Can You Jump Start A Car With A Bad Starter?

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Yes, you can do it. However, you have to employ various jump-starting techniques to have your engine up and running. As a car owner, you need to know how can you jump start a car with a bad starter. Please read on to find out how.

My car won’t turn over

Just to make it clear, in this article we’re covering situations where you try to start your engine and it won’t even turn over. That’s probably because of a bad starter and we’ll help you out along this article.

How to tell if a starter is bad: common symptoms and signs of a bad starter

Many underlying causes can be confused with a bad starter like a dead battery, a bad alternator, or a faulty fuel pump. That’s why you should know the common symptoms related to a bad starter to be sure of the cause of a hitch. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Clicking sounds once you turn on the key;
  • Having the lights on but with no action;
  • Engine failing to crank;
  • Oil soaking the starter;
  • Smoke coming from the hood.

Now that you know how to tell if your starter is bad, let’s see how to overcome these issues.

How to start a car with a bad starter and troubleshooting techniques for a faulty starter

Use an active car

You need another running vehicle and jumper cable to jump-start a car. Start by connecting the cable to the battery terminals of the two vehicles. You need to start the car that is not running to provide enough start-up energy needed to get it going.

Do not touch the metal tips of the cables while jump-starting since they might shock you. Maintain clear communication with the person starting up the vehicle to avoid mistakes.

If you don’t have another car nearby, there’s another option. Read our great article on how to jump start a car with a booster pack.

If this method fails, consider other troubleshooting techniques below.

Tapping the starter

If the vehicle’s windshield wipers and headlights are working, the issue might be a stuck gear. The starter cannot function well with a stuck gear unless you handle the problem.

Identify the starter, and gently tap it with a hammer or a wrench 3 to 5 times and try to restart the vehicle.

Checking the Connection

You should make sure that the wires connecting the battery with the starter are not loose once the jump-starting fails to work. Start by tightening the battery connector using a ratchet.

If everything seems to be in place, follow the wire connecting the battery with the starter and check if it is loose.

Cleaning the corrosion

Corrosion can be one of the main reasons behind the problem. It prevents the flow of electrical current if dirt and grease accumulate on the battery. For that reason, disconnect and clean the affected area with fine-grade sandpaper or wire brush.

If the corrosion seems to be stubborn, a mixture of caustic soda and water might help. However, be careful not to damage your connections.

Shaking the vehicle

This another great idea to release the gear. Consider this process if you cannot identify the starter. Push down the handbrake while the vehicle is in top gear. The procedure should rock the car and loosen the jammed gear.

Bypassing the starter relay

This trick works out for a vehicle that has an accessible starter. The procedure requires one to use a big screwdriver that can touch both the starter terminal and the solenoid terminal.

Since the starter terminal connects directly to the positive terminal of the battery, the procedure bypasses the relay, sending 12V directly to the starter’s solenoid. The process closes the starting loop, which starts the car at the same time.

Push-starting the vehicle

If you own a car with a manual transmission, push-starting the vehicle might be an excellent remedy for your issue. Turn on the key and put the car into its first or second gear, holding the clutch as someone else pushes the car.

Soon after it reaches about 5-8 mph (8-13 km/h), release the clutch quickly to rotate and fire the engine. Avoid stalling once the engine starts to run since it might require to redo the process again.

Note that the jump-starting techniques that you adopt only offer temporary solutions to the problem at hand. You might need to fix the starter or replace it, based on the extent of the problem.

How much does it cost to replace a starter? Should I replace it?

We can’t tell you how much it costs to replace your starter because the price varies a lot between various car models. And even for the same given car, the price can fluctuate as time goes by.

Besides contacting your local dealership to get to know the price of a new starter, remember that there are also other options.

You can contact auto part shops or a local mechanic to check out how much it would cost to replace your bad starter.

Another possibility is to get a refurbished part. Basically, it’s a used part that has been revisioned; although it usually keeps its structural pieces, the parts that tend to wear with use are replaced. A refurbished part might look used but it will work as good as a new one.


I hope that this article helped you out and you now know jump start a car with a bad starter.

Also, check out the following links to get yourself a great jump starter.