Starter Engages While Engine Is Running? [Explained]

Do you ever start your engine and then have your starter engage? It’s happened to me a few times and I’m curious to know if it’s normal.

If the starter engages while the engine is running, it may be a sign that the starter motor is going bad and will need to be replaced.

The article is going to be covering what to do if your starter engages while the engine is running.

Table of Contents

How do you fix a starter that keeps running?

If your starter keeps running, there are a few possible causes and fixes.

  • Second, check the starter solenoid. The solenoid is what activates the starter, and if it’s faulty, the starter will keep running. You can test the solenoid by disconnecting the battery and jumpering the solenoid’s terminals. If the starter runs with the jumper in place, the solenoid is faulty and needs to be replaced.
  • Third, check the starter itself. If the starter is bad, it will need to be replaced.
  • Fourth, check the engine’s ground strap. The ground strap helps to electrically ground the engine, and if it’s loose or broken, the starter will keep running.
  • Finally, check the ignition switch. If the ignition switch is faulty, it can cause the starter to keep running.

If you’ve checked all of these things and the starter still keeps running, it’s time to take it to a professional mechanic to have it diagnosed and repaired.

Can a starter motor run continuously?

Starter motors are designed to run continuously for a certain amount of time, typically around 30 seconds.

However, if the starter motor is overloaded, it can overheat and cause damage to the engine. Additionally, if the starter motor is not properly maintained, it can wear out prematurely.


If your starter engages while your engine is already running, it’s likely due to a problem with your starter solenoid. This is a relatively easy problem to fix, but it’s best to consult with a professional mechanic to be sure.

In the meantime, you can try tapping on the starter with a hammer to see if that will get it to disengage.