Learning, Hammer,

How to Fix a Starter with a Hammer (4 Steps)  

In this article, ill teach you how to fix a starter with a hammer.

Imagine a situation where you deal with a bad starter in the middle of the road or the parking lot. The result could be an accident, or your vehicle might get towed. What if I told you there is a simple fix for this bad starter issue? Even though this is a temporary fix, this technique has saved me many times. So, I’m hoping to share it with you.

In general, to fix a bad starter issue with a hammer:

  • Locate the starter in your vehicle.
  • Grab the hammer.
  • Keep the vehicle key in the START position.
  • Gently tap on the starter motor and starter solenoid.

I’ll go into more details in the below article.

Where to Hit the Starter with a Hammer?

Without a doubt, this method will come in handy in case of an emergency. But the success of the whole process depends on where and how to hit the starter with a hammer.

starter solenoid & starter motor
Video | sgfreak96

Starter includes two parts; starter motor and starter solenoid. The motor has graphite brushes inside. After some time, these brushes tend to wear out. Because of the moisture in brushes, the brush holders will rust. (1)

rusty starter motor and starter solenoid
Video | Easy Fix

Hence, a gentle tap can break this rust, and the brushes will start working again. That is how a simple tap can fix the starter.

When you tap, remember to tap both the starter motor and starter solenoid. A regular hammer will be a suitable option for this task.

Quick Tip: This is a temporary fix for a bad starter problem. Hence, after some time, you might reencounter a bad starter problem.

Where is the Starter Located?

The starter is located between the engine and the transmission. There should be a left mound of cylinders on the driver’s side of the vehicle. the starter is underneath these cylinders. Also, the starter is attached to the mounting plates. So, finding it won’t be difficult.

How Does the Starter Work?

Before jumping into the how-to guide, understanding how the starter works is useful to know what you’re doing. When you start the engine (START position), the battery voltage travels through the starter control circuit and powers the starter solenoid. Then the solenoid starts the motor. Also, the solenoid pushes the starter gear forward with the flywheels. These engine flywheels are connected to the engine crankshaft. Hence, the engine will be started as a result of this process.

In other words, if the starter motor runs properly, the engine will start without any issues. But when the motor is malfunctioning, the engine won’t start. Therefore, the vehicle won’t start.

Don’t Forget: If you experience a bad starter solenoid at a parking lot or middle of the road, the below method will be helpful. So, having a small hammer in the back or glove compartment could be helpful if you’re having a recurring issue. (2)

4 Simple Steps on How to Fix a Starter with a Hammer

For this process, you only need a hammer and a helper.

Step 1 – Locate the Starter

locating starter
Video | sgfreak96

First and foremost, you should locate the starter. As mentioned above, you’ll find it between the engine and the transmission. Follow the above guide one more time if you have any doubts.

Step 2 – Grab the Hammer

small hammer
Video | Easy Fix

Then, find a regular hammer. Some use various types of metal objects to tap the starter. But using a hammer is the best option. You’ll be able to navigate and handle the hammer easily at the starter.

Step 3 – Keep the Vehicle in START Position

You’ll need a helper for this process. While tapping the starter with the hammer, the ignition key should be at the START position. So, ask a friend or someone with you to start the engine.

Step 4 – Start Tapping

tapping both the starter motor and starter solenoid
Video | Easy Fix

If everything checks up, you can start the most significant step. Remember, you should tap both the starter motor and starter solenoid. Worn-out parts might include lots of rust. So, the target is to break those rust. In the above image, I’ve marked the locations you should tap using a hammer.

Quick Tip: By any means, this is not a permanent solution. After some time, the starter might go back to its old ways. So, don’t hesitate to pursue professional help for this issue.

Symptoms of a Bad Starter

A bad starter might show different types of symptoms. Here are the most common symptoms.

  • The vehicle won’t start.
  • The vehicle might start and stops unceremoniously.
  • The vehicle might take a long time to crank.
  • The interior lights might dim after you start the engine.
  • You’ll hear a grinding noise while driving.
  • The engine might whirl or whine but won’t start.
  • Burning smell while running the starter motor.
  • After starting the vehicle, the starter will still run.

If you see the above symptoms, it might be time to pursue professional help. However, if you cannot start the vehicle due to a bad starter solenoid, follow the above four steps guide. It will help one or two times. But after that, you might have to look into a permanent solution.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) graphite – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/graphite
(2) parking lot – https://www.wikihow.com/Use-Parking-Lot-Etiquette

Video References


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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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