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Starter Wars

My car's having starter problems.  Twice in the past week I had to call AAA to get the car started, and they did it by knocking on the starter with bars.  The first responder, a private contractor, refused to show me where the starter was, but the second guy was employed directly by AAA and showed me what to poke if I had to.  It seems it only happens when I try to start after a very short trip from home, and the starter doesn't have enough charge, especially in cold weather.  The Saturn service center can't see me until Tuesday because they have to see other Saturns with ignition and starter problems in the recent cold weather.  In the meantime, if I have to poke the starter, it will be with a toy lightsaber.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
How old is the battery? they ought to be replaced every 5 or 6 years.

Sounds like your starter solenoid might be sticking. On many cars, it's a canister with wires coming from it piggybacked on the starter. Dirty or corroded contacts, exacerbated by low battery voltage, may cause it to stick. A sharp blow with a screwdriver handle or rubber mallet may be enough to get you home but its on borrowed time.

If you hear a rapid "click click click click" noise when you try to start, thats the solenoid bouncing because the dying battery can't sustain voltage under starting load. If you hear nothing, the starter switch, relay or solenoid is more likely to blame.
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
The battery is 7 months old. Both responders checked it and it's okay. I just had the car tuned at the service center several weeks ago. There's no clicking when I try to start. Whacking the starter gets it started. It's only when I stop two blocks away from home to drop off or pick up something on the way to my office that it balks, in frigid cold. I just got new front brakes, so maybe the shop jostled something.

Edited at 2010-12-15 11:54 pm (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
Just worn out brushes, you don't have to deal with saturn, any VIP/SEARS or auto repair place can change your starter out in less than an hour. Its pretty easy to swap. Just it has a spot where the brushes don't make good contact and for a little while, a light tap will fix it. Nobody would have jostled the starter, its just worn out. Its like those light bulbs you can tap a few times and they'll come on, eventually they don't come on anymore. A piece of wooden closet rod would work to tap the starter but again, faster to whip it into any service center and get it swapped out. Prolly cheaper than Saturn. If ya lived closer it's a 15 min job.
Dec. 16th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'll try the Sears in West Hartford on Saturday. Then I won't have to take off work and can do some Christmas shopping afterward. Or see Tron if I have the time.

Edited at 2010-12-16 11:34 pm (UTC)
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
nice lj pic too! Good luck with the starter.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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