When the starter turns poorly in a car, the battery almost always acts as the first “suspect”. However, a discharged battery only in 9 cases out of 10 is really to blame. Many people were convinced of this in practice, recharging a battery that had run down overnight, and not getting a vigorous start of the engine as a result. In addition, a poorly torqued starter can jam along the way, make grinding sounds, squeak, and crack. Whoever has an on-board voltmeter, in such situations, observes wild voltage drops or, even worse, complete periodic attenuation of devices.
Why the starter turns hard: 10 possible reasons
In order to immediately cover, so to speak, the extent of the problem in its entirety, we briefly list all the most common reasons due to which the starter can turn the car engine poorly at start-up. It is quite possible that after looking at the presented list, many will understand what is the matter and immediately begin to repair.
The list looks like this:
- A dead battery or a weakly charged battery.
- Insufficient starting current due to battery wear.
- Oxidation or poor contact on the "positive" power line of the starter.
- There is no high-quality "mass" of the engine.
- Broken slip bushings.
- Faulty brush assembly or commutator.
- Corrosion, contamination or freezing of the "insides" of the starter.
- Burnout of the power windings of the armature.
- Loose or loose stator magnets.
- "Tight" motor.
If it is clear what to do next, knowing the listed reasons, proceed with the repair. For those who do not understand all the points, below is a detailed analysis of each of them. Including, for all reasons, you will find answers to two main questions: how does this affect the operation of the starter, and how to fix it.
As practice shows, if the starter is in perfect condition, then even with a heavily discharged battery, it may well work well. Let it be a little sluggish or tight. But without jerks, stops and extraneous sounds. However, this happens only when the car is relatively new, or the starter is regularly looked after - cleaned, lubricated, and worn parts are changed.
If the car is not new for a long time, and even deprived in terms of care, for various reasons, more and more power is required to scroll the starter. And since he takes it from the battery, it is quite clear that in a discharged state, the engine starts harder and harder. As a rule, if the reason is only in the battery, then charging it for at least half an hour temporarily eliminates the problem.
The second point is insufficient starting current. The fact is that the starter is the most powerful consumer of electricity in the car. The current strength that is needed for its normal operation exceeds 100 amperes (more than a kilowatt of power). And if the battery has already worn out, then even in a fully charged state it cannot give such power. There are several reasons for this. The most common are sulfation of the plates, shedding of the active mass, a short circuit in one of the battery cells. For any of these reasons, the battery is not able to give the declared starting current, respectively, the starter does not turn the engine well. There is only one solution to this problem - buy a new battery.
Problems with power wires
Only one power wire goes directly to the starter. This is a "plus" connected directly to the corresponding battery terminal. It is easy to find, as it has the largest section, and on many machines, it is also a noticeable red color. It is through this very wire that the most significant current flows in the car. And if there is resistance in its path, then the starter will not be able to turn briskly.
How to look for this reason? First of all, it is necessary to ensure reliable electrical contact between the terminals of this power wire and the points to which it is connected. One of them is located near the battery, right on the power terminal (it also needs to be checked for oxides or salt deposits). The second point is on the starter, or rather, on the retractor. To ensure reliable contact, clean the terminals and pads from deposits and oxides with fine-grained sandpaper. Rigid abrasives should not be used, since after them furrows remain, on the contrary, increasing resistance.
The second power wire of the starter does not fit directly to it. The so-called "mass" or "minus" from the battery first goes to the engine. This is also always a thick wire, as short as possible, connected at one end to the negative terminal of the battery, and at the other to the metal of the engine. The problems in this area are exactly the same as described above. oxidation, pollution and so on.
When cleaning contacts, always pay attention to the condition of the wires themselves. Especially in those places where the terminals are pressed to them. At these points, often the power wires gradually break from vibrations. The cross section decreases, and the resistance, on the contrary, increases.
The rotor and starter drive shaft rotate on the bushings. All of them are pressed into the housing, and are nothing more than plain bearings. They are usually made of bronze alloy, due to which they serve for quite a long time and without fail. But only on condition that the starter is regularly looked after. If the bushings are operated “dry” for a long time, that is, without lubrication, they wear out quickly.
