How to start a car with a Bad Starter? Expert Methods

Most car owners and drivers fail to pay attention to the kick starter provided the car starts very fine until they try to start the car and get no response from the starter. Starters are what power the car to start by converting electrical energy to mechanical energy, and when they fail, you cannot start the car as they are what power the engine.

One thing about starters is that they are likely to fail when you have urgency, so it is imperative to know how to start a car with a bad starter. And this is exactly what we are going to explain in this article. It is not only how to start a car with a lousy starter, but the easiest ways to do so and how to start a car with a bad alternator.

How to start a car with a bad starter – The best methods

Having a bad starter does not mean you cannot attend that urgent meeting that you want to attend if you know what to do. The first thing is to figure out when you have a bad starter. If your car is not starting and you suspect a faulty starter, you should look out for these signs of a bad starter;

how to start a car with a dead battery

  • Vehicle not starting
  • Dimming interior lights
  • Clicking sounds
  • Smoke or burning smell
  • Freewheeling situation
  • Slower starting speed.

There are several ways you can start a car with a bad starter, but I have outlined the common and perhaps the most effective methods.

Method 1. Look out for and clean Battery corrosion

Corrosion might be the only reason your car refuses to start because it’s transmitting little or no electrical conductivity. Hence, you have to ensure the battery terminals are free from corrosion and acid deposits.

In case you find acid deposits or corrosion on the battery terminals, you want to soak it for a few minutes in a mixture of water and sodium bicarbonate. It is an effective means of cleaning battery connectors. Also, you want to check for corrosion on the starter positive solenoid connector as rust and corrosion can also bridge the electrical conductivity; you Can prevent the corrosion to use dielectric grease.

Method 2. Tap the starter

while this might sound odd to some motorists, tapping your starter motor with a hammer or any metal object will enable you to start your car. This is the most common method to start a car with a lousy starter. And this explains why most drivers and mechanics try out this method first.

As the starter works, it will start wearing out and develop some dead spots between the field coil and the amateur over time. So, hitting the starter will enable it to spin enough to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. However, this method may not work on modern cars where the starter is located in a hidden place.

Method 3. Jumpstart the car

how to start a car with a bad alternator

This method can also serve as a guide on how to start a car with a dead battery if you have a fully charged battery that is already transmitting enough current to the starter, jumpstarting it may look like a weird option, but trust me, it can work.

Supporting your battery with a bigger and more powerful 12 volts battery or a portable jump-starter can be what you need to start the vehicle. It can enable your car to withstand any dead spot on the starter, enabling it to spin faster and start. Even if it looks like a weird option, it won’t hurt you to try it out. It might save you from not attending that urgent meeting.

Method 4. Bypass the Relay

This is another very common option amongst mechanics that most drivers are adopting because of its effectiveness. It will be the best option if the problem has to do with a faulty starter relay, but you don’t have to give it much consideration for other starter issues.

This method implies using an impact screwdriver or any metal object within your reach to link the starter positive connector to the solenoid connector to generate an electric connection. By bypassing the relay, you’re sending 12 volts of current to the solenoid to start the car. A solenoid is the smaller motor on the starter body.

Method 5. Check your connections

Whenever you try to start your vehicle and the car won’t start, you want to check your connections. A loose battery terminal might not transmit enough connection to start the car. If you find loose connections, you should try tightening them with a proper tool and retry the car again.

You should check the battery positive that connects to the starter motor and ensure the connections are well-tightened.  If you still suspect the connections after inspecting and tightening them, you should try to jumpstart the car so as to bypass the connection from the battery to the starter and see if the car will start.

Method 6. Push-start the car

push start car

If you’re asking, can you push start a car with a bad starter? The and is definitely yes. Push start is another common and effective method of starting a car with a faulty starter or dead battery. Unfortunately, this method only works on cars with manual gears.

For this option, you will need a few people to assist you to push start the car. When the pushing speed attends up to 10 miles per hour, turn the ignition car to start position, shift the gear to gear 2, and release your leg from the clutch.  When you release your leg from the clutch, the car should start and rev, repeat the process until you are able to start the car. This is how to push start a car.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you bypass a starter?

The best way to start a car with a starter with a bad or broken relay or fuse is by bypassing it. Hence, to bypass a starter, follow these simple steps.

  • Locate the starter. It is usually located close to the engine and transmission system meeting point.
  • Locate the connectors on the starter and the starter solenoid
  • Use a screwdriver to touch both connectors. You can also use a good wire that can transmit current to the connectors.
  • Get a friend to help you turn the ignition to the ignition ON position. Or you can do this before carrying out step three above.

How do you start a car with a bad start with a screwdriver?

Like bypassing a starter, starting a car with a bad starter requires the following;

  • Locating the starter
  • Locating the connectors on the starter and solenoid
  • Turn your ignition key to ignition ON position
  • Touch the electrical connectors on the starter motor and solenoid.

The car will definitely start if it has to do with relay issues. This is also a guide on how to start a car with a bad starter solenoid.

What to do if the starter is not working?

If you notice your starter is not working, you can try any of the following;

  • Look under the hood –Inspect the battery terminals and cables. Ensure everything is in working order.
  • Tap the starter.
  • Adjust the transmission –in case you won an automatic transmission, if the car is not starting in the ‘park’ position, you can try starting it in the neutral position. If the car starts in neutral, you want to seek professional advice.
  • Check the gauge – This looks weird, right? But your car will not start if you have an empty gas tank.

Can you hit a starter to make it start?

Yes, you can hit a starter to make it start. So, how long will tap the starter work? You don't have to tap the starter for ages to make it work. When you have a starter with faulty amateur segments or a lousy solenoid,  tapping it a few times while someone is trying to start the car will definitely work.

Can you jump-start a car with a bad starter?

Yes, you can jumpstart a car with a bad starter.  if you have a well-charged battery that is transmitting optimum current to the starter, jumpstarting it may look like a weird thing to do, but trust me, it can work.

Final Thought

A lousy starter is a pain in the neck as it takes you unaware, mostly when there is a need for urgency. However, the best practice is to contact a professional mechanic to check it out. There are still various ways to get your car back to the road without seeking professional advice.

From tapping the motor to bypassing the starter relay to push starting the car for those who use a manual transmission system. There is always one option that will work for you. Hence, this article has clearly explained the various methods on how to start a car with a bad starter. However, you must understand that as much as these methods will start your car, it is a temporary method and will not replace the need to fix your lousy starter.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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