What Causes A Starter To Burn Out? 6 Secrets Must Know

If you’ve ever had your car break down on the side of the road, you know how frustrating it can be. The most common cause for this is a faulty motor.

But what causes a starter to burn out? Or “Can a starter go out while driving?”. Many things could go wrong with your engine system and cause it to fail. It’s important to have an idea of what might have happened.

Therefore, you can quickly figure out if it needs replacement or just some minor fixes before heading off on your next adventure in driving!

Scroll down to read more about the most common factors why starters will burn up!

What Causes A Starter To Burn Out?

Here are the most common reasons to help you answer the question “why do car starters go bad?”.

What Causes A Starter To Burn Out
Car Starter

Ignition Switch

We will mention the first factor to answer the question, What causes a starter to overheat?” is that ignition switch.

First and foremost, we know that an ignition switch is one of the essential vehicle parts that activates a solenoid, which shuts a circuit to power the starting. Therefore, it might be the most common cause of a starter (engine) malfunction.

To be more specific, the automobile engine is activated when you turn the ignition key. A cylinder might become lodged within the igniting system. If this occurs, the motor will not disconnect once the engine runs normally. And, it is not meant to remain engaged after the engine starts. Therefore, the car engine will burn out.


Another factor to cause your starter motor burn out is that of a solenoid which is connected to the engine in some vehicles. A solenoid lever is specifically coupled to the clutch and pinion assembly of the engine.

If the solenoid switch stays active, the clutch and pinion assembly will continue to draw on the engine, causing it to wear out or even burn out the car.


In combustion engineering, a starter is one of the important artificial objects that use rotating machines to crank an internal combustion engine so that it may start running on its own power.

Furthermore, the motor is connected to the battery when the ignition key is switched on. Short wiring connecting these components may allow the engine to draw a current from the battery even when the ignition is turned off. The engine is worn out because it isn’t meant to be continually operated.

A poorly charged battery can also cause burnout because the motor will operate on a lower-than-optimal charge, putting the starter’s components under stress.

User Error

In addition to what causes a starter to fail, we can’t ignore user error. This factor can contribute to a motor going out. In particular, a motor should only engage when turning the flywheel and cranking the engine.

If a driver cranks the key in the ignition for an extended amount of time, the motor is compelled to keep operating. While doing propulsion once or twice will not damage the engine technology, doing so repeatedly may.


Although rare, some starters have manufacturing defects that cause them to fail. Defects might range from poor connections to damaged components inside the starting motor itself.

Suppose your motor is rebuilt but still burns out after a few days. Plus, no one has altered the way the car is started. You could conclude that the burnout was caused by a manufacturing mistake rather than an ignition, wiring, or solenoid problem.

Other Reasons

Some common causes for these issues are a worn-out battery and corroded electrical connections, leading to corrosion in the wires themselves and overheating due to poor insulation.

Furthermore, a dirty motor contains corrosion of dirt, grime, and metal components. Dirt and filth get into it, causing component burnout and damage to the systems engineering.

In addition to corrosion, dirt and dust can restrict the electrical supply from the battery to the starting motor. The engine is strained due to the little voltage it gets. Due to the system pressure being incorrect, inappropriate starting fluid levels create strain on the motor.

What Are Symptoms of a Car Starter Problem?

Why would a starter go bad? There are a few symptoms of a burnt out starter motor you can look for to help diagnose the issue.

starting system

Grinding Noise

Gas Pedal

When a car doesn’t start, the first thing people notice is a terrible grinding sound emanating from beneath the hood, followed by nothing occurring when they press down on the gas pedal or turn their key in the ignition switch.

This can be caused by a host of difficulties ranging from broken spark plugs or poor wiring connections between dashboard controls and other starter components such as fuel sensors or relays.


Car flywheel

The sign of the starter failing is freewheeling. It’s easy to diagnose that symptom. The engine will make a whining noise when you crank it, but it will not start.

This means it isn’t making contact with the flywheel. This is a serious situation that may need the component’s complete replacement. If this phenomenon happens, have your automobile fixed right away.

Intermittent Issues Starting The Vehicle

starter key
starter key

To respond to the frequently asked question, “Why does my starter keep going out?”. We will suggest another factor to explain why your car keeps burning up starters is that intermittent issue starting the car.

If you try to start your car and the engine does not instantly start, try again, and then it works well. You most likely have a starting relay problem.

The starting relay either sends full electrical current to the starter or doesn’t send any at all. It’s a true-or-false function. When you turn the key in the ignition, a faulty relay may cause the engine to click.


car headlight
Car headlight

The next symptom of a bad engine is that headlight problem. In detail, dimmer headlights before trying to start the motor signal a broken battery, even if the starter is working.

When the lights are completely lighted but dim when the motorist spins the ignition key, the starter is frequently the root of the problem.

When the alternator is used to power the car, the power available for the lights is reduced. The engine is unable to start even with a boost.


car battery

Although you may have lights on your dashboard and functional headlights, the engine isn’t turning over. This might be an issue with your battery because turning your car uses a lot of power.

Let’s try to proceed with a simple step or a motor kit. If it starts, the problem is most likely due to a faulty battery.


Smoke from a car

The easier sign of a failed motor to recognize is smoke, which comes from beneath the hood might potentially suggest a defective starter.

The starter is both hardware (mechanical) and electric battery operated. When you keep trying to crank up your car, you risk overheating the system when it won’t start. You’ll see or smell smoke from beneath the engine if it overheats due to a continuous electrical engineering supply.


Car engine is too hot

A defective motor might generate overheating of the battery connections or cables in transportation engineering. Like the dim headlight symptom, the alternator attempts to transmit too much power to the starter. When working with battery connections, you should always use caution.

How To Troubleshoot Starter Problems? 

starter keeps going bad
Checking car starter
  • Inspect the underside of the hood: Check the battery and its wiring to confirm that they are in good operating order. It’s simply because your car’s problems might be caused by a lower or dead battery or faulty battery connections. Doing this, you might worry that your starter keeps going bad.
  • Tap the starter: Gently tap the beginning a few times with an engine, but don’t pound it. This lightly tapping may help it restart in some cases. This is because you’ll be re-connecting the electrical components.
  • Change the transmission settings: Assume your vehicle technology of automatic transmission is set to “park,” but it still won’t start. If this is the case, let’s try to begin the motor in a “neutral” state. 

If your starter keeps going out and becomes extremely bad, you should immediately take it to a store for a new hardlines (retail) product and request that it be repaired or replaced as needed.

Final Verdict

So, what causes a starter to burn out? After reading our post, we bet you have certainly had enough information, right? 

To sum up, the reasons for what causes a starter to overheat are typical of the ignition system, solenoid, user mistake, etc. Furthermore, you might have well-information about the indicators of a bad engine and how to fix them. We hope this post is helpful for you to deal with the same issue.

Thank you for visiting our page, and see you soon in the next blog!

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