Why does the starter keep going out?

losingmymindlosingmymind Member Posts: 2
edited September 2015 in Kia
We have replaced he starter on my 2004 Kia Sedona three times in the last 18 months; the last time was a week ago. Now today I could smell a burning smell--kind of like plastic burning. It lasted for about a minute, then was gone. I looked under the hood and couldn't see smoke or determine where the burning smell was coming from. The engine light never came on. I'm afraid of being stranded again. Any suggestions?


  • rhinestonefuserhinestonefuse Member Posts: 76

    Why did you replace the starter three times? Once was enough.

    The problem is your battery cables. The connections are poor, damaged and/or loose.
  • losingmymindlosingmymind Member Posts: 2
    I have had the cables checked and they are fine. I also made them double check the batter they sold me (Autozone) to make sure it's the right size. Do you have any other suggestions to try?
  • 93tracker5spd93tracker5spd Member Posts: 194
    Hello! You said you replaced the starter three times, if you do your own work, was the starters you replaced bad? Did you bench test any of them once they were off the vehicle? There are good reasons for these questions, not just that I am curious. If the starters tested out ok, then you can isolate the failure to the starting circuit not the starter itself. A starter should last longer than 18 mos. even if you got a bad one, the chance of getting three bad ones in a row are almost unfathomable.

    I would start with the starter relay circuit. You will find a bank of relays under the hood. There should be a map either stamped into the plastic cover or printed on the inside of the cover. Locate the "Start" relay, first upon inspection; is it hot, does it appear to have been hot, warped looking, smelling bad, or just damaged? There is also a "Starter" fuse in the fuse block, and an "Ign2" fuse that are part of that circuit, check them all. Back at the relay: Don't ground out that relay, one terminal on it is connected to the E.C.U. and we certainly don't want to fry that, (Very Expensive, and then nothing works). Terminals 85 and 86 of that relay are feed and ground, use a multi meter set to the lowest DC voltage above 12 volts and check only terminals 85 and 86. Check them, both with the key in the on position, and with someone bumping the start position with the key. If there is voltage to that side of the circuit before bumping the starter, then there is a short That smell you smelled is almost always a dead give-away of a shorted circuit, or a circuit that has become a feed-back loop. I am including a simplified circuit diagram that I found online for your starter circuit, hope it helps and good luck.

    Oh, the diagram is in .png format, you can copy it to your desktop and blow it up a bit to see better.

    And once you find the short or the source of that smell, direct your mechanic to that area to test further with the proper diagnostic equipment.

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