Everything you need to know about the starter motor

September 26, 2022

What exactly is a starter motor?

Back when starter motors did not exist, owners had to “crank” their cars. You’ve probably seen that before, in a black-and-white movie, for example. By means of a huge car key, which you had to turn quickly, the engine struck. Over the years, technology has improved, and a nice alternative to this has emerged: the starter motor! The starter motor is a small electric motor that runs on power from the car’s 12-volt battery.

How does a starter motor work?

When you put your key in the ignition of the car, and turn it, you activate the starter motor. When turning the key further, the starter motor starts working. It then clutches into the teeth of the flywheel, causing this flywheel to spin. The rotation of the flywheel causes the crankshaft of the engine to turn, and this causes the engine to run. The work of the starter motor is done with this. The starter motor is not used again until the engine is restarted. That’s a lot easier than cranking that!

Starter motor is defective

So a starter motor rotates. If not, it is broken. This can have a few different causes. One of these causes is, the 12-volt battery could be dead. Of course, it is also possible that the cable from the battery to the starter motor is broken. However, this is not common. Another cause that does occur frequently is pinion jamming in the starter ring – a gear ring around the flywheel. This is quite easy to solve, by putting the car in top gear and pushing it back and forth. Do this carefully and with the ignition off. The latter phenomenon does entail the need to replace the starter motor soon.

Replacing the starter motor

If the starter motor has failed, you will have to (have) this fixed. The advice for the inexperienced is to have this done by a garage. An average starter motor costs about 300 euros and assembly takes an hour. So for having your starter motor replaced, you will spend around 400 euros. Getting started yourself is also an option, provided you are a little handy. There are also remanufactured starter motors, which have been completely cleaned inside and will perform well again. This can save you about 100 euros.

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