Nobody wants their car starter to go wrong – it will cause the whole engine to stop working. In fact, a bad starter is one of the most common problems that car owners have to deal with.
So, what should you do if you run into this unlucky issue? You can call for a tow truck, but you have to wait for them to come and pay some expense while you can fix your problem on your own.
We are here to help you with how to start a car with a bad starter. At least, it will help you to get to a mechanic shop without the need for a tow.
How to start a car with a bad starter
Check The Connections
Check the electricity first when you deal with this problem. Loose wire connection between the starter and the battery can block the starter from receiving sufficient current from the battery to operate.
You can use a rachet to tighten the battery terminal connectors. If they are tight, try to follow the positive wire and shake it to check whether there is a loose connection.
Another information for you! The positive wire from the battery is divided into two. One goes to the alternator, and another to the starter.
If there is no problem, you can use a large jumper cable to bypass the positive wire from the battery to the starter and turn the key on.
Check the corrosion
Corrosion is a common reason behind the bad electrical conductivity. You just need to clean out the corrosion or acid deposits.
The first thing to do is disconnecting the battery. Then, pour the water or vinegar and sodium bicarbonate mixture (50/50 ratio) over the battery terminals. Let it soak for some minutes and clean again with hot water.
Check for the corrosion at the other end of the wires is essential, too. In short, check that all the engine and tranny ground connections have no rust, acid, or dirt.
Hit the starter
But do not break it! Tap the starter four or five times with a hammer – this old trick can be useful because it shocks the starter into motion.
Maybe you do not know – old starters can create dead spots between the armature and field coils, causing occasional problems when the starter stops on a dead spot. That is why hitting the starter can solve this problem by making the armature spin to start.
But if your car, as well as most modern cars, has transversal engines, it is terrible for you – this trick does not work because these engines are too far from your reach.
One trick is to use a ratchet extension bar to reach between the intake channels and hit the starter. But that way is not always successful.
Jump-Start The Car
If your battery is still working well, it can give the starter sufficient current to power the car. But if it is not in good condition, you can transmit a surge of current from another car or a larger battery to your starter. That is how you do a jump start.
Remember to turn off all electronic devices inside your car. Also, you need to ensure that neither of the car battery has signs of damage or leak.
The red and black cables go with the positive and negative terminals, respectively. And try to keep the connection between the cars continuous, and your vehicle will be ready within some minutes.
Do not do it wrong! Otherwise, both of the cars suffer from severe damages and you have to bear this expensive cost.
Bypass The Starter Relay
The starter relay is a circuit between the battery and the starter. You can use a screwdriver with cars where the starter is reachable.
Find a screwdriver that is big enough to touch both the positive and the solenoid terminal on the starter.
This will bypass your defective starter relay because the starter terminal is connected directly to the battery positive terminal. Then the adequate current will be sent to the solenoid and ignite the car at the same time.
Push Start The Car
If all the ways above do not work, you can try to push start your car. But remember to do this only if you have a manual car. Do not apply with an automatic car, or you will break it.
Here is how you do it. Turn on the key to the RUN position, then put the manual transmission in the first or second gear, and depress the clutch while someone else is pushing the vehicle until it reaches 5-10 mph or more. When that speed is reached, release the clutch quickly to make the engine rotate and get your car running. Do not let it stall until you arrive where you want (a mechanic shop is the best); you do not want to push start it again.
Go to a mechanic shop
It seems the last resource you can do. Handling this car stuff may be very dangerous if you do not have enough knowledge or you are not familiar with car maintenance.
So, if you have tried all your best effort in vain, call for a mechanic for help.
Do these tips work? Good for you. All these tips can work both on an automatic and manual car (except for push-starting, of course).
But remember that what we suggest is just temporary, for example, to help you reach somewhere you can fix it.
Your car cannot fix itself, and corrosion or dead spot issues will become a nightmare. You still need to get your car fixed and checked!
Thank you for reading. If you have any other maintenance or repair tips, we are willing to hear it.