A starter is an electric motor needed to turn over the engine to start it. A starter consists of the very powerful DC electric motor and starter solenoid that is attached to the motor.A starter motor requires very high current to crank the engine, that's why it's connected to the battery with large cables. Turning on the ignition switch releases a small amount of power from the battery to the solenoid above the starter. This creates a magnetic field that pulls the solenoid plunger forward, forcing the attached shift yoke to move the starter drive so that its pinion gear meshes with the engine's crankshaft flywheel. When the plunger completes its travels, it strikes a contact that permits a greater amount of current to flow from the battery to the starter motor. The motor then spins the drive and turns the meshed gears to provide power to the crankshaft, which prepares each cylinder for ignition.
After the engine starts, the ignition key is released to break the starting circuit. The solenoid's magnetic field collapses and the return spring pulls the plunger back, automatically shutting off the starter motor and disengaging the starter drive. When the starter is not in use, the drive unit is retracted so that its pinion is disengaged from the flywheel. As soon as the starter is activated, the forward movement of the solenoid plunger causes the shift yoke to move the drive in the opposite direction and engage the pinion and flywheel. The pinion is locked to its shaft by a clutch that unlocks if the engine starts up and the flywheel begins turning the pinion faster than its normal speed. By allowing the pinion to spin freely for a moment, the clutch protects the motor from damage until the drive is retracted.