Common Hot Start Problems in Chevrolet Trucks and SUVs That Aren't Failed Starters

Posted on: 9 October 2018

If your Chevrolet Silverado  is having a problem starting when the engine is hot but starts perfectly fine when its cold, then a starter replacement might not be the best fix for the problem. While replacing a starter is typically the first step in the troubleshooting process for an engine starting issue, replacement may not solve the grinding, bumping, and clicking problems you are experiencing.

To troubleshoot your truck's starting problem, consider each of these other common causes of hot start problems in Chevy trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

Too Much Heat Is Being Generated from the Nearby Exhaust Pipes or Motor

When a starter grinds only when a vehicle is hot, this is typically caused by expansion in the metal parts. Unfortunately, the starter on your Chevy Silverado is located next to the engine block and right above a large exhaust pipe. Both of these things generate a lot of heat.

When heat expansion causes starter grinding, a heat shield plate can be installed between the starter's solenoid and the offending part to resolve the issue.

A Starter Shim Has Failed

If your truck's starter was installed with shims then it is possible one of them failed. If the bolt hole on the shim fails, then it can move out of place and give the starter just enough give to push it out of alignment. If one of your starter's shims is damaged, then simply replacing it should solve the current starting problem.

Starter Bolt Engine Block Borehole Cracked 

The starter for your vehicle bolts into the engine block with two large bolts. On some older trucks and SUVs that have a lot of off-road miles or that have had mechanical problems causing the engine to severely overheat, the borehole for one of the bolts can crack. When a borehole on the engine block cracks, it must be repaired by welding and creating a new hole. A failed borehole allows the starter to come into contact with the flywheel when the vehicle is hot and all of the steel is at maximum expansion.

The Starter or Vehicle's Electrical System Has a Grounding Issue

Finally, one common problem found with older model Chevy trucks and SUVs is they often have grounding issues in the electrical system. Grounding problems are very simple and inexpensive for any mechanic to fix and often grounding wire failures can mimic starter failures as well. For this reason, have the grounding wires tested before replacing the starter.