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I have a Fiat punto car 2006, manual transmission. I drove the car during rain, parked it and after a few hours of heavy rain tried to start the car again with no luck. I hear a ventilating sound, probably from the starter. The battery is new and is fully charged. The sound the car makes is similar to a sound of a disconnected ventilator that is spinning without anything connected to it. 5 seconds after I stop trying to start the car, I hear short circuit electric sounds from the engine. Can it be connected to the rain? Can I fix this issue without going to the garage?

video of under the hood of my car when trying to start

Update: I managed to start the engine by a push. after half an hour ride the starter behaves the same.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Have you tried push starting the car? I realize you're talking about the starter, and it's probably at issue here, but just wanted to eliminate anything else with the car besides the starting system. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 27 '18 at 17:35
  • no, I am alone and its rainy now.. – Max Segal Jan 27 '18 at 17:39
  • No worries at all. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 27 '18 at 17:42
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I listened to your video. The starter is obviously going around, but not engaging the flywheel. In this case, it sounds like the solenoid is causing the starter run but the teeth are not engaging the flywheel. This might be remedied by taking the starter loose and re-seating it, but that's not a given. If the starter motor itself was bad, you'd not hear the whirring noise. If the solenoid wasn't working properly, you'd not year the whirring noise. There is an off chance something might be broke inside the starter which wouldn't allow the starter to throw the starter gear teeth into the flywheel. This would still allow the starter to spin without it engaging.

The only way at this point I see this going anywhere is for the starter to come off of the engine so it can be seen what's going on. You'd need to bench test the starter after you have it off the car to see if the starter gear moves out like it would to engage the flywheel. You may also see physical damage which might be present as well.

The alternative is to let the car sit until things dry out a little and try it again. About your only recourse. It might be the rain, but I'm thinking it's more than likely coincidence.

  • Will try to start it with a push and update – Max Segal Jan 27 '18 at 18:23
  • I managed to start the engine by a push. After half an hour ride the starter behaves the same. Do you think there might be electrical problem caused by the storm that's preventing the solenoid to push the gear towards the flywheel? – Max Segal Jan 27 '18 at 22:22
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In the video, it sounds like the starter is spinning but has not thrown out to engage the flywheel.

The most likely problem is this; The starter motor basically has a tiny little gear. One electrical contact powers a solenoid that pushes the gear out to mesh with the flywheel. This has failed or is hitting the flywheel and not meshing properly. The starter motor may also have a bad ground connection, a bad contact for the wires going to the motor or the wiring is shorting somewhere. The starter motor will spin, but it will not engage the flywheel. This sounds like a replacement starter motor time, but there's no point replacing the motor if the problem only occurs after a bit of rain.

Try having someone start the engine whilst you use a block of wood on the starter motor and tap the starter motor fairly hard a bunch of times. This may dislodge any debris blocking the starter from engaging the flywheel. Good Luck! :D

  • I managed to start the engine by a push. After half an hour ride the starter behaves the same. Do you think there might be electrical problem caused by the storm that's preventing the solenoid to push the gear towards the flywheel? – Max Segal Jan 27 '18 at 22:22
  • I'm afraid you'll have to self-diagnose the starter. That or take it to a garage, as the starter sounds like it's knackered now. – yollooool Jan 29 '18 at 1:02
  • Yesterday it started just as usual. It was dry weather. I guess it’s good news but I’m afraid to be stuck one day. – Max Segal Jan 30 '18 at 11:48

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