Starters, Ignition Repair in Plymouth-Canton, Michigan
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Here's where the job of the starting system is like the task of your first cup of coffee. The starting system turns the engine quickly enough to enable it to start; at least that's what it does when it operates properly. Components of the starting system include the battery, the starter motor, the starter solenoid, and all the wires that connect these parts. How does the starter system work? As you turn the ignition key to the start position, an electric signal runs along the wire to the starter solenoid. The solenoid is told to deliver electricity from the battery to the starter motor. It does so until the ignition key is released from the start position. The end of the starter motor has a small gear that meshes with the teeth around the edge of the engine flywheel. The gear rotates the flywheel. At the same time, the ignition system is delivering a spark and the fuel system is supplying a fuel/air mixture to the engine. The engine starts (in theory) if everything is in good working condition. If the engine doesn't start, the cause could be one of many things, including the starter or solenoid. Before you consider repairing the starter, however, check one more thing: the interlock. An interlock stops something from happening if all conditions are not met. Most cars now have an interlock that must be operated before the signal to start is sent to the solenoid. The interlock on cars with manual transmissions requires that the clutch pedal be pushed in before the car is allowed to start. On automatic transmissions, the interlock requires that the gear selector be in the park or neutral position. So, before you begin to repair your car's starter or solenoid, find and test the interlock, fuses, and battery. Finding the interlock may be the operative term here because some are mounted near the clutch pedal, and others are in the steering column or mounted near the starter. Testing an interlock means using an ohmmeter to see whether the circuit is open or closed when it's activated (read the ohmmeter's instructions). One more tip before we get our hands dirty: Have someone turn the ignition key to the start position. If, standing near the engine, you hear the solenoid click, it's working. If you don't, it's not working, assuming that you've already checked the battery and any starter system fuses. A starter motor should give your car 75,000 to 100,000 miles of trouble-free service with proper maintenance.