The Average Cost for Car Starter Replacement Is $420-$551 Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
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This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as battery cable replacement, may also be required. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a More Accurate Estimate for Your Car Starter Replacement Using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $419-$551
- Parts: $307-$410
- Labor: $112-$141
You can expect an auto repair shop to take two to four hours to replace your starter. The job involves disconnecting the battery, removing the starter, then installing and connecting the new one. It will often be easier for a mechanic to do this than for you to do it at home because they have a lift, which makes access under the car much easier.
Cost To DIY: $307-$410
- Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Parts Needed:
Replacing your car starter yourself can help you save money, but it isn’t as easy as replacing an air filter. While the process itself is usually straightforward, the starter can be much more difficult to access, usually underneath the car and attached to the engine or transmission. You may also need to remove other components to reach the starter, depending on how your car is designed.
It’s also important to note that there are many different types of car starters on the market, and most of them fit a specific engine or vehicle. If you’re planning to change your starter yourself, make sure you choose the right one for your car. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual.
What Is a Car Starter?
A car starter is the component that starts your vehicle’s internal combustion engine. When you turn on the ignition switch, a small current will be produced to activate the starter relay, which completes a circuit that transmits a large amount of electric power directly from the battery to the starter solenoid and motor. The solenoid engages the starter gear with the ring gear or flywheel on the engine, while the motor starts to rotate and provides the energy needed to get the engine running.
What Does a Car Starter Replacement Involve?
Before you start replacing your car starter, you need to raise your vehicle with a jack and keep it in place with jack stands and wheel chocks. After you’ve located the starter, use hand tools to disconnect the negative battery cable. Next, unscrew the starter retaining bolts, remove the starter, and detach the wires from the starter and solenoid. Note that you might have to remove other components to reach the starter.
When installing your new car starter, make sure all the wires are connected to the correct locations, and that they are not touching each other. Finally, reconnect the negative battery cable and test your new car starter by turning and then releasing the ignition key. If the engine cranks and the starter disengages as it should, it means that you’ve performed a successful installation. Replacing a car starter can take up to four hours if you do it yourself. However, if you leave the repair to a good mechanic, you can get back on the road in as little as two hours.
While you’re replacing your car starter, you may also want to check other related components to ensure they’re in good condition. Examples of these components include the starter solenoid, battery, and wiring.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your Car Starter?
The first sign that a starter has reached the end of its life is that occasionally you will turn the key, but the engine will not crank. A weak battery can sometimes cause this as well, but if your battery voltage is good, the problem will likely be the starter itself. Sometimes tapping the starter lightly with a hammer can make it work again, but this will only buy you time until the starter fails completely. At this point, it will not start the car at all and can leave you stranded.
How Often To Get a Car Starter Replacement
Typically there is no set interval for a starter replacement. However, if you begin running into the situation described above, where once in a while you turn the key, the engine doesn’t crank, and your battery is good, you should get the starter replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of not being able to start your engine and being stranded. If you take a lot of short trips and start your engine frequently, you may need to replace your starter more often than if you mainly take long highway trips.
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Common Symptoms You Need To Replace Your Car Starter
Below are a few signs indicating that you may have a faulty car starter:
- Engine won’t turn over
- Intermittent starting issues
- Unusual noises, such as grinding, clicking, or whirring
- Starter continues to run after starting
- Smoke from under the hood
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with a car starter replacement:
- Battery cable replacement
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