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"Quick"-Fix for Busted Car Starters

Updated on March 18, 2010

It Might Not REALLY Be Dead!

If your starter stops working, try hitting it with something (a crowbar, screwdriver, or a shoe) while turning the ignition. If this works (your car starts), and possibly if it doesn't, your starter may not be totally dead - even if someone tells you to buy a new one ($250 rebuilt!!!).

All that may need to be done is a little cleaning duty. If you don't know how to get your starter out, or just because it's an awesome thing to have with you, buy the Haynes Repair Manual for your vehicle (or check on youtube).

Before you begin, disconnect the battery. This is important - you don't want a shock, or to short out your whole car!

It may be harder to find the starter than to remove it, especially if you have a 1993 Geo Metro (like me), where the starter is jammed right up inside the engine compartment, behind the engine. Generally, it's just a few bolts holding the starter in the car, so undo these and remove the starter. If you move anything to get at the starter (air filter, hoses, screws, etc), REMEMBER WHERE TO PUT THEM WHEN YOU'RE DONE.

When the starter is out, remove the long bolts holding it together. Inside, there will be two cylinders. The big one is the motor that spins the engine to start it - the other is a solenoid (magnetic coil). When you take the end off the starter unit, a cylinder will come out of the solenoid. It, and the solenoid, will probably be covered in crap (oil, water, dust, dirt, and worse). To fix the starter, clean these off with a bit of rag or pipe cleaner (no cleaning supplies - I don't know for certain, but they might break something), then add a bit of light auto oil (not engine oil, that'll gunk it up again) and put it all back together. Once the starter is back in the vehicle, and all the hoses and such are back in place, give the key a turn, and voila! it should start right up (no hitting required). And, best of all, you'll still have your $250, or if you were going to buy used, you'll have saved yourself the time and money of getting one from the scrap yard, AND you won't have to clean it again for 10 years.

Good luck!!

Removal of a Starter - What the Starter Looks Like

Sorry I couldn't find a better video. This at least shows you what the starter should look like in most vehicles. It could be anywhere, though, so you might have to look around a bit.

REAL Customer Testimony

It's real, I promise

Hi, my name is Cody, and I tried this out, and it worked wonders. I thought I was going to have to pay $250 plus $80 an hour for a mechanic, but with this method, my starter is working again and I paid nothing!! Amazing!!!

*Results may vary. See your mechanically inclined friend for help.

**If you pay one cent, you've paid too much!!!

***Unless you bought a case of beer for aforementioned friend and you to share while he fixes your car for you.

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