🏝️Special Summer Deals ☀️8% off Sitewide | CODE: SS8 ⛱️$20 off $200 | CODE: SS20 ⛱️$30 off $300 | CODE: SS30

What is a car starter?

What is a car starter?

The starter, as the name suggests, is a device that starts an engine, so it's important to know what it's for. Without it, your car won't start. Behind the scenes, the starter plays a vital role in getting the engine up and running. It's an essential part of the vehicle's operation. This article explains it all!

What is a starter?

The main purpose of a starter, when installed in a vehicle, is to initiate the engine's rotation. It consists of three main components: an electric motor, a solenoid, and a starter.

  • The electric motor is powered by the vehicle's battery, to which it is connected by a large cable. The electric motor consists mainly of a frame to which inductors are attached. It is also connected to the solenoid by a second, thinner cable.
  • The solenoid acts as an intermediary between the electric motor and the ignition key. It is the action of the latter that powers the motor. The solenoid consists of a core (cylindrical element) surrounded by two windings: the inrush winding and the holding winding. The former is connected to the inductors in the engine frame, while the latter is attached to the solenoid body. The starter is a power-hungry device that requires a battery in perfect condition.
  • The starter is the device that drives the flywheel. It consists of a freewheel, a toothed pinion that meshes with the flywheel, and a fork that drives the assembly.

Simply put, the starter converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to start the internal combustion engine. Once the engine is running, the alternator takes over, allowing the battery to be recharged, for example, by converting mechanical energy back into electrical energy.

Since the original electrical energy comes from the battery, a dead battery prevents the engine from starting.

Where's the starter?

Made up of two main parts - the solenoid, the smaller part, and the motor, the larger part - you'll find it under the hood of your vehicle, between the engine and the transmission. It is connected to the battery by wires.

The evolution of the starter

The definitive adoption of the electric starter by all car manufacturers dates back about 100 years. Before that, several mechanisms competed with varying degrees of success with motorists. From recoil starters to spring starters to air starters, there were many developments. But it wasn't until 1940 that cars were no longer started solely by cranking. This particularly time-consuming and laborious operation had long been a part of drivers' daily lives.

How the starter works

The starter works in several stages:

  1. The driver turns on the ignition. Pressing the starter button sends an electric current to the starter motor.
  2. This voltage feeds the dual solenoid coil. This creates an electromagnetic force that causes the cylindrical core to slide.
  3. As it moves, the solenoid core delivers current to the starter motor. At the same time, it actuates the starter fork.
  4. This acts on the toothed pinion to position it around the flywheel. The electric motor turns the pinion.
  5. The rotation of the pinion drives the rotation of the flywheel through a gearing effect. The flywheel in turn drives the crankshaft, which turns the vehicle's engine.
  6. The driver releases the ignition key. This action turns off the electric motor and disconnects the pinion from the flywheel.

Major Failures

Like all mechanical components installed in automobiles, the starter may experience operating difficulties. Among the most common are

  • Faulty contact zones on one of the electrical components result in poor electrical conductivity.
  • Solenoid clogging due to dust particles
  • Bad magnet or short circuit damage

Unless you are a highly skilled auto mechanic, it is recommended that you take your vehicle to a professional when a starter fails. He or she will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of the breakdown, provide an auto insurance quote, and then make the necessary repairs. When selling a used car, the fact that it has been systematically serviced by a garage and that the invoices are available can decide to buy easier.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

What are you looking for?

Your cart