Starter Motors 101 – What is it?


Simply put, a starter motor is a necessary component used within an electrical starting system that also includes a starter relay or solenoid and battery. Together, they provide the engine with an electrical charge used to turn and thus, start an engine.

Ever wonder what happens when you turn the key to your car, truck, boat, ATV, mower, etc? Well, the simple action of turning your key sets off the first of an interesting chain of events within your engine that gets you going on your way! The moment you turn your key, the battery supplies the necessary electricity to your starter motor first, by way of a starter relay or solenoid to engage and turn over the engine. Next up is the starter motor’s turn. At this moment, the electrical charge pushes the starter drive gear out of its housing so that the gear engages the engines flywheel. Split seconds later, but not on yet, the engine is cranked, the flywheel begins to rapidly turn. This creates a suction that enables the pistons to move and use a mixture of fuel and air that when sparked by the simple act of turning your key….. bang!…. ignites the mixture within your cylinder walls. This gets the pistons going, which in turn, starts your engine. The starter drive gear then retracts within its housing, the starter motor turns off and now your engine is operational and you are on your way – all within a couple of seconds.

Stay tuned when we nostalgically visit starter motors past, when starting your engine took more than just a twist of your wrist!