CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Starter Problem

I have a 2007 Jeep Compass. Driving on the freeway heard loud whine - like the starter engaging. It stopped then started again. The jeep then died. Had it towed to the shop. Starter was “melted” and was replaced. Two days later the same thing happened. Any ideas?

It happened again? hmmm … well, It’s not unheard of for bad starter to engage on its own, you probably heard about the Porsche that drove itself around with no one around, as heard on a Car Talk segment. The starter selenoid contacts can go bad and sort of weld themselves together and cause this to happen.

If it was your first starter’s selenoid contacts, though, after you replaced it, it wouldn’t have happened again. Unless the first time it happened, it damaged the wiring, that’s a possiblity I guess. And the starter associated wiring should be checked for any signs of burned insulation and short ciruits for good measure. More likely it is a problem with something like the ignition switch or a failing relay in the starter circuit. You’ll need a local mechanic-- preferably someone with Jeep electrical experience – to help you w/this.

Could be bad ignition switch.