How To Start A Car With A Bad Starter? 13 Spectacular Ways – Flawless Car Guide

how to start a car with a bad starter

Most car starters are reliable and will start your engine when you turn the key, but there are a few that can be troublesome. Likewise, your car is not starting and after trying several times and getting no response, you checked the battery, checked the connections, and tried jumping it, but still nothing. This could be a sign of a bad starter.

If your car has a bad starter, you may be stranded on the side of the road. Unfortunately, starters can fail for a variety of reasons, including poor maintenance, a low battery charge, or an electrical problem in the vehicle. If you notice that your car’s starter is starting to give you problems, it’s important to take action before it becomes too late.

Luckily, there are a few solutions that can get you back on the road quickly. Sometimes, a bad starter can be fixed by just replacing the part. Other times, it may be necessary to replace the entire starter. Regardless of the cause, fixing a car with a bad starter is usually relatively easy.

This article will walk you through how to start a car with a bad starter? After reading this blog post and performing some easy tests, you should be able to identify signs of a bad starter, how to start your car with a bad starter automatic, and can you jump start a car with a bad starter?

how to start a car with a bad starter

What is a Starter?

When you get in your car, the first thing you do is start it up. You turn the key in the ignition, and the car starts right up. But what actually starts the car?

A starter is a device that provides the power necessary to start an engine. It’s typically powered by the car’s battery, and it uses an electric motor to turn the engine over so that it can start.

When the key is turned, the ignition switch sends the starter solenoid a signal when all this happens, the starter rotates and engages the flywheel ring gear, spinning it until it starts up your car’s engine.

If you’re having trouble starting your car, it’s a good idea to check out your car starter. If it’s not working properly, it may be causing your engine to have trouble starting.

But before we start a detailed guide on how to start a car with a bad starter automatic, have a look at signs of a bad starter.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Signs of a Bad Starter:

There are several telltale signs of a bad starter, a few of the most common are as follows.

Car Not Starting Even With a Fully Charged Battery:

When your car isn’t starting, even with a fully charged battery, it’s time to take a look at the starter. The starter is responsible for turning over the engine, and if it’s not functioning properly, the car isn’t going to start. It’s possible that the starter is faulty if you see any of these indicators.

Turning the key in the ignition and hearing a grinding noise is one telltale indicator. The starter gears aren’t meshing properly with the flywheel, resulting in this noise. It’s also a sign if you turn the key and nothing happens – there is no sound or movement. You should have your starter checked if you’ve been experiencing any of these issues with your vehicle.

Slow Starting Speed:

It’s not just a coincidence if your ride takes a long time to get going. Problems with the starter are widespread and can occur at any time. Plug the battery into a voltmeter if you notice that your vehicle is taking longer to start than usual. The starter is the problem if the voltmeter shows full charge.

An Oil-Soaked Starter:

When your car won’t start, it’s possible that your engine is leaking oil, which might cause starter issues. To avoid an expensive problem, contact a professional immediately if you notice any indicators of oil leaks. To avoid problems like these with the starter, it’s important to check for leaks as often as possible.

Strange Clicking Sound:

Many drivers have experienced a strange clicking noise when starting their car. This clicking is usually a sign that the starter is going bad. If ignored, the starter can eventually fail, leaving the driver stranded. There are a few things that drivers can do to prevent this from happening.

The first step is to keep the battery terminals clean. The terminals should be free of corrosion and dirt, which can cause electrical problems. The second step is to make sure that the battery is properly charged. A weak battery will not be able to start the car. The third step is to have the starter inspected regularly. A qualified mechanic can determine if the starter is in need of replacement or repair.

Smoke Coming Out of the Car:

If you keep trying to start the car, you risk damaging the starter by allowing it to overheat. Because it is a component of the vehicle’s electrical system, the starter is prone to shorts and blown fuses.

In the event that you see or smell smoke coming from your vehicle, you should seek emergency assistance. You should never try to start your car if you notice these signs of a bad starter and seek professional assistance as soon as possible.

Dimming Interior Lights:

It’s possible that a short circuit in the starter wire is causing the interior lights in your car to dim when you turn the key. As a result, the starter draws more current, resulting in less power for other systems of the car like the headlights and fans, which can lead to difficulties in the future.

A Whirring Sound:

Also, known as “freewheeling”, this happens when your starter isn’t working accurately. It is a distinct noise produced due to a worn-out starter. It sounds as if the freewheel is working separately and is unable to connect with the electric motor. 

Now that you know the signs of a bad starter, let’s get right into how to start your car with a bad starter.

how to start a car with a bad starter

How to Start a Car With a Bad Starter? 13 spectacular ways.

The starter in your car is an essential component. Every time you turn the key, it activates your vehicle. You’ll need to take it to a mechanic and have it repaired if it ever breaks down. Suppose, however, that the starter fails and the mechanic is not available.

