Starter motor defective – causes, symptoms and costs

The starter motor, popularly known as the starter, is necessary to start internal combustion engines. If the starter has a defect, starting difficulties occur and, in the worst case, the vehicle will not start.
In principle, starters are maintenance-free and designed for the entire service life of the engine. Nevertheless, parts of the small, powerful electric motor can fail, making it necessary to replace components and the starter.
To ensure that your vehicle gets into gear, you should drive to a specialist workshop if you have problems with the starter. They can inspect the starter motor, replace starter motor components and the starter motor completely, and ensure that the vehicle will start.

What is a starter motor?

  • A starter motor is a powerful electric motor that provides the necessary power and number of revolutions of the engine, when starting the vehicle.
  • By means of a battery, a combination of pinions and motor sprocket, the speed that the engine needs to run independently is transferred from the starter to the engine.
  • The high speed generated by the electric motor is matched to the required engine speed by means of the pinions and gears.
  • The engine needs a minimum number of revolutions to compress and start combustion, which it cannot provide when switched off. The starter motor performs this task.
  • Today, we distinguish the conventional starter from the one that has an automatic start-stop system.

usd starter motor

Recognizing a starter motor defect?

  • Defective starters become noticeable in various ways.
  • Because the starter needs the starter battery, make sure that the battery is charged or new.
  • If the starter motor spins despite a charged battery, clacks and does not turn, these are signs that indicate a defect.
  • In these cases, the vehicle will start with difficulty or not at all.

What are the causes of a defective starter?

  • Defective solenoid switches, ignition switches and short circuits should be ruled out before replacing the starter at a specialist workshop.
  • Damage and dirt on the freewheel, worn pinions, worn carbons and defective sprockets can be causes of a defective starter.
  • An overall non-functional electric motor, due to defective coils is possible.

Does a defective starter need to be repaired?

  • Because the starter motor is the component that gets the engine going during the starting process, nothing runs without it.
  • In the past, people said to lightly hit the starter with a hammer to get it going, but this approach is not recommended in the long run.
  • In the short term, you can remedy the problem by pushing on it, but this is not a permanent solution.
  • If the starter motor is defective, you will have to replace it. And no matter how many tricks you use to get it going again, there comes a time when you are stuck in one place and can’t move your car another meter.
  • What are the costs for a defective starter?

The cost of repairing a faulty starter depends on the model of car and the workshop where you have your car repaired.
Replacing the starter motor costs between 800 and 500 dollars. If the vehicle is equipped with an automatic start-stop system, it will be more expensive.
If you use reconditioned starters, you save money and protect environmental resources.

second hand starter motor


  • A defective starter should be repaired and reconditioned.
  • Visiting a specialist workshop has its advantages in such a case. In the workshop, other sources of error are ruled out before the expensive replacement of the starter.
  • If the battery is empty and the alternator is defective, the starter motor will not receive sufficient power. The cost of replacing and repairing these two sources of error may be less than replacing the starter.
  • Solenoid switches, defective ignition switches and lack of power supply due to cable damage can be considered as causes for the starter not working. They are cheaper to replace than the starter.
  • If you want to save money, use the experience of the workshops to rule out other causes. If the starter motor remains the cause, you will have to bite the bullet and replace it.