Starter Replacement Cost

Do you want to know how much a starter replacement costs? If so, you are on the right page.

It’s disappointing to get into your car and turn the key to start, just for nothing to happen. Sometimes you’ll hear a click/whirling sound, which signals a bad starter. The cost and how long you will have to stay without your car before the issue is resolved will immediately start worrying you.

This brings us to the question, How much does Starter Replacement Cost? Continue reading, as the article will enlighten you on all you need to know concerning starter replacement. Tips on how to do the job yourself will be shared too.

How Much Does Starter Replacement Cost?

You can expect to pay between $80 and $350 for a starter replacement, depending on the make, model, and whether you buy a rebuilt or new starter. Of course, labor costs will be higher if you don’t install it yourself.

The prices vary depending on the problem and the model, year, and make of your car. For most cars, their starters can be accessed easily and changed (removed & replace) in just one hour, while for others, they can be more problematic. For example, the starter could be hidden under components of another engine, like an intake manifold.

Replacing your starter completely is a very good DIY project for those with the necessary skills and equipment.

Also Read: How to Start a Car with a Bad Starter (9 Fast Ways)

Breakdown of Starter Replacement Cost

Starter Replacement Cost

When the experts Fix it

Based on some criteria, taking your vehicle to a local auto repair shop should cost between $250 to $400.

Location of Local Auto Repair Shop

The average rate for labor varies between countries and states. A state with the cheapest rate for repairs is Ohio, Maine, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Michigan. New Jersey, Georgia, California, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia are the most expensive states (In ascending order).

Model and Make of the Car

The car parts are likely to get less expensive, depending on the car’s familiarity. They are this way due to demand and supply. Therefore, the easier the car item (a starter in this case) can be found, the cheaper it gets.

When you search different parts shops and websites, you’ll discover that a high-quality and new starter’s average price is $150. And because the job wouldn’t take time (1 hour at maximum), the cost for labor would be modest – like $80.

So roughly adding up to $230 total, taxes included.

When the car is less familiar, the figures we already calculated above are expected to increase. A significant advantage of hiring a specialist to fix it is that insurance covers the services and any other thing that might go wrong. Ensure you’re on the safe side by getting a warranty before the starter’s repairs.

DIY Method

It’s less expensive to replace the starter by yourself. The cost gets lower because you will not have to pay for labor and just have to cover the cost of the parts alone. However, you will spend up to $150 taxes on the starter motor. So you should expect to pay around that price for it.

The old starter can be removed and replaced with a new one with a few tools. Rachet with a 1/4″ or 3/8″ drive with extensions could work. You might need a headlamp or torch, and occasionally, you should be able to lift your vehicle off the floor.

On this note, an axle stand and Jack or accessibility to an inspection pit or hydraulic ramp are required.

What Factors Affect the Starter Replacement Cost?

The starter replacement cost is often affected by the car’s model, year, and make. Your location can also determine the total cost of labor.

For example, the average starter replacement cost of a Honda Civic should be about $436. But this cost could vary depending on your location and the model of the Honda Civic.

The starter replacement cost could be affected based on whether your car needs new or old ring gear. If it needs a new ring gear, $180 could be the expected amount to add to the total starter replacement cost.

Where the car starter is mounted can also influence the starter replacement cost. It’s easy to access the starter motor in most cars, while others are difficult to access because they are mounted on engine components like below the intake manifold.

Also Read: Where Is the Starter Located? (How to Locate the Starter in Any Car)

How the Starter Motor Works

There’s an electric motor in the car starter that spins your starter gear. The motor gets its power from the car battery. Turning your ignition key makes the Starter solenoid close and gives power to your starter motor.

While this happens, the starter gear pushes forward to come in contact with the engine’s flywheel. Once the gear gets engaged, the starter motor starts turning as the flywheel spins.

The crankshaft of the engine turns, and the piston moves up and down the cylinder wall due to the flywheel’s turning. This starts the internal combustion engine’s cycle, and the engine cranks and runs by itself. Immediately the engine starts running, release your key to disengage the starter.

Then, for the starter gear to avoid damage, it falls back, avoiding the flywheel as your engine runs by itself. When the engine is turned off, the process repeats from the beginning when you try to crank your car.

Also Read: How Long Do Starters Last? (Every Factor Explained)

What Causes Starter Problems?

Starter Replacement Cost

There are 3 common causes for a starter motor to fail:

  1. Faulty Alternator
  2. Corroded Battery Terminals
  3. Dead Battery

The alternator, battery, and Starter motor are interlinked.

The power that gets the alternator running by cranking the engine comes from the car battery, and the alternator recharges your battery in return. This process ensures the right amount of power is supplied to your starter motor and other electric components.

