Q: What Does a Starter Motor Do?

asked by on November 19, 2015

What does a starter motor do?

The starter motor is a 12 volt, permanent magnet DC motor that engages a small drive gear on the starter with a larger ring gear that is attached to the flexplate, or flywheel. The flexplate is bolted to the rear of the engine crankshaft. When the starter drive gear engages with the flexplate ring gear, the starter drive spins the crankshaft to allow the engine to start. If the ignition system and fuel system are in good working order, the engine should fire up immediately.

No-starts (engine not starting) are one of the most common issues for vehicles that are taken to a repair shop.The root cause of this issue could be virtually anything.

No-start causes include:

There are other potential causes than the ones I listed above. The PCM is likely the most expensive part, but is also the least likely cause. It is still a cause because I have replaced several in my career.

If your vehicle runs into any problems with its starter motor, contact a professional mechanic who can diagnose and fix your starting issue so you can get going once again.

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

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

Car won't start

Hi. This is a pretty common problem with you vehicle. After the engine is shut off, the fuel pump bleeds off pressure. Then, when you go to start the vehicle, extended cranking is required to build the pressure back up....

My bus is not starting.

It sounds like you may have a problem with your key. If the key is excessively worn it will not be able to unlock the ignition cylinder so you can turn the key. I would ask for help from one...

Starter clicking sound 1994 Chevrolet C1500

In most cases, a clicking sound coming from the starter is due to either the starter motor being damaged or the starter relay to the starter motor being damaged. This would support your suggestion that the starter is not getting...

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Electronic Ignition Pickup
If your car has an electronic distributor ignition system and the engine stalls or car does not start, you may have to replace the ignition pickup.
How Are High-Performance Ignition Systems Different from Standard Ones?
Once Once upon a time, there was only one type of ignition system. It used a distributor, points, a coil, and was subject to significant wear and tear. Then came the electronic ignition, which replaced the points with an electronic...
How Often Should Spark Plugs Be Replaced?
While your engine runs on gasoline, it also requires electricity. It’s needed to operate most of your accessories, but is also required to...