Weak Battery or bad Kick Starter?

For a few months, the two battery terminals in my car have been giving issues, so much so that I had to call a technician on this particular day when the car will not start.

The technician came, made some adjustments, and the car started. He recommended that the two terminals be changed. I gave him money to buy new terminals for me and promised to come for fixing them whenever I get a little free time.

I never went. Simply because no major issue arose with the terminals again afterward. Whenever there seems to be a little issue, each time I adjust the terminals, the car starts. Until a few days ago.

The car refused to start. Instead, it was giving a 'knocking' sound. People around asked if I needed any help but I told them it has to do with the battery terminals and this is fixable without any help. Unfortunately, all my efforts to fix the terminals proved abortive.

I was forced to call on the technician again, this time, I told him to come with the new terminals I asked him to buy some months back. He came and replaced the old terminal with the new ones. The engine refused to start, still.

He did some diagnoses and announced that the kick starter has gone kaput. That came as a surprise. The kick starter was decoupled from the engine and preliminary checks revealed that the solenoid is bad.

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The Kickstarter. Image credit: @gentleshaid

For educational purposes, a typical kick-starter consists of 2 main parts - the solenoid and the electric motor. The solenoid connects directly with the car battery and the starter relay. Whenever the ignition is turned on, the solenoid starts the engine through its connection to the crankshaft through the drive gear end, but not without the help of the motor.

According to the technician, the solenoid has to be replaced. I paid him the quoted amount and he went away with the kick starter to go and replaced the solenoid. This is the first time I am experiencing a bad solenoid. Most of my experiences are with wear-out brushes on the electric motor.

About half an hour later, the technician called to give a piece of rather bad news. A new solenoid still did not get the Kickstarter working and when he opened up the electric motor, he discovered that the mature has gone bad.

Can the mature be replaced? Yes. However, the cost of replacing it is almost the same as the cost of replacing the entire kick-stater set. Thus, I decided to pay the price for a new Kickstarter.

Everything went well but it seemed the power of the battery has been drained while repeatedly trying to ignite the engine with a bad Kickstarter. Another battery was brought to start the engine and the original battery was placed back with the hope that the alternator will charge the battery back and normal function will resume.

I drove back home, switched off the engine, and tried to ignite it back. I wanted to be sure the battery is now working as it should. After a little drag, the engine started. The following morning, the engine started, also after a little drag. I felt it was because the battery is yet to be fully charged.

I drove a bit of distance to visit a family friend who was just forced to move to his uncompleted house by a bottle landlady. As usual, the engine started after a little drag when it was time to leave. Will this little drag now become a new normal? Is it still due to a weak battery?

Later that day, I went into town to use the ATM. This is when the worst happened. The engine refused to start. A bad battery, I thought. I called a friend of mine to come and assist with his car battery. The same result, the car refused to start.

I was forced to call the technician. He came after like half an hour, connected the two batteries and the car started. One interesting thing, however, is that my 'weak' battery was able to start my friend's car but could not start mine.

The technician explained that my engine is more powerful than that of my friend. Thus, a battery that is weak for my own engine may start another engine that is not as powerful. I reluctantly agreed to his hypothesis - or should I say theory.

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Image credit: @gentleshaid

I drove to see my sister downtown. Again, the car refused to start when it was time to leave. I was left with no option but to look for money for a new battery. I rushed to get the battery, but to my chagrin, the engine still refused to start. What!

I called the technician, explained to him, and he came down some minutes after. At this point, he had no option but to agree that the replacement Kickstarter is simply bad. In short, the car had to sleep on the road until the following day.

A new kickstart was brought. It was fixed and the engine started without any form of dragging. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I replaced the new battery with the old one and the car started seamlessly. I just spent a fortune to get a new battery when the old one is still working.

Since it was still barely 24 hours since I bought the new battery, I decided to try my luck with a return. I called the vendor and explained things to him. To cut the long story short, he accepted the battery back. However, only about 90% of the original cost was returned. I was more than happy to collect it because times are hard.



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23 comments
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The type of embarrassment that cars can create sometimes ehn, unexpected expenses is serious, chai, sorry ooo
Thank goodness you were able to get a great part of the money back.

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That's why I always tell people, that cars are more of liabilities than assets. Your car will compete with your family in terms of financial attention :).

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Cars really drain money... Earlier this year, I had to replace the entire computer system of the car (I have tried to use my car without its electronics... but.... no... at some point it was dangerous), the clutch and a few pieces around it, and two tires. This went up to a four-digit amount... :(

I hope that at this point you are fine with yours....

Cheers!

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Cars are necessary liabilities. People around here will ask about your car before even your health when they see you trekking :)

The car is working fine, for now, as far as the Kickstarter is concerned. Some issues relating to the suspension require fixing but the car still moves. There are more important things to do with scarce money.

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There are more important things to do with scarce money.

I totally agree! I am glad to read that you are now very fine with your car!

