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Guides to Jump Start a Car with Bad Starter 

 September 19, 2021

By  Phil Borges

You may have noticed that your car has been making a funny noise lately. You’re not alone! It turns out, we all get stuck at this point in the driver-life cycle and sometimes it feels like there is no solution to our problem but don't worry because here's a good article for you with some of the best troubleshooting tips on how to fix starter problems.


Can you jump start a car with a bad starter?

Your car's starter motor needs to be good for your engine to start. A bad starter won't even get the job done, but a jump-start can give your battery some juice! If you're driving around with an old ride that has lots of manual transmission parts and suffers from faulty starters, this means it may need more than just jumper cables - repairs might also be needed on its clutch or gearbox. However, if you have an auto transmission then don't worry about coming up empty-handed when trying to push or tow start because these cars are designed without clutches so they'll still work under pressure!

You’ve probably wondered how to tell if your starter motor is bad or if it's possible to start car with bad starter. Don't worry, it's a common concern! In this post, you'll learn the process for diagnosing whether or not other problems could be causing some of these symptoms and what components might help fix them.

Starter noise

Starter motors are tough workhorses, but the most likely cause of starter issues is a problem with battery or connections. Let's do a quick rundown on easy-to-fix components before checking out possible problems for starters.

Diagnoses

You will never know if your car requires service until you hear it. The noises that come from turning the key are click sound (repeated), click sound (single), and no sound at all.

Click sound that is repeated

If you think your battery is dead, give it a boost and see if that fixes the problem.

Say you’re driving along and your car suddenly stalls. No worries though - with some jumper cables all will soon be better. Put the jumper cables on and follow in sequence 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Car batteries can be difficult to replace if you don’t know what you're doing. If it's your battery, turn on the car and remove it from the engine bay without being shocked!

The order is important since two sides are being connected at once so make sure they're removed properly 4-1 as well or else risk not starting up again even after reconnecting everything back together nicely after they were separated during removal. 

Battery terminals that are loosed

It’s also possible that your battery terminals are loose or dirty. This causes repeated clicking noise so you should clean them. You may have to bend the metal tabs back and forth to get the cable off of it. This can be a frustrating process at times but with some work, you'll eventually get it removed from the terminal once it's clean.

To clean a dirty terminal, you’ll need three things: gloves and glasses to protect your skin from chemical acid corrosion; some baking soda mixed in water for cleaning purposes. When applying it onto the terminals with a wire brush, make sure not to pour too much because this could corrode them even more! Quickly apply petroleum jelly on top of that before they dry so future build-ups don't happen again.

Check the terminals for any signs of loose or damaged connections. Faulty ones can prevent power from flowing to your starter!

Ground straps

A ground strap is a metal wire that connects the negative side of the battery to an electrical system component, such as an engine block or chassis. This ensures all components are properly grounded and safe from electric currents. The important thing with these straps is checking for rust on them in good condition because loose or damaged grounds can cause start-up problems if they’re not fixed promptly.

Battery checked!

The battery is one of the most common causes of car problems. Luckily there are two tests that can tell whether or not your battery needs replacement: a voltage check and a crank test. First, you’ll need an automotive voltmeter to get readings from your vehicle's electrical system; then use these measurements to determine if you should replace the failing component!

Voltage test

Below are examples of readings that represent the state of charges of a battery while resting:

  • 100% - 12.7 – 13.2 volts
  • 75% - 12.4 volts
  • 50% - 12.2 volts
  • 25% - 12.0 volts
  • Flat/Discharged - 0 – 11.9 volts

Your car battery may be healthy but still have a crack, so you need to see if it has enough power. For that, you'll need the crank test.

Click Sound (Single)

For most people, the sound of a single click is closely associated with a faulty starter solenoid. But it's by no means conclusive and will still require to run some tests on the engine bay fuse box before saying for sure that it needs an alternator replacement or another fix entirely.

Starter test

First, it's important to place your car into park or neutral if you're driving a manual car with an e-brake on. Find the starter relay in your fuse box and remove it. The relay will have four terminals:

85 – Starter control ground

86 – Starter control power

30 – Battery power

87 – Solenoid feed

The relay is a type of electromechanical device that controls the solenoid circuit. To know how it works, use an electric probe for this kind of work and check out the Auto-Electrical Repair Tools page if would like more details about what tools are required for these types of repairs.

This handy little system is a great way to isolate the starter, solenoid, and main feed wire. If we don’t see any change with the test then it means that there might be something else wrong like a faulty starter or mechanical fault!

Starter Motor That Keeps Jamming

Rock back and forth to free up the starter motor. If you are driving a manual, use your wrench on the flywheel for cranking over an engine that is jammed from wear or improper maintenance.

Hydro-locked Engine

Hydro-locking is a common engine failure that occurs when the cylinder fills with fluid (which isn’t compressible). This prevents movement of the piston and locks up the crankshaft. Remove spark plugs to test this problem, which can be caused by car flooding in extreme weather conditions or failed head gasket.

Mechanical Fault

A mechanical fault is also a possibility. Many blockages inside the engine will stop it from running. Examples of major faults may include: Dropped valve; Seized camshaft; Seized crankshaft, Seized Piston, Broken timing chain, and broken timing belt as well.

No sound at all

You turn the key but there is no sound from your starter. This can be a sign that the starter circuit isn't engaging at all, find out with this simple test!

If the lights won't dim when you start the engine, there are a few things to check.

  • When the security light is on, it means that your car's transponder isn't being read by its receiver. If you have a spare key try using it; otherwise, suspect an issue with the ignition receiver.
  • Put your car in Neutral and try starting to bypass the Park lockout switch. If it works, suspect faulty PRNDL or wiring.
  • If you're experiencing problems with your engine, try checking the starter fuse to see if it needs replacing. You can find this in the engine bay fuse box and will be listed as a starter motor fuse.
  • Manual transmission cars fitted with clutch switch – Should be in place and secure. Try disconnecting it to see if that fixes your problem!

Tools used

A good repair manual will cover component location and operation, wiring diagrams and repairing procedures, troubleshooting section as well as fastener torque specs. These are seriously useful tools when it comes to finding the fault of a system.

Find out more on the Auto electrical repair tools page for tools use that are helpful in this kind of work. Examples are flashlights, wire strippers, test lights, and DVOM.

Related Questions

Is it possible to jumpstart a dead battery?

It is possible, but not all batteries can be because some dead batteries can be troublesome. The car has an onboard computer that won't let the vehicle start if it detects low steady voltage levels.

Is it possible to jumpstart a car with no battery at all?

Yes, it is possible to jumpstart a car with no battery at all. However, if you have no battery then you'll need to find an external power source for the coil and engine control module. Do this by using jumper cables connected to another vehicle that does have a startable battery!

Is it safe to jumpstart a car?

It depends on the condition of the battery in both cars. All batteries carry chemical and explosive risks and must be handled safely. Never attempt if there are health concerns or uneven surfaces due to injury risk. Always wear protective clothing such as gloves, eye protection, and head protection when handling batteries!

What should I expect after jumping my car off with another one?

When operating correctly after being jumped from another vehicle the engine should be able to start immediately. The engine should also run smoothly and offer improved power after jumpstarting compared to before.

We hope this article helped you diagnose whether your starter motor is bad and how to jump-start a car with a bad starter. If it did, please share this post so others can benefit too.

About the author

Hi, I'm Phil Borges.. thanks for reading.. My wife says I can't shut up about batteries so to save my marriage I've started this blog .. where I'd be ranting about batteries! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

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