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So you've tried jumping the car because you thought the battery was dead...and that didn't work. You can try turning the key in the ignition switch, and you either a laboring sound as the starter attempts to spin the flywheel or flexplate at the end of the crankshaft or you hear nothing at all. Those are telling signs of a failed starting system, and your car engine simply won't turn over without a properly functioning starter motor and solenoid. This will leave any car or truck stranded in place unless it can be towed to a mechanic or repaired on the spot. Over time, as is the case with most electrical and mechanical components, years of use can take their toll on your engines starter. Most of the time, fixing this problem is easy because the solenoid is usually the part that fails first. In that case, it can be replaced. But if it is already functioning properly, then the problem lies within the starter motor itself. Changing that can sometimes be a more difficult task.
The earliest car engines were famously hand-cranked in front to get them started. While this was the simplest design at the time, it posed huge risks for the drivers that had to crank them. Once the engine turned over, the sudden movement of the crankshaft could catch the operator by surprise. As a result, many automakers built a release bearing into the starter that would disengage the handle once the engine revved up. Ignition timing became another danger. If the first spark was too advanced, then the pistons could end up rotating backwards and breaking the person's hand. All of this was fixed when the first electric starter motors were attached to engines. By the 1950's, ignition-starter switch combinations made turning over your engine an effortless process thanks to the incorporation of a solenoid-actuated, clutch-released geared drive shaft spun by the starter motors powered armature.
The hardest part of replacing your starter motor or solenoid is reaching it. Most of the time, they are located at the bottom of the engine on either the driver's or passenger's side. Following appropriate safety procedures and using the right tools, doing this job can be a simple task.