Because many of us associate the power that moves vehicles as solely dependent on the engine, we tend to forget an equally important ancillary part that performs a very critical role especially in starting the engine in order not to strain the engine much with the burden of starting up. This role is filled up by the electric starter motor. Usually called as the "little engine," the electric starter motor initiates a series of actions that trigger the main engine to rev up.
Parts of an Electric Starter Motor
Although electric starter motor may vary in the components, the following are the general requirements that comprise an electric starter motor:
- A direct current electric motor. This is a small electric motor that is attached to the vehicle's main motor or engine.
- Cables. The negative cable that connects the battery to the engine and the positive cable that connects the battery to the starter solenoid.
- A starter solenoid. This acts in the same manner as the common house electric switch. By pressing on it, the circuit is closed and it connects the battery to the starter motor. Once activated, it forces the starter gear to operate the flywheel, which triggers the main engine.
- A powerful electrical source. The electric source of a starter motor is the car's battery. In order to satisfy the high current requirement, large cables are used to connect the starter motor and the battery.
How the Starter Motor Gets Triggered
When you press on the start button of the vehicle, the starter solenoid is activated. This in turn energizes the starter motor, which then brings the main engine to life. However, aside from simply pressing the start button (or shifting the key to indicate "start"), the transmission shifter in an automatic transmission vehicle must be pointed to the neutral position. In the case of manual transmission vehicles, the clutch medal must be depressed.
Common Problems of the Starter Motor Encounters
The most common problem that starter motors encounter is the failure to deliver the very role it was designated - that of starting the engine of the vehicle. This is usually very common in cold days when the motor itself is freezing and requires some moments to warm up. In such situations, you would most probably hear the engine whine sickly, struggling to start. When this frequently happens, the most common cause of the problem is the battery. However, if the battery is new and freshly charged, then it's probably the starter motor itself that needs a check.
There are times though when you start the motor and hear only the clanking of the engine as if metal is grinding against another metal. This kind of problem is not related to the starter motor of the engine, as the problem may be on the transmission system of the vehicle. Usually, the problem could also be the flywheel that could be struggling or the crankshaft that is unable to have enough power.
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