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The starter motor is a powerful, compact electric motor that will turn a car’s engine over at about 200 RPM in order to start the engine. The starter is at the terminus of a circuit that includes the battery, the ignition switch, a neutral safety switch, relays and fuses.
When you turn the ignition key to start, or press the start button in some vehicles, the starter circuit is completed and the starter will run. Most starters have a small pinion gear that engages a larger ring gear on the flywheel when the starter is powered on. The pinion gear turns the engine flywheel at about 200 RPM. Since the flywheel is directly connected to the crankshaft, all engine components will then turn in sync and the engine starts.
Starters are relatively durable but most will eventually fail in one or more of the following ways:
Once a vehicle engine is running, the starter is not in use. However, if you know that the starter is malfunctioning or working intermittently, you may be left stranded if you turn the engine off and the starter doesn’t function when restarting the engine. Should you know or suspect a problem with the starter, it is best to have the problem repaired to avoid being left stranded.
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