Here, we’ll talk about 13 spectacular ways that will help you understand how to jump start your car with a bad starter.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Look For Improper Connection:

The connection must be examined before any other conclusion can be drawn. This is due to the fact that a loose starter-battery connection can be the primary cause of poor starting. A weak connection may not be able to supply enough power to start the vehicle. A ratchet can be used to tighten a slack connection.

The positive wire can be tested by touching it whether the connections are sufficiently tight. One end of this wire travels to the alternator and another to the starter; in fact, this wire splits into two. Check for a loose connection by shaking the wire leading to the starter. This helps to discover a loose connection between the starter and the battery.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Inspect The Engine Ground Connection:

The base cable that leads to the starter doesn’t originate from the battery itself. Rather, the wire arises from the transmission through the starter’s structure. However, the transmission acquires the ground from the wires that connect the transmission and the body of the car together. 

Any harm or damage to these wires could also lead to sluggish starting. Both of the wires ( including the engine and the transmission ground wires) must be faultless for the starters’ optimum performance. 

To get around the issue, connect a jumper cable to the battery’s negative terminal. If there was an issue with the ground, then this connection may be able to start your vehicle perfectly.

Examine the Solenoid Starter Cable:

A solenoid is a mechanism that enables the starter and transmission’s ring gear to engage simultaneously. It is possible, however, for the starter to alter the outcome of the round. If you find that your starter spins freely when you crank it, the solenoid is most likely to blame for the issue. For now, focus on the tiniest wire leading to the starter and examine for dirt or rust on the connectors.

Bypassing the starter solenoid wire with a short wire and feeding 12V directly from the batteries to the solenoid connector may solve this issue. When you hear a click when you connect this wire, you’re ready to start your car’s engine.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Look For Battery Corrosion:

Corrosion is the greatest killer of electrical conductivity. To prevent corrosion, check the battery for any signs of acid buildup. Don’t worry, we already have a detailed blog on how to clean battery terminals with baking soda and with coke as well, do check them out as well. 

Corrosion on the solenoid connection, ground cable, and positive connecting cable should also be checked, in addition to battery terminals. Keep an eye out for any signs of rust or acid buildup.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Hit the Starter Gently:

One of the most commonly utilized methods to swiftly fix the starter is to lightly tap the starter with a tool. Just tap it 4 to 5 times with an iron instrument to remove any obstructions in the starter, and you’ll be good to go.

In addition, because old starters can have dead spots, which creates occasional problems when the starting fails, this approach is particularly useful. By causing the armature to spin sufficiently to start, hitting the starter may assist alleviate the problem.

Modern vehicles, with their transversal engines, may not be able to use this method. When compared to older cars’ longitudinal engines, these engines’ starter is positioned at the rear of the engine. It’s nearly tough to get a grasp on the starters.

In such a situation, look for an extended bar or a ratchet extension to hit the starter gently. Keep in mind that this is only a short-term fix. For the time being, you can use this approach to revive your starter. It might go wrong at any time. For this reason, having a professional inspect the starter will save you money in the long run.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Jumpstart the Car:

Jumpstarters are one of the super handy tools, but can you jump start a car with a bad starter? Jumpstarting may get your car back on the road but it will be for time being. You need to learn how to start a car with a bad starter automatic. 

Try to jump-start the vehicle if the other procedures didn’t work. Jumper cables and a fully charged spare battery are all you’ll need. Using a jumper cable, connect the positive terminal of the spare battery to the positive terminal of the vehicle battery without disconnecting the battery. For the negative terminal, do the same. The old battery in your car has to be charged up, so turn the key and let it run for a few minutes.

Jump-start may mitigate the problem by supplying the starter with a powerful surge of current. This added surge can help the armature overcome a dead spot allowing it to spin faster and start. 

Does a defective starter make it impossible to start a car in an area when no one else is around? To put it another way, you are powerless to fix the problem even if you know how to start a car with a bad starter automatic that has failed. Keep a portable jump starter in your trunk at all times to avoid this kind of catastrophe. It’s a blessing to have a portable, rechargeable, and life-saving device like this on hand at all times.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Adjust the Transmission:

How to start a car with a bad starter automatic? In the case of an automatic car, people usually start the car in “park” gear. But if it didn’t start, try starting the car in “neutral” gear. If it starts, there may be a technical glitch such as a faulty neutral safety switch, that prevents the car from starting in the “park”. 

Push-Start the Car:

How to start your car with a bad starter? The most common suggestion would be to push-start a car. If you have a manual car then this is the most productive traditional way to get your car back on the road. This method works efficiently even if the battery is flat or the starter is bad.

It’s best to have someone else push the car while you stay in the vehicle. Put the vehicle in first or second gear and depress the clutch to start the engine. As soon as your vehicle reaches a speed of 5 to 10 mph, release the clutch. When the engine is running at a higher speed, it will be easier to get the car started. Until you get your car started, repeat the process.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Inspect the Flywheel of the Car Engine:

You should check the flywheel, which may be causing the car to not start. With a flywheel, the engine and transmission are connected via a large wheel. When trying to start the engine, the starter is connected to the flywheel.

