Dear 100 Hour Board,
My old car (over 20 years old) was having a transmission problem so it didn't get driven for a while (almost two weeks). After it was fixed, someone mentioned that the starter sounded really dry. Is it possible that the starter is only dry because it wasn't driven, and it'll get better the more it gets used? Or am I doomed and will I have to get a new starter?
I ran your question by my brother-in-law who used to be work as a mechanic at his dad's shop and he said:
"That’s a weird thing to say about the starter because it’s always dry it doesn’t have oil running through it. But I would say if the car starts easily each time don’t worry about it just leave it. If the car is having trouble starting then it probably needs to be replaced soon. If a mechanic told you the starter sounded dry, maybe go to a different mechanic. I told my dad that and he said that was extremely weird."
Most people do have to change the starter a few times throughout the life of a car. Some things that would be more cause of concern are if your car won't start on the first try, it takes a long time to start even though the battery is fully charged, or makes a grinding or whining sound like in this video at 0:58. If your car is acting like that or makes that sound, then I would suggest taking it to a mechanic to see if it is the starter or something else, but if it just "sounds dry" and is still starting fine, it should be nothing to worry about.
I also have an older car that doesn't work perfectly, and last week my friend told me, "Cars don't ever get better by themselves." Unfortunately, I think he may be right.