Toyotas are great vehicles, but like with every other manufacturer, the parts under the hood are more important than the brand. So many different components work together to get your Toyota from point A to point B. One of those important parts is the starter motor.
Many Toyota owners want to invest in a new starter motor—one that’s better than the standard motor that comes with the vehicle. If that’s you, here’s a complete guide to buying a starter motor for your Toyota, so you can get the performance you’ve always wanted.
What Is a Starter Motor?
The first step in buying a starter motor for your Toyota is understanding what that starter motor is and what it does. The starter motor is the component in your Toyota that, as the name suggests, helps start your car. It’s an electric motor that rotates your engine, allowing the spark plugs and fuel injection system to begin operating. This rotation is where the idea of your engine turning over comes from.
When you turn your key or press the button to start the engine, you tell the starter motor to turn the engine over, allowing it to suck in air and fuel. The starter motor engages the flywheel, which then rotates the crankshaft, which starts the engine. After the engine turns over, the starter motor disengages, and your engine runs without damaging the starter motor.
The other part of the starter motor is the solenoid, also known as the relay. This part engages the drive gear of the starter and closes the electrical connections.
Your engine can run on its own, but when you turn your vehicle off, the engine stops. To get your engine running on its own again, you need the starter motor to turn it back over and kick-start the combustion process. From there, the engine can go on its own, and your starting motor can disengage until it’s necessary again.
How To Know When You Need a New One?
Your starting motor can fail over time or encounter any number of issues. In moments like these, it’s important to know what signs to look for to get a new starter and get your Toyota back on the road. Missing these signs will only worsen issues under the hood. Instead of letting problems get to this point, take the necessary steps to spot and address them.
The most common sign that there’s an issue with your starter motor is that your engine isn’t turning over. If that’s happening, there could be an issue with the primary motor, the solenoid, or both. In such instances, many drivers may think there’s an issue with the battery, only to find that their car isn’t starting. At times like these, it is most likely a starter motor issue. You can either get a new motor and replace it yourself or take your vehicle to the mechanic. Other signs that you have a bad starter include the following:
- Weird noises like clicking, whirring, and grinding
- Taking a while before the engine turns over
- Multiple attempts to start the engine
- Smoke under the hood
- Lights coming up with no engine power
- A starter soaked in oil
These issues are common with age and the wear your starter will undergo, but letting them stay without fixing them is not something you should do. If you think something’s off or spot something out of the ordinary, it’s time to take action.
Related Vehicle Issues
Above were signs that there’s something wrong with your starter and you need to change it, but other vehicle issues can lead to starter motor problems. Some of the other problems which could lead to a faulty starter include the following:
- Loose start wiring
- Bad fuses
- Oil leaks
- Battery corrosion
- Corroded connections
If you spot any of these issues, correct them, as this could prevent issues from developing with the starter motor.
Unique Make and Model
One of the most important parts of buying the right starter motor for your Toyota is knowing that there are different starter motors for different makes and models. With so many on the market, it’s easy to think they’re almost interchangeable. While some are, many aren’t.
On top of finding the proper starter motor, you must ensure it works for your vehicle. Even if an aftermarket or OEM starter motor works and fits into your Toyota, there may be better choices. It could work, but it could also end up interfering with the other components you have under the hood. This could lead to safety issues and premature aging.
If you want your Toyota to run efficiently for a long time, find the right starter motor that works with the unique make and model of your Toyota. You should be able to find the OEM number on the part itself, but you can also find out what your starter is by entering the year, make, and model. You can also call a dealership with your VIN to obtain this information.
Types of Starter Motors
After recognizing you need a new starter motor and finding the ones that match your make and model, it’s time to find the type of starter motor you want. For example, soft starters slowly speed up to prevent large electrical surges in your engine. These starters also minimize the wear on the electrical contacts, so you don’t develop frayed wires. The other common starter is a variable frequency drive (VFD). This motor controls its speed throughout the engine turnover to ensure things go smoothly. You can go with the same starter you had before, but don’t be afraid to look at your options to ensure you find option that works best for your Toyota.
With this complete guide to buying a starter motor for your Toyota, you can find the perfect starter motor, buy it, and install it in your Toyota in no time. If you’re unsure where to get a starter motor, come to us at Yota Shop. We have plenty of different DENSO auto parts, including the starter motors, that will put your Toyota in the best shape possible.