How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter Using a Screwdriver?

A failing car starter can leave you stranded and frustrated, especially when you’re in a hurry. However, in a pinch, you can use a simple tool like a screwdriver to get your car moving. In this article, we’ll explore how to start a car with a bad starter using a screwdriver, step by step.

Understanding the Car Starter

Before we jump into the solution, let’s briefly understand what a car starter does. The starter is a crucial component of your car’s ignition system. It’s responsible for turning the engine over when you turn the key in the ignition. When the starter malfunctions, your car won’t start, and you’ll hear a clicking sound or nothing at all when you turn the key.

Identifying Starter Problems

1. Signs of a Bad Starter

Recognizing the symptoms of a bad starter is the first step:

  • Clicking Noise: If you hear a rapid clicking sound when you turn the key, it’s a common sign of a failing starter.
  • No Sound: If you turn the key, and there’s complete silence, it may indicate a dead starter.

2. Confirming the Issue

To confirm that the starter is the problem, you can try jump-starting the car. If it starts with a jump, the issue likely lies with the starter.

Using a Screwdriver to Start the Car

1. Safety Precautions

Before attempting this method, ensure you take the following safety precautions:

  • Park Safely: Ensure your car is in a safe, flat location with the parking brake engaged.
  • Disconnect Battery: Disconnect the car battery to prevent electrical mishaps.
  • Use Insulated Tools: Use a screwdriver with an insulated handle to reduce the risk of electric shock.

2. Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s how to start a car with a bad starter using a screwdriver:

  1. Locate the Starter: Find the starter motor under the hood. It’s typically located near the engine and is connected to the transmission.
  2. Expose the Starter Terminal: You’ll see two main terminals on the starter motor: a larger one and a smaller one. The larger one is the positive terminal. Carefully expose this terminal if it’s not already accessible.
  3. Position the Screwdriver: Take your insulated screwdriver and touch it to the positive terminal of the starter motor.
  4. Bridge the Gap: While touching the screwdriver to the positive terminal, bridge the gap between the positive terminal and the smaller terminal next to it. This essentially completes the circuit and mimics the action of the starter.
  5. Turn the Key: With the screwdriver in place, return to the driver’s seat, insert the key, and turn it to the “on” position. You should hear the starter engage, and the engine should start.
  6. Remove the Screwdriver: Once the engine starts, immediately remove the screwdriver from the terminals.


Starting a car with a bad starter using a screwdriver is a handy skill to have in emergencies. However, remember that it’s not a permanent fix. If you find yourself resorting to this method frequently, it’s time to address the underlying issue by replacing the starter. Always prioritize safety when attempting any DIY car repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to start a car with a screwdriver?

While it can be done safely, it requires caution. Disconnect the battery and use an insulated screwdriver to minimize risks.

How long can I use the screwdriver method to start my car?

The screwdriver method is a temporary solution. It’s advisable to get the starter replaced as soon as possible.

Can I use any screwdriver to start the car?

Use a screwdriver with an insulated handle to reduce the risk of electrical shock.

Why does the screwdriver method work?

By bridging the gap between the positive terminal and the smaller terminal on the starter motor, you complete the circuit and mimic the action of the starter.

Can I use this method on any car?

This method may work on many cars with similar starter configurations, but it’s always best to consult your vehicle’s manual and consider professional assistance for starter issues.

8. Additional Tips for Car Maintenance

In addition to knowing how to start your car with a bad starter using a screwdriver, regular car maintenance is essential for preventing such issues. Here are some tips:

  • Regular Check-ups: Have your car regularly inspected by a mechanic to catch starter problems early.
  • Battery Maintenance: Keep your car battery in good condition by cleaning terminals and checking for corrosion.
  • Keep Connections Secure: Ensure all electrical connections in your car are secure to prevent issues.
  • Read the Manual: Familiarize yourself with your car’s manual to understand its specific starter system and maintenance requirements.

In conclusion, knowing how to start a car with a bad starter using a screwdriver can be a valuable skill in emergency situations. However, it should only be used temporarily, and the underlying starter issue should be addressed promptly to ensure the reliability of your vehicle. Regular car maintenance can help prevent starter problems in the first place.

Access Now: