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Do i need a new starter?

key in & turned. all electrical works. no clicking. no whirring, grinding, screeching, etc… just for s & giggles, hooked up to another car to try a jump. nope.

hours later, after husband comes home from work, it STARTS for him! he drives it home. wife mad, but car then starts for her. next day, all over again, same issues. However… in frustration, i jiggled the key - not gently - before turning the key again - hastily. the SOB started right up. so i turned it off, started it again… a few more times, and all was fine for several days.

since then (about a month ago), it’s become routine - eletrical comes on, engine does not start, i turn the key back & forth once, twice, several times, and the car starts.

but. today. it put its foot down.

so, do i need a new starter?

husband thinks so. wife thinks it makes sense. but after reading a few ‘broken starter’ symptom descriptions, i am no longer convinced.


It may not be the starter. It could be a loose connection, a bad ignition switch, a starter relay acting up, a Park/Neutral safety switch that doesn’t know the shifter is in park…

When it doesn’t start, somebody should use a voltmeter or test light to see if power is going to the starter when the key is turned. If power is getting there but the starter doesn’t do anything, then you know it’s the starter.

First try shifting out of park, into Neutral if it doesn’t start. Or wiggle it around in park and neutral in case it’s the park/neutral safety switch.

How old is this car? Things wear out. The concern is the little switch that the key turns behind the lock. But the shake and wiggle of the key can be a point to consider. If on a bad day you just put in the key, no extras, and turn it does that work. Try to do things one at a time. Jiggle the shifter and try again. Then jiggle the steering wheel and try. Then jiggle the key in and out… The issue is several switches need to work at the same time. Let us know.

  1. we just got an estimate to replace the starter. $340.
    i’ll have to get over to it tomorrow at the garage and “jiggle it, just a little bit”, a few more times. but what will that tell me? that it IS the starter or IS NOT the starter. i like to be appropriately armed before launching an attack.