How To Differentiate A Bad Kick-Starter From A Bad Battery

Diagnosing a bad kick-starter is fairly straightforward, but sometimes confusing and can be mistaken for a bad battery or vice versa. A bad kick-starter often comes with a telltale loud clicking sound, which is either fast or slow tempo. Interestingly, a bad battery acts in a similar manner. So how can we differentiate which one it is when the car won’t start? There are few pointers to look out for to fully conclude if you are dealing with a faulty kick-starter and not a bad battery.


Like explained above, the first and easiest way to diagnose a bad starter is if it starts clicking when you turn the ignition or press the starter button. A bad starter may also continue to click even after the engine is turned on. Please note that you should not attempt to start the engine after it’s already started, this will damage the kick-starter.

Accessory Failure

A second symptom is when the ignition’s accessory detent doesn’t power your radio, HVAC, and other interior electronics. Or if everything is dim and intermittent. 


You may see smoke coming from underneath your car’s hood or bonnet. It can experience heat-soak, if they’re repeatedly used and don’t engage properly, and cause enough friction to start smoking and possibly catch fire. 

Metal Grinding Noise

Before the kick-starter starts to smoke, however, you will hear metal-on-metal grinding coming from underneath the hood as you try to start the ignition.

When you notice any of these symptoms, unfortunately you will have to replace your kick-starter. Contact your mechanic or our experts HERE to schedule an inspection and a repair appointment. A happy car makes a happy driver.

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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