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

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.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. 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

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I have no power at all. No dome light, no radio, nothing. I have replaced the alternator battery and starter and checked all fuses

I suspect your problem is in the power distribution box or in the connections going to it. Chrysler has a fancy name for it, they call it a TIPM for Totally Integrated Power Module. These modules have a lot of...

Q: Key turns in the ignition but car won't start

The remote may need the battery replaced. Try another good remote, or change the batteries in the remote. If this does not work, then you may have to get the antitheft system tested using the dealer's scanner. This will test,...

Q: Shifter won't move - stays stuck on park.What could be wrong with it? 2004 Dodge Durango

Hi - having changed the brake light switch (most common source of this problem) and confirmed that brake lights are now working (if not, check brake light wiring - switch does more than brake lights), the shift interlock solenoid is...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...