How Does a Car Starter Work

How does a car starter work? This simple mechanism has an extremely important job. Without it, cars and vehicles would not be able to run at all.

The History of the Car Starter

In the past, engines were started through the use of a hand crank. This was obviously a tedious and tiring method, but it was also extremely dangerous. This situation only became worse when newer engines became larger and therefore more difficult to crank.

In the early 1900s, the self-starter was born. By the 1920s, almost every vehicle had one, and hand-cranking became a thing of the past.

The Electric Starter

The electric starter is the most common starter in cars today. It's a solenoid switch mounted on an electric motor and operates using electric currents.

The starter solenoid receives two electric currents: a large one from the car battery and a small one from the ignition switch.  The current sent from the ignition switch causes the solenoid to close two heavy contacts. This transmits the large current to the starter motor and starts the engine.

The starter solenoid is located under the hood of the car. It can easily be found by following the red wire from the battery (the positive cable). The solenoid has a second cable, which is attached to the starter, and a third, coming in from the starter switch.

Keyless Starters

Technology certainly has come far in the last 100 years. Today's newest upgrade to the starter is a keyless remote starter. The keyless starter allows the driver to simply point and click a button at the car, and the engine will automatically start. What was once a convenient amenity has become a necessity for those always on the go.

If you have problems with your starter, replace it with a new starter yourself or bring it into a mechanic to look at. It's important to fix the starter as soon as possible, or your car will no longer start.

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Common symptoms of a bad starter should be attended to without delay. A bad starter might mean that your car won't even turn on, let alone drive anywhere safely.

If you turn the key of your car and nothing happens, you can easily troubleshoot the issue by diagnosing starter problems.

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Knowing how to replace a starter can save you a lot of time, stress and money. 

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Read articles about starter problems, the symptoms of a bad starter and how to replace a starter.

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