I’ve got an intermittent issue with the starter on my wife’s ML350, which to me is the worst kind of issue. Give me something that either works or doesn’t. Make it not work at all so I’ll know I’ve got something to fix. But this, this is just irritating.

Every once in a while, like every 2-3 months, her car won’t start. Turn the key, single big click, and that’s it. Sometimes it starts after a few tries, sometimes it doesn’t. Inevitably you let it sit for a day, it starts, and then it goes and works fine for months.

What I’ve never gotten to do, or had to do, was whack it with a hammer and make it start. You can’t get at the starter from the top, so I don’t know if that would make it work. That would say dying starter or a dead spot on it, but the fact that it just starts after sitting for some time is weird to me.

It also doesn’t seem to be effected by temperature. Hot out, cold out, hot starts, cold starts. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it.

So today I pulled the wheel and pulled the fender liner, which gives me a good look at the starter, pictured here:


I was able to get a ratchet onto the connections, and I was able to tighten both of them about a quarter turn. Then I backed them both off, tapped them with a hammer to free up some rust, hosed it down with Deoxit, and tightened them back up.

It's going to need a starter eventually I'm sure, I just wish the damn thing would quit once and for all instead of just being an occasional inconvenience.