How Long Does a Starter Last?
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Have you ever experienced that frustrating feeling of turning the key in your car's ignition only to hear a clicking sound and nothing else? It's the worst feeling in the world, especially when you're in a rush or stuck in the middle of nowhere.
While many of us take car starters for granted, they are essential to our vehicles, which require proper maintenance and care to function correctly.
Let’s explore the world of car starters and answer the burning question, "How long does a starter last?"
From the factors that affect their lifespan to signs that indicate it's time for a replacement, we'll cover everything you need to know to keep your car starting smoothly for years to come.
Table of Contents
- Parts of a Starter
- How Long Does a Starter Last?
- What Are the Signs of a Failing Starter
- How To Deal With a Failing Car Starter
- Starter Replacement Cost
- Best Car Deals by Category
Parts of a Starter
When it comes to the internal components of a car starter, it's crucial to have a basic understanding of what makes up this essential part of your vehicle. According to AutoZone, several vital starter parts work together to turn over your engine and get your car running.
Firstly, the starter contains electromagnetic field coils or permanent magnets. The number of coils may vary depending on your vehicle, but they are responsible for powering the armature to turn over the engine.
The armature is another essential component of the starter. It is mounted on a shaft and bearings and wrapped with conductor loops to transfer voltage and retain electrical contact as it rotates.
The solenoid is another crucial part of the starter, consisting of a movable core and two wire coils. It controls the electrical circuit and activates the starter. On starters with an integrated solenoid, the plunger attached to the solenoid manipulates the shift fork, which is connected to the starter drive gear to turn the engine over when engaged.
Other parts of a starter include the brushes, bearings, bushings, and shift fork. Starters come in various sizes and designs, so it's essential to consult your owner's manual before purchasing a starter or starter rebuild kit to ensure that you get the right part for your vehicle.
How Long Does a Starter Last?
The lifespan of a car starter cannot be accurately determined by simply counting mileage. Even two starters made by the same manufacturer may have vastly different lifespans.
While some car starters may last up to 200,000 miles, others may fail as early as 30,000 miles. Therefore, note that your car's mileage cannot solely indicate your starter's health.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Starter
A failing starter can cause several noticeable symptoms that indicate it may be time for a replacement.
Understanding the signs of a failing starter is vital because ignoring these symptoms can lead to further damage or complete failure, leaving you stranded and needing a costly repair.
1. Grinding Noise
One of the most common signs of a failing starter is a grinding noise when the car runs or starts.
This noise is often caused by worn-out gears or other internal components no longer functioning well.
This noise may be more noticeable when starting your car or when the engine runs at low RPMs.
2. Low Interior Lights
Another symptom of a failing starter is dimming interior lights. If the interior lights dim when you attempt to start your car, it may be a sign that the starter is drawing too much power.
The reason could be a failing solenoid or other internal components drawing excessive power from the battery.
3. Car Starting Irregularly
If your car starts intermittently, it may be due to a failing starter struggling to engage the engine.
This is due to weak batteries, corroded connections, or other electrical problems that prevent the starter from functioning. Sometimes, you may need to turn the critical signal several times before the car starts.
If your car refuses to start altogether, it may be due to a complete failure of the starter. When you turn the key, you may hear a clicking noise, but the engine will not turn over. This could result from a faulty solenoid, worn-out brushes, or failed internal components.
4. Cranks on the Car
Another sign of a failing starter is if your vehicle labors to crank or cranks slowly. It may be due to a weakened starter struggling to turn the engine over.
This could result from a weak battery, corroded connections, or other electrical problems that prevent the starter from functioning correctly.
5. Grease on the Starter
This can lead to a short circuit or other electrical problems that can cause the starter to fail.
6. Burning Smell
If you smell something burning or see smoke when attempting to start your car, it may be due to a short circuit or other electrical problem in the starter.
This could be caused by a faulty solenoid, worn-out brushes, or failed internal components.
7. If the Starter Still Runs After the Engine Is Off
Sometimes, the starter may keep running after you start the engine. This could be due to a faulty solenoid or other internal components disengaging correctly.
This act can cause damage to the starter and other parts of your vehicle.
8. Whining Engine
If the engine whines or whirs without cranking, it may be due to a failing starter that is struggling to engage the engine.
This could be caused by a weak battery, corroded connections, or other electrical problems that prevent the starter from functioning correctly.
How To Deal With a Failing Car Starter
When dealing with starter issues, it's essential to take prompt action to prevent further damage to your car.
According to northrichauto.com, there are a few steps you can take to resolve any problems and get your vehicle running smoothly again.
The first step is to take your car to a mechanic for a thorough diagnosis. While a failing starter is the most common culprit, it's crucial to rule out any issues with your car's charging system or battery.
If your battery has a low charge, it can mimic many of the symptoms of a failing starter. Additionally, if your mechanic notices an oil leak from your engine, they'll need to fix this problem before moving on to other repairs.
If your problems' root cause is your starter, there are a few potential solutions. Depending on the extent of the damage, your mechanic may recommend repairing a single component or replacing the entire system.
The cost of repairs will depend on the specific parts needed and how difficult it is to access your starter. However, your auto repair shop can provide you with an estimate before they begin any work.
One thing you shouldn't do is wait for your starter to fail before taking action. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of causing further damage to your car.
Instead, take your vehicle in as soon as possible to minimize any harm and get your car running at peak performance again.
Starter Replacement Cost
The cost of a starter replacement depends on several factors, including the vehicle's make and model and the problem's severity.
A starter rebuild kit can range from $50 to $350, while a brand-new starter can cost anywhere from $80 to over $350.
However, if you're not car-savvy, you'll need to take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic for replacement. On average, you can expect to pay between $150 to over $1,100 for the service, depending on the complexity of the job and the make, model, and year of your vehicle.
If your starter is easily accessible and can be removed and replaced in under an hour, the cost will be lower.
However, if your starter is underneath the intake manifold or other engine components, it will be more complicated and take longer, making the service more expensive.
When it comes to how long a starter lasts, it can vary greatly depending on a range of factors, including usage, manufacturer, and maintenance. While some starters can last up to 200,000 miles or more, others may fail after 30,000 miles.
The key to keeping your starter running smoothly for as long as possible is to stay on top of regular maintenance and promptly address any issues.
If you notice any signs of a failing starter, such as grinding noises, dimming lights, or intermittent starts, it's essential to take prompt action. Getting your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible can minimize damage and get your car running reliably again.
Remember, a well-maintained car starter can provide you with years of reliable service, so take care of it to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
And with the help of the tips and information in this article, you'll be better equipped to keep your starter running smoothly for years to come.