The first thing that indicates a possible bad starter is a car that does not start. If the car does not crank when the key is turned but makes a clicking sound, the lights need to be checked for dimness. If the lights are not dim, the starter is the likely problem. Another symptom is a slow crank that fails to start the engine.
When a car fails to start, there are several possible reasons behind it. Spark and fuel are the two things a car needs to start. A dead battery, a bad alternator, bad ignition, a faulty fuel pump and a bad starter are all issues that keep a car from starting. There are two parts to a starter that can fail. The first is the motor, and the second is the solenoid. One of the standard tests to determine if the starter motor is to blame is to bang on the starter box with a hammer. If the car starts after this, it is most likely the starter motor. Banging on the box is only a temporary fix, however. Solenoids make a distinct clicking sound upon engagement. If there is no click when the key is turned, then the solenoid is likely the culprit.