Using a ratchet or a breaker bar, turn the crankshaft pulley’s center bolt to rotate the crankshaft. On the engine’s bottom, you’ll find this pulley.

The alternator, steering pump, and other automobile components are all powered by this pulley’s rotation. The middle bolt of the pulley may require removing the wheel, depending on your vehicle.

Make a note of any missing or broken teeth as soon as the flywheel begins to turn on its own. It’s impossible to crank the engine if you discover any signs of a flywheel problem.

Test Run the Starter Motor:

Make all of the necessary repairs to the starter motor after it has been inspected. Once the adjustments have been made, you should take the starter to an auto repair shop for a test run. The majority of the time, you will receive a complimentary service. You can tell if the starter motor is old by looking for certain characteristics.

Sluggish or no cranking, odd noises, an aged shaft, worn brushes, and an armature are all symptoms of these flaws. The test will reveal the starting motor’s general condition so that you can determine if it needs to be replaced or not.

That’s why the test run is necessary as it will expose the current state of the starter motor to know if it requires replacement.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Bypass the Relay:

Bypassing the relay is an old yet common method that has shown to be successful time and time again. This method is typically used on older vehicles, but it can also be used on newer vehicles that have a starter that can be reached with a screwdriver. A screwdriver is all you need to make an electrical connection.

Sending a 12V to the solenoid coil is what we’ll be doing. In order to bypass the relay switch and directly supply the solenoid with 12V, use a screwdriver to connect both the solenoid and the starter positive terminal.

This will close the starting system circuit’s loop and the sudden power will be sufficient to start your car. Using this method now you know how to start your car with a bad starter using a screwdriver.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Check the Battery Voltage:

Use a voltmeter to measure the voltage of your car battery. This is to make sure your car battery has enough voltage to get the starter to run.

Set higher voltage on voltmeter than that of the battery to check its voltage. Connect the voltmeter to the terminals of the battery and turn on the headlights and record the reading on the voltmeter. 

You can start your car if the voltmeter produces a reading of 12.4V – 12.6V, which indicates that your battery has enough power. Before attempting to start the car, if the readings are less than the recommended range, make sure the battery is fully charged.

how to start a car with a bad starter

Check the Starter Fuse:

It’s the most basic step to check the starter fuse for a blown one. Remove the negative battery terminal first, then look for the fuse box, which is often found on the driver’s side of the dashboard. If you can’t find the fuse box, check the owner’s manual, as some cars have a fuse box in the engine compartment near the battery.

Once found, look for a starter fuse labeled as “IG”, and consult the owner manual in case of any difficulty. Remove the fuse and visually inspect it for the signs of a metal link inside. In case the link is broken, replace the fuse with one having the same amp rating. 

These are the 13 spectacular ways using which you know how to start your car with a bad starter. Just keep trying one after the other, one among them will definitely work for you.

Let’s have a look at the FAQs related to how to start your car with a bad starter.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can You Jump Start a Car With a Bad Starter?

A: Yes! Having a fully charged spare battery and a set of jumper cables will suffice in the event of an emergency. The first step is to connect the positive and negative terminals of both batteries. The old battery in your car has to be charged up, so turn the key and let it run for a few minutes. You’ll be able to start the car with a little extra juice.

Q: How to Start a Car With a Bad Starter Automatic?

A: Many people believe that these techniques won’t work in automatic vehicles. Truthfully, no matter how the transmission is handled, these methods function just as well as the others. Push-starting the car is the lone option that isn’t an option due to the fact that you don’t have control over the gear shift.

Q: What are the Signs of a Bad Starter?

A: Though there can be various signs, the most common of them are:

  • Car not starting even with a fully charged battery
  • Slow starting speed
  • An oil-soaked starter
  • Strange clicking sound
  • Smoke coming out of the car
  • Dimming interior lights
  • A whirring sound.

Q: How to Start Your Car With a Bad Starter Using a Screwdriver?

A: A relay can be bypassed in this manner. You’ll need a screwdriver to connect the positive terminal of the starting to the solenoid. As a result of this action, the solenoid will receive a direct 12V supply. The quick surge of electricity will allow you to start your car after the loop in the starting system circuit is closed.

how to start a car with a bad starter


A car’s starter is a critical component. An inoperable starter is the root of all vehicle problems. An enormous issue can arise from this situation. Whatever the reason, you should read this post if you have a poor starter and want to fix it.

The 13 ways given above would go a long way to help you on how to start a car with a bad starter. 

Remember, all these ways will get your car back on road temporarily. The better approach would be to get the starter system checked by a professional. Make sure to take action as soon as you notice any of the mentioned signs of a bad starter.

We hope that you’ve found this information to be helpful and that you are able to use it to your advantage. If you did so kindly tell us in the comment section.

Thank You.