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I have noticed with the late winter weather a number of posts relate to starting problems. This post does not discuss any problems that occur when the starter actually turns, but relates to the common winter problem of starter not turning. These are not to hard to diagnose:

1. Put your headlights on to full beam when you go to start the car. Do the headlights dim? If not and you get a clicking sound with no starter turning, then it is your starter or solenoid (go to #2). If they dim then it is most likely your battery (which in winter is the most likely culprit): go to #3.

2. If it is the starter, it could be a small number of things. One trick you can try to get you going temporariily, get someone to hold the key in the start position, and tap the starter with a blunt instrument (eg back of a hammer). This will often push the brushes out that touch further that will get you going at least this time and if you're lucky the next couple of times (so get to a workshop before long).

#3. If it is the battery, there are two options. a) Your battery has had the buscuit. b) Your battery is not being charged by the alternator. Option a) is most likely in winter, because the battery is most likely to give up on a really cold morning. Remember that batteries only tend to last 3 or so years. If this is the case, get a jump start and run down to your mechanic for a thorough check of the charging system. They will soon be able to diagnose a buggered battery or alternator for you - and both cost about the same to replace (if you're not doing it yourself) - about $150 or so. If you are replacing the battery, don't skimp and buy one for a Toyota. Mercedes come with oversized batteries for a reason, especially if you have a diesel, you need the extra cranking amps.

I hope that helps someone diagnose their troubles.
 
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