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My greetings @gentleshaid.
Quite an odyssey you went through, there is nothing more annoying than trusting your car is ok and it is not so. However, you trusted your technician and somehow he let you down since, from my point of view, he did not diagnose the malfunctioning properly in the first place.
That is why I usually think of what is called "The Seven Step Diagnostic Procedure", i.e
1.- Verify the problem
2.- Visual inspection
3.- Gather data about the failure
4.- Carry out some tests
5.- Define the Root Cause
6.- Do the repair according to the Root Cause
7.- Verify the repair
What usually happens with technician is that they go for the first possible cause, not trying others, apart from the fact that they do not ask themselves is the repair is what is to be expected. He should have question why the dragging was present.
Any way, taake care..

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Omg i still love your method, everywhere I see it I love it.

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My warmest greetins @jesustiano.
Thanks for believing in this method. Honestly I apply it as much as I can, thouigh it would probabbly take much more time, but it makes you gain trust from others. And that is what it is all about, to be honest and to gain confidence so that wherever and whenever you give your opinion, it is appreciated and well taken. In the case of this technician, I would not call him again, don't you think?
Take care....

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The fact he had to use money to buy a battery he didn't end up needing and them fix the real problem... Yeah I would avoid such a technician, but such is life I guess, I do like the method, it feels deep and bullet proof. And that is important for newbies like me, because is better to go safe than to risk money and lives in a bad fix on a vehicle.

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Very true @jesustiano, most important of all, it can be applied at any type of circumstances in life, even in family issues. In any family situation, One has to Verify that it exists, then look or inspect the situation and so on.
Reminded me of an english saying when you wrote "better to go safe than to risk money ..." It goes "It is better to be safe than to be sorry" (Translation: "Mas vale prevenir que lamentar")
Very glad you identify youself with this method..
Be safe and take care....

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Just that in some situations, you are eager to get solutions due to time constraints. It was getting dark and then road isn't safe. Also, i was almost certain it was the battery.

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Hi there again, dear @gentleshaid.
First of all I apologise if by my comment I might have hurt any suceptibility.
It is quite understandable what you say, you get hold of , of what you have handy

By reading your comment one experience came to my mind. Let me tell you about it.
My brother and I drove his Ford Maverick some 300 km away to look for my wife and my son, We arrived to our destiny some time in the afternoon and there was not need to use the car again, so we parked it not to use anymore that day.

The following day it did not start, the starter motor felt somehow heavy to turn. At first we thought it was the battery, so my brother in law brought one from his truck. Same result, the starter motor could not crank the engine. A technician was called in and diagnosed that the starter motor had to be brought down to check it. After that he said that the armature or field windings were not good, they needed to be replaced. Nothing else to do but to buy them and replaced the bad ones. The technician did so, and we put the starter motor back on the engine.

You know what? Same result, the starter motor felt heavy. He explained that it needed to get settled. To crank the engine he used two 12 V batteries connected in series and only them the engine got started. So we started our trip back in the late afternoon. Some where along the way we had to get fuel, so probably midway we did so. But we turned the engine off.

Same symptom when trying to start the engine back on. What to do? At that fuel station there was no technician. To make the story short, my brother and I decided to bring the starter motor down. When we checked it, we realized there was some play in the bushings. Luckily, the bushings could be turned around, so we did, reassembled the starter motor, put it back on the engine, crank it and the engine started smoothly.
That taught us that regardless the time, the place, things must be done properly and that would safe time and money, apart from your safety.
Anyway, those are the experiences that teach us for future events if they happen to arise.
Take care my friend..

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That's quite some experience. It is good to have a bit of technical experience when using vehicles. In such a situation where there was no technician around, what would have happened if you did not know how to bring the starter down and check?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

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My greetings @gentleshaid.
When we stopped for fuel it was already 7:00 pm. Honestly, there would not have been any other choice but wait till the following day to look for someone to give us a helping hand. But worst of all was the fact that at that stop there was no place to stay, only the car with its inherent risks.
Probably my broyther and I might not know much about that at that particular moment, we just support each other and gave it a try, and God blessed us.
Please take care, and thanks for your answers.

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Most technicians around here do guess works. Thats the kind of environment we found ourselves.

Thank you for the insightful comment.

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Well you could use the old battery and resell the new one, or could save it for later and use them one week basis, one week the old one, one week the new one. You could also save it for a friend that suddenly loses its own battery, in that way you could help out. There are many ways to do something about or with it, but sadly the money was already spent, and done the damage as well. Because the kick starter was the first thing to be changed instead of the battery, sadly, things were in another way.

Now I guess the best way to go is to go to a technician at first just to avoid unnecessary spending... I will write this lesson, thank you and big hug, hope you post soon again because the post was cool.

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They major problem is the money used to purchase the battery. I did not plan for it at all. Hence, I had to find a way to recoup a large part of the money when I saw that the battery is not the problem.

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:/ yeah maybe a couple post on hive helps? :D

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Hive plays a huge role in my life. I've got no real life joy for about 2 years now. I've borrowed against my hive earnings already.

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Things do happen, so if needed you should keep pulling from your earnings, if not, them is ok to leave it as it is, im worried that this much expending was sadly unnecessary, but such is life.

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