Will a Bad Starter Drain a Battery? (Impact & Tips)

Faulty starters are never good for your car, but did you know they can drain your battery?

A bad starter will actively drain the battery for every attempt to get the engine to turn. Sometimes, it may drain the battery even when the car is off due to a faulty connection.  

How a Bad Starter Affects Your Battery

If you notice that your car battery is running out faster than before, it might be because of a faulty starter.

Starters act as a connection between the motor and the battery; they take power from the battery and use it to turn over the engine. A good starter needs minimal power and only one to two seconds to start the car – it takes more than that, then you may have a bad starter on your hands.

A bad starter will drain the battery by drawing more power than needed, sometimes even when unused. Here are the ways that a bad starter affects your car battery:

While the Car is Off

The chances of the starter draining the battery while the car is off is incredibly low – but it does happen.

Over time, the faulty starter will slowly yet consistently drain your car battery, with some car owners even reporting that their batteries ran empty overnight.

A faulty starter is like a leaky pipe. Depending on the damage, it will continuously leak a few drops of water or more until it’s fixed or replaced. Sometimes, this continues even if you’re not using the sink.

As I said, a bad starter rarely drains the battery while the car is off. Try to observe your car while it’s in use before making any assumptions.

While Using the Car

A bad starter has more prominent effects on the battery and engine when the car is in use.

Starters activate the moment you turn the ignition key. It uses electricity from the battery to turn over the engine. The problem with this system is that the starter will continue to repeat the process of using electricity until the engine successfully starts.

Basically, a faulty starter actively drains the battery for every attempt at getting the engine to turn over. Moreover, depending on the severity of the damage, the starter may drain the battery even when it’s not in use.

Signs of a Bad Starter

a hand wearing blue gloves checking car's battery
Video | ChrisFix

You can tell whether a bad starter is behind your engine trouble by looking for a few simple signs.

Engine Won’t Turn Over

An engine that doesn’t start up after turning the ignition key is the most prominent sign of a faulty starter. It may take multiple attempts to get the engine to work, or it may not even work.

Strange Sounds from the Engine

It’s good practice to check up on the starter if you hear spluttering or strange whirring and grinding noises after turning the ignition key. The starter is likely at fault if the engine doesn’t turn over while accompanied by those strange noises.


Starter Motors – Autoelectro. https://www.autoelectro.co.uk/starter-motors

Video References

The Engineering Mindset



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About Alex Robertson

c3c9d43f1f0d14c4b73cb686f2c81c4e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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