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Car starter

I have a 1998 Corolla with 66K miles on it. Recently, I have been having trouble starting the car in the morning. I have changed the battery and I was wondering when does the starter need to be changed?

I’d appreciate any inputs you could offer.

The battery needs to be changed when it fails and the starter needs to be changed when it fails. Perhaps if you provide us with some details of the problem we can help. We need to know exactly what happens when it does not start or has trouble. Is it turning over (turning over does not mean starting only that the starter is moving the engine)? Is it turning it over slower? Does it sound like it almost is starting? Is there a connection with the weather (hot/cold wet/dry)? Does it sound different? When was the last time you changed the spark plugs and wires, fuel filter and air filter? Does parking on a hill (up or down) change things? Have you checked, cleaned and tightened both ends of each battery cable? Has there been any other work done on the car in the last year other than the battery? etc.

Thanks for the swift response.

My car usually does not start in the morning. When I turn the key, the lights on the dashboard lights up, there’s a contact sound, but no engine starting sound. I would need to turn on and off the key about 5-6 times before the engine fully starts. I park it outside on flat surface. I have taken it for usual air/oil filter changes, fuel injection cleaning, etc. I do not remember having spark plugs and I will remind the mechanic to tighten both ends of battery cable when I take it in to the shop.

Check all the connections between the battery, ground and starter.

“engine fully starts” do you mean starts to crank and then starts? Is there a clicking sound when you turn the key?

could well be the ignition switch.

If you can get it to crank (turn over) and start by turning the ignition switch to START and OFF several times, I’ll say the ignition switch (NOT the key lock part) is defective. Right! What Bill Russell said.

A weak battery will sometimes cause this. It will take a few switches to get the starter to start turning, but when it does, it will start. Probably a bad cell in the battery, or it just isn’t holding a full charge overnight. I had this problem with a van and used to hold the key on start for 5-10 seconds before it would start cranking. I eventually bought a new battery.

This problem is not unknown with this vintage of Corolla. It’s fried contacts in the solenoid assembly, part of the starter motor assembly. The solenoid is energizing but the voltage is not reliably going to the motor.

It’s always a good idea to check the battery and charging system as a first step, but in reality you should expect to need to change the starter assembly.