5 Reasons Why Starter Not Engaging + How To Fix It (Explained)

There are many reasons why your starter is not engaging when you are turning your engine on. This situation is stressful, especially if you have somewhere vital that you have to be. With that, it is essential to know the possible reasons why your starter is not engaging. 

To add, it is also essential to know what are the ways that you can fix it. The main reason for this issue is internal. You may be having some internal problems and issues with your starter motor. 

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where your starter is not engaging, here are five (5) of the possible reasons why your starter is not engaging the way they should.

Reasons Why Starter Not Engaging

1. You Might Be Having A Low Battery Voltage

If you have a problem with your battery, you should check first your battery voltage. This can be the first reason for your problem. The battery will power the starter. 

And if your battery is not working or it does not have power, then the starter will not engage at all. So you have to charge your battery first and charge it fully. If you think the battery is dead, you can replace your car battery if you have a spare one. 

Jumpstarting your vehicle is also another possible way. Check also if your battery terminals are in good condition and they are not rusted.


To fix this problem, you have to recharge your battery. You can also jumpstart your car and if you have a spare battery, you can always replace the old one. Just make sure that the batter has enough charge. 

2. Check Your Starter Solenoid

Your starter solenoid can be found on the top of the starter. If you turn the key, the starter solenoid will push the plunger inside the starter motor and push the pinion into the flywheel. Using a jumper wire and ground the solenoid to a bolt. 

Start your ignition, and then listen carefully for any sounds that are coming from the solenoid. If you hear a loud click, it means the solenoid is just fine. On the other hand, if you hear a weak click, double-check the wiring between the starter and the solenoid.


To fix this, you have to check for any bad wirings. Fix or replace if there is any. You also have to check if the bolts are tightened too much. Make sure that the bolts are put just right. 

3. Check Your Starter Motor Plunger Or Your Pinion

If you checked your starter solenoid and is doing fine, you must then check the inside of your starter motor. Just entangle the starter, and then you have to check for any pinion gears. 

They can be found in the front of your starter. Unfortunately, these gears can get worn out, so you have to replace them.


To fix this, you have to check for any worn out gears. If the gears are indeed worn out already, it is time to replace them with a new one. 

4. You Might Have A Faulty Wiring To Your Starter

You can be in a situation where your electrics are provided in the starter, but it is not enough to turn the starter. This can be because of a bad starter cable. The starter cable can be between your car battery and your starter.


To fix this, you have to clean the starter and the battery. They should be cleaned so that there will be no bad connection

5. You Can Look For Any Flywheel Damages

The flywheel is that big wheel that you can find in between your engine and your transmission. It will be engaged by the starter pinion gears so that the engine can start. You should check for any damaged flywheel or any worn or damaged gears.


To fix this, you need to replace the damaged gears. It is time to remove the old gears and replace them with a new one. 

Why Does The Starter Motor Spin But Not Engage?

If your starter motor is spinning and is not engaging, you might have problems with two things. The first is that the solenoid might not be pushing the Bendix out because the solenoid is broken or damaged. 

The second one is that some things have sheared the flywheel and made the Bendix engage in nothing. So if the problem is the solenoid, then you need to have a starter motor replacement.

How Do You Get Your Starter To Engage?

If you want to get your starter to engage, here are some things you can do. First, you can check if your battery is good enough and charged enough that it can power up your engine. If the battery has insufficient power, your starter will not start. 

You can use a voltmeter so that you can check how much power your battery has. You should also check if you have any battery corrosion. You might see some green or white deposits in your battery terminals. 

They can be corroded. You can clean your battery terminals by using baking soda and some water solution. You should follow the ratio of one baking soda and then three parts of water. 

You can also check for your starter motor. Unfortunately, it is not easy to access the starter motor. In some vehicles, you need to remove the other engine parts to access your starter motor. 

Next, you have to tighten the mounting bolts and those other connecting wires. First, check if the mounting bolts are loose. If it is loose, the starter drive will not engage in the flywheel properly.


In summary, there are times when your starter will not engage. This is a stressful time. You might have to go to the nearest mechanic, or you can do the fixing yourself. 

Either way, it causes you time and energy. There are several possible reasons your starter is not engaging; you can just run the guide above.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more