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HomeFeatured ArticlesA Sluggish Start | 5 Signs Of A Failing Starter Motor

A Sluggish Start | 5 Signs Of A Failing Starter Motor

The key to a smooth and pleasurable driving experience is a good start. After all, who wants a vehicle that gets cranky just to start? And the task of ensuring a smooth start is taken care of by a starter motor onboard your vehicle, which can cause a nightmare if it starts to act up. But much like other key components of your vehicle, a starter motor too shows signs and symptoms of failing. So before you repent, here are 5 common signs of a failing starter motor.

  1. Engine Won’t Turn On

    The engine won’t startup

    The most common symptom of a failing/failed starter motor is when you turn up your key and absolutely nothing happens! Yes, you read that right. This issue is often caused by a burned-out/ fused starter solenoid or motor. Alternatively, this can also be caused by a dead battery. But whatever the cause maybe, if you experience nothing when you try to turn on the ignition, make sure to get your vehicle thoroughly checked.

    Also Read: Here Are 5 Common Signs That Your Alternator Is Failing

  2. Starter Cranks But Doesn’t Power The Engine

    Santro Xing Problems
    The engine does not crank up despite the starter working

    Many times, you would notice that turning on the ignition will lead to the starter cranking, but it won’t in turn get the engine up and running. In such cases, the cause of the issue might be mechanical, as the gears connected to the flywheel may be acting up. This means that either the gear has stripped or has been dislocated against the flywheel. Whatever the case may be, the starter would need a replacement at the earliest.

  3. Grinding Noises

    Grinding Noises within the cabin

    Similar to the second issue, this issue also occurs when due to faulty and worn out starter gears, that connect the starter to the flywheel. However, a grinding noise can also be experienced from within the starter motor itself. In either case, the problem is one that cannot be fixed. If you notice this symptom, taking action towards it would be the best step. Because if a grinding starter isn’t replaced, it can cause potential damage to the flywheel; which would be even more expensive to repair.

    Checkout: Pay Attention | 4 Major Signs Of A Failing AC Compressor

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  4. Smell/Smoke While Starting

    Smoke coming out of the engine

    The starter, much like any other mechanical system, is powered by electricity. Therefore it is possible that sometimes the starter overheats because of excess and continuous power being supplied to it, or the motor wouldn’t shut off even after the car’s engine has ignited. If this occurs, it is common to notice smoke or smell coming out of the engine bay. This may be caused due to a problem with the ignition switch or even a blown fuse.

  5. Lights Dimming when you start

    Lights dimming upon a start

    If you notice that your interior/dashboard lights go dim when you start your vehicle, it can be a common sign of a starter failure. This is because such an issue is usually caused by a short circuit somewhere in the internal wiring of the starter motor, which leads to it drawing excess power leading to a drain in other systems such as the lights.

    Even though problems with the starter motor are virtually impossible to avoid, a smarter step would be to replace a failing unit before it becomes a bigger pain. And when you decide to do that, make sure to choose the best in quality spares directly from GoMechanic Spares.

    Also Read: 8 Cars In India That Got Discontinued Way Too Soon

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    Checkout: 6 Hassles Of Owning A Discontinued Car In India

Sankul Nagpal
Sankul Nagpal
Advocate || Creative and Legal Content and Copyright Specialist || Freelancer


  1. I have an i20 2010 model. The issue with the car is that the self time all of a sudden has increased and the car sometimes creates whining noise when I am trying to start the car but nothing else happens. Please tell me what can be the issue.

    • The issue could be very well related to the starter motor. However, for a deeper look and effective resolution, we advise you to visit your nearest GoMechanic workshop as soon as possible. Alternatively you can also book your car inspection and service from the comfort of your home with the GoMechanic App.


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