Using a car is one thing and knowing how it works is something else. A car's working is like the performance of a symphony orchestra, where all instruments are in exact harmony and play their part. One such part, which plays a very important role in your car's ignition, is the starter. If it fails to function, you have to be ready to push your car home or walk home. That's why, it is quite helpful, if you have a knowledge of symptoms that indicate the malfunctioning of a starter. They will enable you to foresee imminent problems and prevent a complete failure.
The car starter system is made up of a solenoid, a motor, and its electrical circuitry. For a car to start, many things need to happen simultaneously and in rapid succession. Starting a car is triggering the functioning of its engine. For the engine to fire, one of the most important factors is turning of the flywheel, without which a car engine will never start. This is also known as cranking the engine. That function is served by the car starter mechanism.
When you turn the ignition key, a relay mechanism switches on the solenoid, which triggers the starter motor. The motor causes gears to engage and turns the flywheel. The turning of the flywheel is directly responsible for starting the engine.
The Prime Symptoms
One thing that needs to be understood before talking about bad starter symptoms, is that they are very similar to symptoms of a bad car battery. So, it is advisable that you first make sure that your car battery is in excellent working condition and fully charged. Check the car battery. Once you do that, diagnosing starter problems is considerably simpler. Here are the three prime symptoms.
Car Won't Start
You turn the key to start the car, but there is clanking, followed by no response. This symptom essentially points towards either a complete failure of the starter system or a partial failure. Thus, inhibited engine ignition is a symptom. The only way out is to get the starter motor and solenoid checked and replaced, if need be. It is better if you get the mechanism checked, before things reach a stage of complete failure.
Delayed or Labored Cranking
When you turn on the ignition and you hear the car laboring and cranking very slowly before the engine starts, you have a problem with the starter mechanism. If you get it checked out and repaired at this stage, you can save yourself from extensive car repairs, that result from complete failure.
Grinding Noise and Freewheeling
The gear that gets engaged with the flywheel and then retracts itself after ignition, can cause problems when it gets worn out. Freewheeling is when the gear keeps on rotating for long before it engages with the flywheel. Sometimes, when the gear fails to retract after ignition, it causes a grinding noise. Both these symptoms, if noticed, are SOS calls from the car starter system to be repaired.
These symptoms can be spotted quite easily and will help you solve this problem, well in advance. It will save you a lot of money, time, and exasperation. If you maintain a regular car maintenance schedule and implement it regularly, most of the car problems that crop up due to negligence, can be easily avoided.