Car Starter Works Intermittently – Is it Possible and What to Do

While for the most part, your car will likely start the first time, there might be times when it struggles or even fails to start before it eventually cranks the engine successfully.

Can this be a starter issue? What else can lead to the car starting intermittently that you can lead to?

This post explains if and why a starter operation may be intermittent, what you can do to fix this and what else may cause the car to struggle to start.

Can a Car Starter Work Sometimes and Fail Other times?

While a car starter motor can fail permanently as when the starter motor burns out, it is also possible that the failure is intermittent.

That said, a faulty starter is just but one of the several reasons that may cause the car to struggle to start or not to start at all.

Read on to find what other issues you should look into to get your car starting consistently.

Why the Car Starter Performance may be Intermittent

If the car starter works sometimes and fails other times, check the following:

#1. Damaged or loosely connected ground wire connections. Inspect the battery’s ground and chassis to engine block ground connections for damage or corrosion.

Remove any corrosion, replace damaged wires and make sure that the ground connections make solid and firm contact.

#2. Worn ignition switch contacts. The ignition switch contacts may not be making good contact and therefore only occasionally supply the full battery voltage to the starter instead of consistently which then leads to intermittent starter performance.

Inspect the ignition switch wire connections and switch contacts. Wire connections should be clean and firmly connected. The ignition switch may need to be replaced too.

#3. Loose wire connections between the ignition switch and the starter solenoid. Trace the wires leading to the starter solenoid and make sure they connect firmly on both the solenoid and ignition switch ends.

If there are connectors, confirm that wire connections in the connector are firmly plugged in and make solid contact as this can lead to intermittent starting of the car.

#4. A faulty starter solenoid or starter may be the reason why performance is intermittent. Replace the car starter with another for your car,

Why Else Can lead to Car Starting Problems

Problems with the car starter, and its connections are not the only reason the car may struggle to start. You should also check the following if the car is not starting:

#1. Loose Battery Terminal Connections

Inspect the positive, negative, and ground battery wire connections to/from the battery. Clean out any corrosion and make sure they are firmly connected.

Gently wiggle the battery terminals. If they slide easily over the battery posts, tighten them and make sure they make a good firm connection.

#2. The Car Battery Voltage is Low

Make sure the battery is in good condition and charged sufficiently. You may also experience intermittent starting of the car if the battery is not sufficiently charged. Use an external charger to charge the battery.

#3. Faulty fuel pump or filter

It could also be that the fuel filter needs to be changed or the fuel pump is failing. When was the last time the fuel filter was replaced?

Do not hesitate to contact a qualified car mechanic!

Related Questions

Why the Car Starter Works Sometimes (Only Clicks other times)?

If the car starter works sometimes and other times there is only a click, check the starter, battery positive, negative, and ground wire connections for looseness, and corrosion.

For more information on why the car starter may not be starting consistently check here.

Closing Thoughts

Car starter problems are not always permanent. Sometimes, they are intermittent so do not rule out a car starter motor issue if a car struggles to start.

Check the starter, battery positive, negative, and ground wire connections for looseness, and corrosion.

Do not hesitate to contact a qualified car mechanic!

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