Starter Motor Failure Symptoms & Solutions

Starter Motor Failure & Symptoms


Getting your car started seems as simple as turning the key, but it's a far more complicated process. There are multiple parts involved that are activated when you turn the key. Every part works in harmony to get the motor running. One of the most critical pieces of this puzzle is the starter. While the starter may not be the sole cause of a no-start problem, there are telling symptoms. Those symptoms are noise related and we detail them below.

Whirring Noise

The first noise is a whirring sound. The pinion gear (internal to the starter) is engineered to engage the flywheel. The flywheel then engages the engine. If the pinion gear does not actually connect with the flywheel, but it does continue to spin, you will hear a "whir" or "swish." When you hear the starter motor spinning on it's own, this can indicate solenoid failure.

Grinding Sound

Another sound you might hear is a grinding noise as you attempt to start your car. This is caused by worn or missing teeth on the flywheel or the pinion gear. If this is the problem, the two gears will not be able to properly work together to crank the engine. Another cause of a grinding noise could be that the bolts holding the starter motor in place have become loose.


A third noise example is a buzzing noise which can indicate there is electricity flowing to the starter motor. However, there is not enough power to make the starter actually work. This may be caused by a weak battery or poor connections in the electrical system connected to the starter. We would recommend cleaning the battery terminals if they appear dirty or corroded.

Loud Click

Finally, one of the easiest ways to determine starter trouble is if you hear a loud click, or a click, click, click when you turn the key. This is the sound of the starter actuating but not spinning. It usually means you need to replace the starter.

Next Steps

So, if you experience any starting trouble be sure to call your local auto repair mechanic to have the problem properly tested and the results analyzed. For starter repair in Lowell, AR for any make and model of car, truck or SUV get in touch with NWA Car Clinic. We offer complete auto repair for all foreign and domestic cars, trucks and SUVs. Give us a call to request professional auto repair in Lowell today.


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