Starter motor not working

Tiny
PAUL FAIRFIELD
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 TOYOTA COROLLA
  • 1.8L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 257,000 MILES
Normally, when I turn the ignition key, it cranks instantly. Lately, when I turn the key, it hesitates a few seconds then cranks.

During the time I have the key turned without crank, everything else seems appropriate, radio turns off brake light on dash illuminates. I try turning the steering wheel, moving the shifter, hitting the brakes, with no change. But when it does crank, it starts with no problem.

I sit in my car, turning the key, sometimes it takes two or three seconds, and sometimes only has a half second of delay. Nothing consistent.

What might cause this? I am worried that it will only get worse.

Thanks for any helpful information.
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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 AT 10:34 AM

1 Reply

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yes, it will gradually get worse, but your description of the symptom is different than what is normally observed. Most people release the ignition switch when the starter does not spin the engine, then try again multiple times before it cranks. This is an extremely common problem on any car that uses the little silver Nippendenso starters.

The solenoid contacts inside the starter solenoid are worn. Most people just replace the starter motor, but there are repair kits available for this. The kits include four contacts, but you only use the two that match what you're replacing. All solenoids use the same "battery" terminal. It is the smallest one. Of the other three, you use the one that matches your old one.

These kits can be found in hardware stores, farm and home stores, auto parts stores, or you can buy just the contacts from a starter rebuilder shop. All larger cities have at least one.

The kits also include the plunger with its contact disc. Those can often be reused since they do not wear very much, but there are three versions of those. There are two lengths for Chrysler products. They go by the year of manufacture. The problem is all the different years interchange, so if your starter has ever been replaced before, you don't know which plunger you have until you compare the old one to the new ones.

You have it easier with a Toyota. There was only one plunger length used, but it is not available in the inexpensive repair kits. You have to get a replacement from the dealer. The cost is very high, so most people just buy a Chrysler kit and reuse their old plunger.
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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 AT 2:25 PM

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