Have issues with your charging or starting system? Michael and Company are here to help fix them.
We have the right tools and expertise to detect any issue with your alternator, starter, or battery.
Our starter system service and repair issues include:
- alternator replacement
- starter replacement
- battery replacement
- repairing electrical shorts and drains
- power door lock and window diagnostics and repair
- fixing vehicle lighting issues
Car Starter System Issues
Car starter issues come up suddenly and for several reasons. It could mean corroded terminals or loose connections.
A damaged starter system will start exhibiting problems, and you will definitely notice, for it will become difficult or impossible to start your car. And a repeated turning of the ignition key in the hopes of starting your car will only create more problems.
Thankfully, car starter system problems occur in the usual places, which you can check.
These are six troubleshooting tips to help you start your engine.
Check the Battery Voltage
Find out whether you have enough juice to operate the starter motor. You do this by using a voltmeter. With this device, you can measure the amount of voltage in your battery.
- Set the voltmeter to 20 volts on the DC voltage scale.
- Turn on the meter. Connect the test leads across the battery terminals. Touch the negative lead to the negative post, and same with the positive lead to the positive post.
- Then, switch on your headlights.
- Check the display on the meter. Your battery should have between 12.4V, which constitutes a 75% charge and 12.6V, which is a 100% charge. This is what’s required to operate the starter motor.
- If you get a reading of less than 12.4V, you need to recharge the battery.
- If your battery is 3 to 4 years old, it’s best to run a hydrometer-check on your battery. Through this, you will determine the health of your battery and find out if any cells have failed.
Check out this video on how to check your car battery using a hydrometer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrCmDfbRPvA
Inspect Cables and Wires
Any corrosion prevents electrical flow. If you haven’t been paying any attention to your battery or starter system, chances are, you’ve got corrosion.
A layer of corrosion on battery terminals should be dealt with by cleaning. Luckily, you can do so using a mixture of baking soda and warm water.
- Mix 8 ounces of warm water for 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a small container.
- Thoroughly mix the solution.
- Disconnect the terminals from the battery and apply the solution to the terminals and battery posts using a soft brush.
- Clean the battery top with the solution, carefully making sure that the solution doesn’t get under the filler caps.
- Check the electrolyte level. The electrolyte levels should be at the bottom of the filler rings. You may add distilled water to bring it to the correct level.
- Check the battery tray where the battery sits. Clean if necessary.
- Reconnect the terminals. Restart the engine.
Inspect the Starter Solenoid
The starter solenoid is a small cylinder on top of the starter. The positive battery cable connects to the solenoid. If this fails, the car will not start.
If you can’t find this, refer to your manufacturer’s manual.
- To check the solenoid, make sure to disable the starting system. You don’t want the engine to start while checking the solenoid. Therefore, disconnect the thick wire from the distributor cap. You can also do this by removing the fuel pump fuse.
- Ground the wire you disconnected from the distributor to a bolt with a jumper wire.
- Ask someone else to start the engine. Listen for sounds coming from the solenoid.
- If you hear clicking sounds, it means the electrical current is reaching the solenoid. It means it’s properly working. If you hear a weak sound, check the wires connected to the solenoid or starter relay.
- Also check for problematic wires. If they are loose or broken or disconnected, they will prevent the electrical current from reaching the motor. If the wires are in excellent condition, then the starter motor, solenoid or relay may have failed.
Here’s a video to help you:
Check the Starter Motor
To check your starter motor, you need to lift the hood of your car to reach it. Depending on the make of your car, it varies.
- Make sure the bolts are tight on the starter mounting. Loose bolts will prevent the starter drive from engaging the flywheel, and you will hear a grinding noise when you try to start the engine. This happens because the ring gear on the flywheel and the pinion gear on the starter will clash.
- If the mounting bolts are tight, take out the starter motor and check the pinion gear. Check the condition of the teeth on the pinion gear – signs of wear or damage will prevent the starting of the engine.
- Using a screwdriver, try to see if you can rotate the gear in both directions. The gear should only rotate in one direction. If it moves both ways or refuses to move at all, it’s time to replace the starter.
Inspect the Engine Flywheel
Now that your starter motor is out, check the flywheel too. It is the large, heavy wheel between the engine and transmission. This is what the pinion gear engages to start the engine.
- Set your transmission to Neutral.
- Have someone else rotate the crankshaft — at the front and bottom of the engine block — with the use of a ratchet and a socket. Depending on your car, you may need to remove a wheel to access it.
- Observe the flywheel as it rotates. Check that the teeth are in good condition. Damaged or missing teeth will prevent the starter motor from cranking the engine. Missing or damaged teeth prevent the starter motor from cranking the engine.
Check If The Starter Motor Operates Properly
If you think something is wrong with your starter motor, take it to an auto service and repair shop for accurate testing. Many will even test your starter system for free.
A quick inspection by the professional mechanics at Michael and Company will reveal the issues of your car’s starter system.
When you start having car starter problems, it’s a sign that you’ve been neglecting maintenance, luckily, Michael and Company are experts in starter system service and repair in San Jose, California.
If you have questions regarding any of our auto repair services, please give us a call at 408-286-2988 or stop by today at 380 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126.
We will do our absolute best to ensure that your vehicle is returned to you in premium condition!