Auto Repair Palo Alto - The Car Doctor

Hard Starting: Does my car need a new starter motor?

A vehicle's starting system is quite complex. While there are several key components of the system there is one that stands out, simply because it is named the starter. This is an electrically driven motor that connects with and spins the flywheel to begin the motion of the pistons in order to create the necessary compression to start the car. If the starter were to fail you would not be able to get moving as the engine couldn't start. These are a few of the signs you may experience if the starter needs to be replaced.

Loud clicking

Often times the first sign of starter trouble will be a loud click or series of clicks that occurs when the key is turned. This is the sound of the starter motor actuating but not spinning. It may or may not be properly connecting with the flywheel.

Grinding noises

Grinding noises that occur while trying to start your car could be attributed to the starter motor. There are two reasons they may occur. The first would be that the mounting bolts have come loose, causing there to be poor alignment of the pinion gear and flywheel. Secondly, one of these gears may have lost a tooth or teeth, resulting in the grinding noise.


If all you hear is a buzzing noise when you try to start your vehicle you're likely listening to the sound of electricity traveling to the starter motor but not enough to get it to start. This is often the result of poor electrical connections and may not be a starter motor issue.

Intermittent engine cranking

Another problem you may have if the starter motor is going out is intermittent engine cranking. This means that the car may start to crank then stop, requiring you to turn the key in the ignition again.

Other issues that can prevent no starts

There are several other things to be aware of that could prevent your vehicle from starting.

  • Dead battery - If the battery is dead your vehicle will display no signs of life when the key is turned.
  • Bad alternator - The alternator is what charges the battery when the engine is on. IF it is going out you'll likely experience other electrical issues, such as dim headlights.
  • Fuel delivery - If your vehicle is not getting fuel to the engine when trying to start the motor will crank over and over without firing.

The best way to determine what is preventing your car from starting is with proper diagnostics. If you believe that you need starter repair in Palo Alto, or think it may be another issue, just head to The Car Doctor and let the expert technicians get to the bottom of the trouble. Our full service Palo Alto auto repair shop can handle any job! Give us a call today at (650) 492-6853 to make an appointment and don't forget to check out latest special offers for great discounts.

The Car Doctor Blog

Written and Published By MORBiZ

It's Road Trip Season! Complete these Maintenance Tasks before Your Adventure
Basic Ways to Reduce the Risk of Major Engine Trouble
Top Benefits of Always Keeping Up with Oil Changes
Easy Ways to Keep More Gas Money in Your Pocket
Basic Maintenance Tasks to Reduce the Risk of Major Engine Trouble
Common Causes of No-Start We Can Fix at Our Palo Alto Auto Shop
Signs of Alternator Trouble that Mean You Should Visit Our Palo Alto Auto Shop
Signs of Engine Trouble that You Need to Know
Must-Know Signs of a Suspension Problem
Is there a problem with my car's cooling system?
What are common check engine light triggers?
Going on a road trip? Complete these maintenance tasks before you leave
Experienced Mechanic in Palo Alto, CA
Brake Failure: 7 Warning Signs
Why Is It Important to Always Follow Your Oil Change Schedule?
8 Easy Ways to Improve Fuel-Efficiency
How Come My Car Won't Start? Here Are 6 Possibilities
Top 7 Signs of Alternator Trouble
Common Signs of Serious Engine Trouble
Bad Driving Habits that Can Destroy Your Transmission
When to Suspect a Suspension Problem
Important Benefits of a Coolant Flush
7 Reasons the Check Engine Light Illuminates
Always Keep Current with these 6 Important Auto Maintenance Tasks
6 Warning Signs of Cooling System Failure
Recognizing Brake Trouble
6 Symptoms of a Transmission Problem
Expert Auto Repair in Palo Alto, CA
Stay Up to Date on these 6 Important Fluid Flushes
7 Ways to Boost MPGs
6 Signs that You Could Need Alternator Replacement
6 Problems that Can Prevent a Car from Starting
Top Signs of Suspension Trouble
Why is the Check Engine Light On?
Does This Mean it is Time for Auto Repair?
Great Traits of a Professional Auto Repair Shop in Palo Alto
The Sounds of Car Trouble
Top Signs of Big Trouble Under the Hood
The Best Ways to Maintain a Safe Car
Why does my vehicle need oil changes every 3,000 miles?
Is it Time for a Tune Up?
The Importance of Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
Is Your Car Up to Date with These Auto Maintenance Services?
Is it Time for Drive Belt Replacement?
What is Cooling System Service?
What Triggers the Check Engine Light?
Schedule Brake Repair as Part of Routine Auto Maintenance
Why Does My Car Need Scheduled Auto Maintenance?
Restore MPGs with Routine Auto Maintenance
Top Qualities of a Dealership Alternative
Could Your Vehicle Benefit from a Wheel Alignment
How to Tell if it is Time for Transmission Service
Is Time for Major Engine Repair?
What is a Fluid Flush?
Keeping Up with Scheduled Auto Services
What is Factory Auto Maintenance?
3 DIY Auto Maintenance Tips
Top 5 Reasons Your Car Won't Start
Creating of a Fleet Vehicle Preventative Maintenance Plan
Does this mean I need brake repair?
5 Times you Need to Visit an Auto Repair Shop
Are You Keeping Up with Oil Changes?
6 Tips for Raising Your Miles Per Gallon
Finding Top Notch Auto Repair Services
How do I know if I Need Suspension Repair?
Easy Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car
What is Scheduled Auto Maintenance?
How Important is Tire Pressure?
5 Signs of a Failing Ignition
3 Signs it is Time for Clutch Repair
Does my car need new tires? Here's how to tell!
What is Leaking from my Car?
The Major Benefits of Quality Replacement Auto Parts
Top 7 Auto Electric Problems
How can an Auto Repair Shop become a NAPA AutoCare Center?
5 Transmission Troubles that Require Repair
5 signs it's time to make an appointment for brake repair
What Causes a Car Battery to Die?
Hard Starting: Does my car need a new starter motor?
Does my Car need an Engine Rebuild?
Fuel Delivery Failure: Common Fuel System Repairs
How to find a great auto repair shop in Palo Alto
Common Reasons the AC isn't Cold
Pee-Yew! The Smells of Car Repair
Why do Vehicles have so Many Computers?
What Does Colored Exhaust Smoke Mean?
Does My Car Need an Alignment?
Bad Vibes: 3 Shakey Signs Your Car Needs Auto Repair
5 Signs of Alternator Failure
3 Symptoms of an Exhaust Leak
Why Does My Car Smell Funny?
Help! My Car Won't Start
3 Signs it's Time for Exhaust Repair
Why is My Car Loud?
4 Common Reasons the Check Engine Light Comes On
How to Save Gas and Money this Summer
Time For Brake Replacement? 6 Ways to Tell
6 Signs Your Car Needs Suspension Repair
Timing Belt Replacement
Understanding 30/60/90K Maintenance
4 Signs You Need Brake Service or Brake Repair
How Important are Regular Oil Changes?
Six Signs of Transmission Trouble
Preparing for Winter Driving