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Unfortunately, most of us know that terrible feeling of turning the key in the ignition only to hear our car try to cough on a few times, only to fail to start. Your starter has failed completely, and a tow truck or a mobile mechanic are your only solutions.

No one likes being stranded in a parking lot or driveway somewhere. That’s why catching a faulty starter before you get stranded somewhere is a much better bet.

Here are a few signs that your car’s starter might be on its way out.

You hear a loud clicking or grinding noise when you turn your key.

If when you turn your key in the ignition you hear a clicking or grinding noise, or several clicking noises, coming from the area of the starter motor, this is a pretty clear sign that the starter motor is not correctly connecting as it should be, or turning on but not spinning correctly. If you hear this, then your starter motor is likely on its last leg.

Your engine cranks intermittently when you try to start it.

Perhaps your engine rushes to life when you turn the key, but then seems to stall almost immediately and turns back off. This is a likely sign than your starter is beginning to fail, particularly if it happens repeatedly.

Lights come on but engine doesn’t turn on.

If you turn your key all the way in the ignition and the dashboard lights all come on, but the engine stays completely silent, this may also be a sign that your starter is failing or on its way to failing soon.

Starter has not been replaced in 150,000 miles or more.

There’s no set life expectancy for starters, and they can sometimes last for the whole life of the car; however, it is typical that they may start to fail once the car exceeds 100,000 miles, and failure is even more likely after the 150,000 mile mark. If your car has exceeded this mileage and your starter has never been replaced, it’s likely worth getting your starter looked at and checked out during an auto checkup at some point. 

You smell smoke.

Of course, if you smell smoke coming from the inside of your car, this is never a good sign. But one of the many things that could be causing this smell is a malfunction of or blown fuse in the electrical system of the car of which the starter is a part. Particularly if your car is having trouble starting and you smell smoke, stop trying to start the car, and call for help. If you suspect your starter is failing, or if it has failed already and your car will not start, then you may need assistance to come to you. Next time you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. Call the expert mechanics at Toronto Mobile Mechanic, and we’ll come to you, and have your car back on its way again in no time.