, speak with a professional or carefully inspect the complete starting system.

If so, you’ll need to inspect your starter to figure out what’s wrong.

While some damaged starter parts can be quickly fixed, others need a lot of parts and time-consuming repairs.

If you’re performing a large rebuild, it might be more cost-effective and time-saving to completely replace your starter.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Burned Out Starter?

Replacement costs for a defective starting motor could range from $200 to $1450. 

Here is a breakdown of the material and labor costs the replacement entails:

  • Material Cost (Brand-New Starter) – $50 to $350
  • Labor Cost- $150 to $1,100

To Sum It Up

A faulty ignition system, an engaged solenoid switch, an error in starting the engine, wiring problems or starter short circuits, a defective starter, and a dirty engine are what cause a starter to burn out.

Now that you have enough knowledge about starter to burn out after reading this article, we hope that this post will help you fix this problem.

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