I have a 2008 Dodge Avenger with a 4 cylinder engine. About a month ago while my wife was driving the car she said it began to make a high pitched whining/grinding noise. She continued to drive the car about 2 miles to her destination. When she stopped smoke was issuing from the hood. When I got there, I tried to start the vehicle but it would not turn over.
Our mechanic said the starter had engaged while the vehicle was moving. It had thus burned itself out and he replaced the starter.
Car ran fine for about 2 weeks, until it did the same thing to me. Upon hearing the initial whining/grinding noise I pulled over and turned off the key only to discover that the starter was still engaging and turning over and it wouldn’t stop even with the key removed from the vehicle. Eventually it quit and I assumed yet another starter had burned out, but as luck would have it after returning that evening to tow the vehicle home it started up just fine as if nothing was wrong.
I drove it home and pondered on what could be making the starter engage at random times like that.
Some searches online and even a second mechanic I talked to said to replace the starter fuse/starter relay switch, but I was unable to find this and I am not sure there even is one on this vehicle. Other sources I found said it is located in the ominously named “Totally Integrated Power Module” (TIPM) but I was hesitant to replace the entire TIPM if that was not the problem.
I eventually replaced the ignition switch that is located on the ignition unit beside the steering column hoping that would solve the issue. I drove the car about 4 days with no problems, but just today the starter engaged while driving yet again and so I am at a loss as to what to try next.
My questions are:
- What else besides the ignition switch and the starter (the two items that have been replaced) could be causing this issue?
- Could my mechanic have replaced the starter but not the starter solenoid and it is actually the solenoid causing the issue?