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Tasks of the starter motor

The starter motor is one of the most important components of the starting system. In order for the engine to run independently, it first needs a little kick. This starting support comes from the starter motor.

Its service life is designed to match that of the engine.

To prevent premature wear, you should pay attention to the following: The starter should only be operated when the clutch is disengaged and the engine is at a standstill. In addition, you should not overuse the starter: that is, if the engine is in gear, release the key immediately. Nevertheless, it can of course break down.

Is it possible to start a car without a starter?

In order to get a car running, the battery and the starter motor must work together. However, if one of the two parts has a hiccup or is simply broken, the car cannot start.

If the starter only makes a clicking sound or nothing happens when you turn the ignition key, this often indicates a defective part.

In most cases, a defective starter motor is already apparent beforehand. As a rule, it is not one of those vehicle parts that give up the ghost out of the blue. Rather, normal wear and tear make itself felt at some point. But does this automatically mean that the car now has to be towed away? Isn’t there perhaps a way to start the car without a starter?

The following guide provides you with tips and tricks that you can use if you need to start your car without a starter and explains everything about the necessary requirements.

Starting a car: without a starter motor, but with muscle power

First of all, you should be sure that the defective starter motor is the reason why your motor vehicle cannot be started. After all, if it is due to the discharged car battery, for example, the problem could also be solved by a jumper cable. If the starter motor is really broken, this option is eliminated.

However, it is possible to start the car without a starter by pushing it. To do this, you will need two to four people, depending on the weight of the car, and you can proceed as follows:

  • Get behind the wheel and depress the clutch.
  • Put the car in second gear and turn the ignition key.
  • Now your helpers should slowly push the car. If you’re parked on a slope, you can also try just letting your vehicle roll.
  • Let the clutch come quickly and immediately give it a little gas.
  • As soon as the engine has started, you can drive on normally.

By using the second gear, the start usually goes without jerking. Keep in mind that this way you can start the car without the starter, but as soon as the engine starts running again, you should visit a workshop. There, the broken part can be replaced.

Caution: You can’t start every car without a starter

Depending on what model of car it is, if the starter motor is broken, you have no choice but to call roadside assistance. Either the starter won’t work or you will damage the car permanently.

Therefore, the following conditions should be met if you want to start your car without a starter:

  • The motor vehicle should have a manual transmission.
  • There should be no catalytic converter.
  • The vehicle should be a gasoline engine.

With an automatic transmission, the effort is wasted, since a connection between the engine and the wheels can only be made when the engine is running. On a vehicle with a catalytic converter, unburned gasoline could find its way into the catalytic converter, causing long-term damage. You can only start a diesel without a starter if the battery still supplies enough current to heat up the glow plugs.

Symptoms of a broken starter

There are two signs that will show you very clearly that your starter motor is broken:

  • Starter motor spins: If nothing happens when you turn the ignition key, this is the first sign that the starter motor is broken. The starter responds, but without producing any effect. That’s why the engine stays off.
  • Starter only clacks: Do you only hear a clicking noise when trying to start the car? Then you can also assume that the starter motor is broken. The starter motor only makes a clicking noise because the pinion moves forward. However, the engine is not started.

Causes for a broken starter

A defect in the starter motor can have many different reasons. We have compiled some of them for you:

  • The magnetic switch hangs and therefore does not switch the main contacts.
  • The main contacts of the magnetic switch are broken.
  • The electric motor of the starter is defective.
  • The freewheel does not work.
  • The pinion of the starter is worn out and does not grip anymore.

If there is a defect, the starter motor must be repaired so that the car can start properly again. It is helpful if you give your car a little push or let it go down a slight dip. The movement often helps to get the engine to start after all. Then you should drive to the nearest workshop as quickly as possible or change your starter yourself.

How Does A Starter Going Bad Sound? - Video


How can I start my car despite a defective starter?

The starter motor is used to supply energy to the engine so that it starts. You can also generate this energy through movement by pushing your car.

Can any car with a broken starter be started this way?

No. This method does not work for vehicles with automatic transmissions or diesel engines. The only option here is to call the breakdown service and have the car towed to a workshop.

How can you start a car without a starter?

If the starter motor is broken, you can start your car by pushing it, for example.

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

Hey, I’m David. I’ve worked in a cars store for 6 years. I write reviews and guides, helping people to choose the most suitable technicals and best product for them. I’m happy to finally share my knowledge of the industry here, on CarnesMechanical.

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