Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'92 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Failed Starter Diagnosis
I recently had a starter
replaced on my '92 Grand Prix. It was not detected at the time that it
was put on the diagnostic computer at the shop. Is it normal for starter
problems not to show up beforehand on the diagnostic system? Or not have
any symptoms that would be noticeable to the driver?
I would first ask what
type of diagnostic test did you have performed? If the diagnostic test
involved connecting to the vehicles computer then you would not
receive any information that would report the condition of the starter.
To understand why, you first have to understand that all vehicles are
made up of many operating systems. Even though all these system are part
of the vehicle and may even share some components with each other, does
not mean that theyre all communicating to one central system or
computer. A good example is your starter. The computer knows it exists
only because it sees the crank/start command from the ignition switch.
Other than that, the computer knows nothing more about the starter. You
could even remove the starter from the vehicle and the computer would
not know the difference. As for starter failure, it can happen many ways.
Sometimes a starter will be slow at cranking the engine, make a grinding
sound, just click or give up without a sound. Needing a replacement starter
in a vehicle of your age is not out of the question and not surprising
except when you really need it.