The Average Cost for Starter Motor Replacement Is $50 to $551, Depending on Your Vehicle and if You Go to a Mechanic or DIY.
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 may also be needed such as alternator replacement, battery replacement, or electrical connection repairs. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Cost at the Mechanic: $419 to $551
A mechanic will take between two and four hours to replace a starter motor. The task is moderately difficult for someone with car care experience, but mostly just takes a few hours of removing and replacing different surrounding components. Parts are a significant portion of the cost and can vary depending on the make, while labor is usually a smaller, more consistent portion. If your vehicle is a more expensive make or rare model, the starter might cost more than average and the labor price could be a bit more.
Cost to DIY: $307 to $410
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
With a DIY starter replacement, your only cost is the price of the new part and any parts needed for the task. Usually you will only need whatever it takes to get access to the starter motor so you can loosen it with a wrench. You can buy a replacement starter motor online and install it yourself to save money, and doing so is fairly common. If your vehicle is of an older model and the price has gone down, you could expect a much lower cost. Learn how to repair a car starter in this step by step guide.
Although you will have to remove the old starter and will probably have to work underneath the car, the task might not be very hard. The most important details are to safely disconnect the battery before working on the starter and keep track of the wiring connections for the solenoid.
Keep in mind: Barring a few exceptions, all makes and models of cars have their own starters, and some are easier to reach and uninstall than others. If you plan to replace a starter, be sure to choose the right one to fit your vehicle. When in doubt, always refer to your owner’s manual so you know whether to DIY the job and what model of starter to buy.
What Is a Starter Motor Replacement?
Cars utilize an electric starting motor to turn the engine over. When the key is turned or the start button is pushed, energy from the battery is delivered to the starter solenoid, and then the starter turns the engine over using a gear that matches up with the engine’s flywheel. On most gasoline automobiles, the starter and solenoid are combined into one component. Read this article to learn more about how starter motors work.
A standard engine starter rotates at speeds ranging from 200 to 300 rpm. An issue with your starter might impede that rotation or reception of power, making it harder or impossible to start the vehicle. Starter motors are important parts for safe driving and a healthy engine, and having one run in subpar condition might cause other parts to fail sooner. Since repairing them requires meticulous electrical work, replacements are much more common than repairs.
What Does a Starter Motor Replacement Include?
Replacing a starting motor at a mechanic or auto shop, the technicians will get your vehicle ready to remove the starter, do so, and then install the new one. Then, so long as no other work is scheduled, they’ll test how it starts and runs before giving it back to you. The vehicle will probably be lifted on jacks or ramps for safety and because some starters are accessed from underneath.
The mechanic will remove any bolts and support brackets to remove the motor. It may be necessary to remove or loosen other parts, like the flywheel housing cover, before someone can reach, unbolt, and extract your starter. Once you have the old one taken out, the new starter and brackets are installed in reverse order. The process shouldn’t take more than four hours at a mechanic, and a skilled DIY expert could do the same.
What Happens if You Don’t Replace the Starter Motor?
A bad starter could leave you stranded or cause intermittent issues while starting the vehicle. Symptoms will vary depending on the nature of the problem, but one of the classic signs your starter is in trouble is a clicking or whirring sound while turning the ignition. If this happens, you should get your vehicle looked at and avoid driving as long as you hear it.
How Often to Replace Your Starter Motor?
The starter only needs to be replaced when it fails, but like many electrical car components, there aren’t consistent ranges offered. That being said, high-mileage vehicles or those that have been left to sit in harsh weather are more likely to suffer from a bad starter. In general, unusual sounds when starting your car that feel related to the engine or power generation should be looked at as soon as possible.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Your Starter Motor
- The engine not turning over at all
- Intermittent trouble starting the car
- Noises like clicking, grinding, or whirring when starting or running
- The starter keeps turning after starting
- The starter engages but there’s no motor reaction
- Smoke from the engine
- Battery failure or problems
Related Maintenance Services
- Battery replacement. Learn how to replace a dead car battery and save by reading this detailed guide.
- Electric car problems diagnosis and service
- Alternator replacement
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To help you with your first DIY project, you can also check out our top car maintenance tips here.
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