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 does not start

Hi! First, we will need to determine which no-start situation has occurred. If you turn the key and nothing happens, there is a fault in the starting/charging system. An engine that turns over but will not start, often has issues...

Trouble starting in the morning.

Trouble starting in the morning could be a sign of worn secondary ignition components; spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor. As for the shaking and jolting the first thing I would suspect would be motor/trans mounts that have torn and...

Car clicking when starting

Hi there. This sounds to me as like an issue in your anti-theft system. When your vehicle has its battery changed, the power is reset. This commonly triggers the anti-theft system which tell your computer to lock up. Have a...

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Speed Timing Sensor
Common signs include the transmission having difficulty shifting, Check Engine Light coming on, vehicle not starting, and loss of engine power.
What Are the Best Spark Plugs for Normal Use?
Spark Spark plugs are essential components of your ignition system. They’re responsible for supplying the spark that ignites fuel and starts the combustion process. However, not all spark plugs are created equal. You’ll find “normal” plugs on the market, but...
What Causes Spark Plugs to Wear Out?
Without operational spark plugs, your engine won’t run. If even just one plug were to fail, the change in functionality would...