There are several issues that might cause a hard-start problem. The fuel pump has a check valve in it and it will sometimes go bad and cause the fuel to leak down and then it will take several times to get the fuel up to the engine. Also, this will cause a starter to overwork and, in turn, wear it out. Also, a bench-tested starter is a parts person’s hardest diagnosis as it is not always a true test of what the part is really doing on the vehicle. So, it may still be the starter beginning to drag or it could be the battery cables that are getting weak.
General Manager, Edgewood Parts