The first problem that arises in such cases is that the armature itself begins to rotate tightly. The power generated by the starter is not enough to overcome this resistance, and as a result, it turns poorly. If this is the reason, then a simple lubrication of the parts immediately noticeably improves the situation.
How to lubricate bushings is a topic that causes a lot of discussion among motorists. Someone prefers motor oil, and someone ordinary grease. However, as practice shows, the oil dries quickly, and after a few months the problem returns. But lubricants similar to graphite, on the contrary, continue to work for several years.
The second known issue with bushings is wear. It is very easy to define it. To do this, it is enough to shake the rotating parts of the starter during its disassembly. If there is noticeable play, then the bushings must be replaced. Often these parts are brought to such a state that the armature begins to reach the stator. As a result, in addition to the fact that the starter does not turn well when the battery is charged, it also makes extraneous sounds during operation.
The problem is solved only by replacing the bushings. You can find them either in the form of a repair kit for common starter models, or by selecting worn ones. Also, if there is an intelligent turner, the bushings can be machined individually.
Brush assembly and commutator failure
The brush assembly of most automotive starters is a metal frame in which four graphite brushes are fixed. There are several problems with them. Firstly, they wear out, that is, they wear out “to zero”. Secondly, the brushes often stick in their guides, as a result of which they do not reach the commutator. Accordingly, if obvious wear is visible, the assembly is completely changed to a new one. Sticky brushes can be tried to clean and lubricate a little.
The commutator is the part of the starter armature against which the brushes are pressed. Consists of a set of copper petals arranged in a circle. There are also several problems with the collector. The most common and serious is wear and tear. It is eliminated either by replacing the anchor, or by turning the turner. Also, the collector plates can be covered with a graphite coating from the brushes, which worsens the electrical contact. The problem is solved by cleaning the plates with, for example, alcohol or some special contact cleaner. Finally, it is worth checking if there is graphite dust between the plates. You can remove it from there with a sharp object, preferably not metal.
This includes dust, dirt, corrosion and ice. Corrosion is especially terrible, as it quickly spoils the starter parts, many of which are quite small. Ice is sometimes encountered in winter. It appears inside the hull due to moisture condensation, which freezes overnight, blocking the anchor and other moving parts.
All these problems are solved in the same way. You just need to carefully disassemble the starter, clean its parts, wash and dry everything thoroughly. Then, where there are rubbing and rotating parts - lubricate. Pay special attention to the rotor. There is a fairly small gap between it and the stator. When dirt or rust gets there (which is also held by the power of the magnets), the starter turns sluggishly and makes extraneous sounds.
Burnout or broken windings
This cause is quite rare, but if all else fails, it is worth checking the rotor windings. The easiest way is to take the part to a specialist. Although it is not so difficult to ring the windings with your own hands in order to identify a break or melting. The Internet is full of instructions on how to do this. In short, you need to measure the resistance by applying the multimeter probes to the adjacent petals of the collector. If the readings on some pairs of petals differ sharply, then there is a burnout of the winding. The break is calculated in the same way.
Loose or peeling magnets
The magnets are glued or fixed in metal holders along the starter housing around the armature. When they fall off or collapse, the starter turns badly or even wedges, making characteristic nasty sounds. If any of the magnets come off, it's easy to stick it back in place. The main thing is not to reverse the polarity. When the magnets are cracked or spilled out, they cannot be restored. Alternatively, you can try to find a similar starter from a used one. If not, then you will have to buy a whole new starter.
The engine is usually the last to be blamed. However, it is not uncommon for the starter to turn hard precisely because the motor has significant resistance to it. Perhaps something in it is worn out, wedged, frozen, stuck, and so on. After a major overhaul, by the way, until new parts get used, launches can also be difficult. Unfortunately, there is only one way to exclude this option - by installing a known-good starter and a normal battery.
For more information, see the article "Starter clicks, but does not turn the engine."
VIDEO: how to diagnose a bad starter
As can be seen from the foregoing, there are not so few reasons why the starter turns badly. It is not always a discharged or worn out battery. Often the starter begins to grieve due to bushing wear, clogging, corrosion, or more serious mechanical failures. Fortunately, most of the causes discussed are easily and inexpensively eliminated in a garage environment.