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The Starter


The Starter (or Starter Motor) converts electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy to crank the engine.  When we push the button or turn the key, we all want to hear that satisfying rev of the engine. 

How does the Starter do what it needs to do?  Electrical current is run through the inner windings of the starting motor, the magnetic field around the winding and the field between the polarized shoes act on each and this creates physical movement. This movement is used to turn some sort of shaft or gear that acts upon the flywheel of the engine.   Depending upon the different kinds of starters and how the vehicle is constructed, this can happen in different kinds of ways.

The Starter Solenoid is a high current relay that makes the connection between the battery and the starting motor.  The starter solenoid is similar to other relays, but is capable of handling much higher current levels.  When the ignition key is in start position, a small amount of current flows through the solenoid windings, creating a magnetic field which closes a gap inside the solenoid; completing the circuit inside the solenoid.  A current of 150-200 amps flows through the solenoid to the starter.  When the key is released, the current is disconnected from the solenoid windings, causing the gap to form and disconnect the circuit and cut the power to the starting motor.

The Starting motor is an important part of the starting and charging system of your vehicle.  When you are having issues at start up, it is good to make a note of when you have trouble and exactly what you hear and experience during the attempted start of your vehicle. 

At Jammin’ J Auto we have a system to isolate and test each component of your Starting and Charging system (see Here) and determine exactly which part of the system is not performing up to standards.  Is the Starter making noise when you turn the key, and if so, what kind of noise?  Common sounds can include buzzing, clicking or even a humming sound among others.  Sometimes the Starter will have enough power to attempt to turn the flywheel gear, but not enough to get the engine started.  There are gears in the Starter that must line up with the flywheel gear and sometimes the teeth of either gear can be damaged or out of alignment, causing complications at the turn of the key.  Our technicians can test the Starter on its own as well as how it is performing within the entire system to pinpoint and correct the problem.

When things aren’t going well at the turn of the key, give our Service Representative a call at 314.423.3876 to set up a time to visit our shop.  Be familiar with the normal sounds of your vehicle and be prepared to tell us what noises you hear as well as if there were any other symptoms that you noticed before the vehicle stopped performing correctly.

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