Search Corolland!

Starter, or alternator?

by dave30076, December 27, 2018

A little history.  I have a 2004 Corolla S, 5 speed manual.  186,000 miles, car has been rock solid.

I had an issue the other morning, when I went to start the car, nothing.  I could hear a very faint humming noise.  I made sure it wasn't the clutch interlock, it's not.  I did a little internet research, seemed to point to the starter.  Folks had said it would come and go as a problem.  A hour later, it started just fine.  Been working fine until tonight.  I came home from work, stopped at Taco Bell.  When coming out to restart, same thing...nothing.

I don't believe it to be the battery, I have one of those little portable pre-charged things that will provide 750 CCA.  It is fully charged (charged the other day), I hooked it up to the battery, fired it up, still no start.

One weird thing I have noticed when starting some recently, it will crank really well, but near the end of the crank, it sounds like a brief metal-on-metal sound for maybe a half second right when it starts.

So, my question to you, does this sound like a starter problem, or something with the alternator?

  • 110 posts

The alternator supplies power once the engine is started. You can have your alternator tested for free and some auto parts stores. You may want to call around for that. My suspicion is the starter, as that is what turns the engine over to start it. It uses electricity from the battery.

Maybe this video may help? It isn't a Corolla, as it is a Camry, but it should help.



It was the starter.  I was able to get a remanufactured starter from Advance for $70 (employee price, I know the manager really well), and a local shop installed it for $60.  Runs and starts great now.

Topic List