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White smoke from starter

I have a 1997 Saturday. When I go to start the car I hear a click and then nothing. If I try and start the car too many times why smoke comes from the starter. I have a friend who works on his own car he said my starter might be back I wanted to see what you guys thought

Sounds like the starter brushes are bad or stuck… Time for a new starter…the click you hear is the starter solenoid working and sending power to the main starter motor armature…the smoke is from heat building because of the brushes or a stuck armature within the starter body.

Install a new starter and be done with it. If you are adventurous you can rebuild the starter motor, which I have done plenty of times…but for this instance a new unit will save you time and headaches.


Thanks that’s what I thought as well but I just wanted to make sure

Yes indeed… Be sure to let us know how it worked out

Are you sure the engine is not locked up?

It’s not the Papal Conclave, ANY color smoke is a bad thing from your starter motor. I’d check to see if the motor was locked (as per ok4450s suggestion) and if not locked up then follow Blackbirds advice and try a new starter, not hard to install depending on what’s in your way, where it sits and so forth. Stop trying it as it is, you’ll end up with a fire. Rocketman

Yes… @ok4450 surely has a point, no doubt about that at all…the engine might not be able to be cranked over. However I would have thunk that you would have mentioned the details leading up to such catastrophic engine damage. There would have been a whole host of “fun” clues, sounds and smells associated with such…

If you left the part about catastrophic engine failure OUT…this would be the equivalent of holding the Hindenburg at the end of a Rope…watching it crash and burn and then asking if a new Rope would fix the problem.


Replacing the starter probably makes the most sense. As mentioned above there’s other reasons besides a bad starter that can produce this symptom, so consider those if a new starter fails to do the trick. If that occurs, don’t continue to try to crank the engine, as that could damage the replacement starter.

fyi, besides a faulty starter or the engine locking up, if the voltage to the starter is too low this symptom can result. That could be caused by a failing battery, the battery isn’t fully charged b/c the alternator is faulty, or corroded connections.

If the starter smoked, it has to be replaced anyway, even if that is not the actual cause of the problem.

The smoke is a dead giveaway. The starter assembly needs to be replaced.
But before you assume I’m right, do a good inspection of the area for any sign of the starter cables shorting to the chassis. Chafing of the insulation, carbon tracks, bubbled insulation, these are all dead giveaways. If the cables look good, the starter assembly is the next best suspect.

If your starter just came back from a Saturday in 1997, your car must be a Delorean.

Hahaha @“oldtimer 11” that was a Good One…

I liked the “why smoke” bit. Whey? burning cheese?