A coupled magnetic-thermal model is established to study the reason for the damage of the starter motor, which belongs to the idling start-stop system of a city bus. A finite element model of the real starter motor is built, and the internal magnetic flux density nephogram and magnetic line distribution chart of the motor are attained by simulation. Then a model in module Transient Thermal of ANSYS is established to calculate the stator and rotor loss, the winding loss and the mechanical loss. Three kinds of losses are coupled to the thermal field as heat sources in two different conditions. The thermal field and the components’ temperature distribution in the starting process are obtained, which are finally compared with the already-burned motor of the city bus in reality to predict the damage. The analysis method proposed is verified to be accurate and reliable through comparing the actual structure with the simulation results. The approach in this paper provides the basis for optimizing the idling start-stop system in the future, and its key point lies in the modification of the control program to prevent the control system from sending discontinuous high frequent on-off driving signals.