When you turn the key or push the ignition button, your car's engine magically jumps to life, ready to drive you on your journey. But have you ever wondered about the unsung hero behind this process? That exact hero is the starter, a vital component of your vehicle's engine, playing a crucial role in initiating the combustion process. Here are the ins and outs of the starter and where to repair it if something goes wrong:
The Basics of Starting
Before we dive into the starter's mechanics, let's understand the basic starting process. When you initiate the starting sequence, an electrical signal is sent to the starter motor, prompting it to engage with the engine's flywheel or flexplate. The flywheel or flexplate is a toothed disc attached to the engine's crankshaft. As the starter motor engages with the flywheel, it rotates it, causing the engine's pistons to move, drawing in air and fuel and initiating the combustion process.
The starter consists of several components working harmoniously to kickstart your engine. The primary components include the starter motor, solenoid, and the drive gear. The starter motor is an electric motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. The solenoid acts as a switch, directing electrical current from the battery to the starter motor. The drive gear, also known as the Bendix gear, is a small gear that meshes with the teeth on the flywheel or flexplate.
Why Is It So Important?
Starting an engine requires significant torque to overcome the initial resistance (because of the negative air pressure in the cylinders) and bring the engine to life. The starter motor produces this torque thanks to its design, which includes a powerful electric motor and a gear reduction mechanism. The gear reduction mechanism multiplies the rotational force, allowing the starter motor to generate enough torque to turn the engine, even in cold weather or when the engine is under load.
The starter also played a major role in automotive history. Before it was implemented in every single vehicle, people used a hand crank to start the engine - resulting in a lot of injuries because of the crank jerking back after starting. Instead of combustion engines, electrical vehicles were popular because they didn't need any cracking.
Starter Repairs at BAM! Automotive!
If your starter is malfunctioning or your car doesn't start at all, make sure to stop by our shop so we can take a look!