Q: I believe I have an electrical issue. When I turn key the starter doesn't always spark and it takes a few tries but others it turn

asked by on January 27, 2017

Sometimes it takes 20 tries for the starter to turn, other times the vehicle starts instantly. 2 mechanics believe I need a new starter. However the car Always starts. Also when I open doors, the car lights flicker at times. This makes me believe it's an electrical issue and not the starter. We changed the radio a year ago and I wonder if this is the root of the issue. I have had starters go bad before and they eventually stop starting. But in this case the starter will fire up instantly and others it takes up to 20 key turn before any noise is heard and then the land cruiser starts. Please help me understand the problem

My car has 157000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The door lights and radio are on different circuits than the starting system and so faults there would not cause difficulty starting. The flickering of the lights is due to a loose connection somewhere in the circuit and can be diagnosed if you request an electrical component diagnostic. Starters can develop faults in the motor armature leading to intermittent operation (sometimes if you hit the starter with a rubber mallet and then try to start the engine it will work as the armature moves off of the bad spot). If there is no starter operation with the key held in the "start" position, the procedure is to test for power to the starter motor. If there is power (and no voltage drop), but no starter operation, then the starter motor/solenoid assembly is faulty. If there is no power, then the electrical circuit supplying the motor has a fault. That circuit begins at the battery and includes grounds, wiring (some of which is very heavy cabling), fuses, relays, the ignition switch and terminations. Basically, with the key held in the "start" position, the starter is either getting power or it isn’t. With the key in the "start" position, if the starter motor is getting power but it doesn’t work, the starter is condemned and replaced. On the other hand, with the key in the "start" position, if there is no power to the starter, then the circuit is traced until the fault in the circuit is found. In addition to a faulty ignition switch, faults can include high resistances, due to corrosion, wire strand breaks, or loose terminals, which can only be diagnosed using a voltage drop test. If you desire that a certified mechanic resolve this, please simply request a no start diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get the problem diagnosed and repaired for you. Please let us know if you have further concerns or questions as we are always here to help you.

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