It’s a letdown when you jump into your car and try to start it and it begrudgingly turns over slowly. It cranks a few times and you wonder if it will start up if you give it a few more tries. Of course this always happens when you’re already late, it’s cold out, or your other car is broken down. But why is your car slow to start?
Reasons Your Car is Struggling to Start
There can be a number of reasons your car takes a long time to start. Assuming all of your wiring is correct, not loose or eaten by an animal, it may be because your starter is starting to wear out. When you turn your key, an electromagnet forces the starter gear to engage the teeth on your fly wheel. The motion of the starter gear sliding forward into the fly wheel also engages electrical contacts which give power to the starter motor, spinning the starter gear and starting your engine. For more information on how your start works, check out this article about how a starter works. The electrical contacts that power the starter motor can wear out overtime due to the high current flowing through them and the spinning motion of the starter motor. As these contacts wear down, they will transfer less and less power to your starter motor causing it to spin slower, making your vehicle harder to start. In this case, you may need a new starter for your vehicle to solve the problem.
The other most common answer to the question, “why is my car slow to start?”, is that your battery is in need of replacement. The battery in your vehicle uses a chemical reaction between lead and sulfuric acid to create the electricity used to start your vehicle and to power the lights and accessories when your vehicle is not running. While your vehicle is running, the alternator supplies electricity to run those accessories and recharge your battery. This chemical reaction between the lead and sulfuric acid creates a certain amount of current, and the bigger the battery, the more current it can produce. Automotive batteries are rated in “Cold Cranking Amps”. The higher the rating, the more power the battery can produce. If a battery is rated for 700 cold cranking amps (CCA), that means the chemical reaction inside can produce 700 amps for 30 seconds when it is 0oF. Over time, the constant charging and discharging of a battery will take a toll on the lead plates inside, causing them to corrode and the chemical reaction to become less effective. Temperature also affects the rate of the chemical reaction in a battery so a warm battery is more noticeable when it is cold outside.
As your battery wears out, it will produce less and less power for your starter motor to use, causing it to spin slower and causing your car to have trouble starting. You can measure the life of your battery by measuring the current it puts out while you are trying to start your vehicle. Measuring the current output of your battery takes a special tool, but is relatively simple to do. Many auto parts stores have the proper equipment and will measure your battery output for free. The same tool can test how well your starter and alternator are functioning as well, and often can all be done at the same time. Getting these tests done can be a great way to check up on your vehicle’s electrical system. You often will get a reading for your battery’s percent functionality and if it is below 70%, we recommend getting your battery replaced. Your vehicle may still start with your battery as low as 50% but it may leave you stranded on a cold day.
If your car hesitates to start or starts slow, consider stopping by one of our partnering local auto parts stores to have your vehicle’s battery and starter tested. While you are getting your vehicle tested, check out BlueDevil’s full line of leak stop products guaranteed to stop your vehicle’s leaks!
BlueDevil’s partnering local auto parts stores:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
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