But then, if your alternator is bad, you’ll have a dead battery. Due to the fact that the starter requires battery power, it’ll not work if it has a bad alternator or dead battery.

Additionally, if your battery terminals become corroded, the current amount channeled by your starter solenoid to your starter motor will be restricted, leaving your car with starting problems.

Oil leaks and worn-out parts

With time, different parts of your car starter wear out, and it could cause your starter to go bad. In addition, if your car leaks oil, most of it could reach your starter motor, thereby causing your starter to fail.

Faulty/Loose Wiring

If your vehicle’s battery cables are loose, your starter motor may not receive sufficient power to start the engine. And when the wiring is faulty, it might lead to excessive current from your battery, which damages vital components of the starter like a solenoid.

Installation not done correctly

When you don’t correctly install your electric motor, it and the flywheel may not mesh properly. As a result, you could damage the pinion gear or flywheel further and have a failed starter.

Signs Of A Bad Starter

How do you know that your starter is faulty? You can note several signs to know when the car’s starter is faulty. Some common signs include

1. Clicking Sound

When you turn on your ignition switch and hear a clicking sound, it’s an indicator that your starter might be failing. When the starter solenoid is faulty, it doesn’t allow contacts in the solenoid close completely.

In addition, your starter motor might be bad and incapable of spinning your ring gear, using enough power to turn your flywheel.

The clicking sound could indicate a dead battery; therefore, your battery should be checked first. If the battery isn’t the problem, then the starter problem is the next highest option of the problem the clicking sound is indicating.

2. Whirring Noise

The whirring noise mostly points out the ring gear not engaging with your flywheel properly. It’s possibly spinning freely while it gets no resistance from your car’s engine. On the other hand, it might be because of too worn gear or pinion that’s not engaging like it’s supposed to.

Either way, your starter needs to work for your car to run again. When your key is turned, a grinding noise might add up to the whirring noise. Any unusual noise you hear when you turn your key is not a good sign, so it would be necessary to replace the starter soon.

3. Nothing is Happening as you Turn your Key

When your car doesn’t start and turning the key doesn’t work, it can be a result of a bad Starter or electrical components. First, get rid of obvious things that might be the cause, like a battery cable that is rusted.

If you cannot find another problem, the starter motor might have died completely. Next, you can test if the motor is bad in a car repair shop. If the results say it’s bad, you need to replace it.

Starter Replacement Cost

Do I Need to Repair or Replace My Starter?

Inspect the whole starting system carefully, or let a mechanic check to know if your starter is the cause of the problem. If it turns out to be it, you will have to inspect the starter thoroughly to point out the problem source.

While some spoilt starter components can be rebuilt easily, others require time and significant components. Therefore, it might be cheaper to replace the starter completely for a major rebuilding project. This will help save time, whether it’s a professional replacing the starter or doing it yourself.

Also Read: Where to Hit Starter With Hammer (Answered)

Benefits of a Starter Replacement

A fully functional starter in your car is essential because your engine will not start without it, and it’ll be impossible to drive your car. Also, because the starter is an electrical motor, it’ll need to be replaced at least once during your car’s life cycle. So inspecting your car regularly is essential.

Inspect the starter during your annual check-ups and all routine maintenance work, as it can be subjected to tear and wear, and it is a vital component in your car.

Picking up on potential problems early enough will help prevent you from worrying about a faulty or damaged part later. In addition, it helps you to be proactive and avoid any problems with your starter.

It’s frustrating for your car to refuse to start when you want it to. Therefore, making sure your starter is working as it’s supposed to will help you prevent that kind of nasty surprise.

How to Save Money on Starter Replacement

Starter replacement is very straightforward, so the labor it involves shouldn’t be expensive. Moreover, the work doesn’t need more specialist equipment than a jack, owned by many car owners, usually in their garage or cars.

If you’re confident and have little experience fixing cars, you can do the repair yourself. Then, you can order the parts online, while the fitting is straightforward. Just be sure you’ve diagnosed the issue properly to ensure the root cause. Otherwise, you’ll just waste your money and time.

Many auto shops’ standard service is a starter replacement, so you may find some discounts or deals if you try calling around your local area. In addition, you can receive quotes in person, over your phone, or online, so try looking around to find a reasonable quote for your work.

How Does a Mechanic Replace a Starter?

Steps the mechanic takes to replace your starter:

  1. First, the mechanic turns the ignition off and safely removes the car battery—To do this, the battery’s negative cable is disconnected first, then the battery’s positive cable is disconnected afterward.
  2. Next, he’ll locate your car’s starter to disconnect all mounting bolts holding it to your engine block.
  3. After disconnecting battery terminals and removing mounting bolts, he’ll disconnect the starter motor wiring.
  4. Then, the damaged starter motor is removed from where it’s located.
  5. Next, the new starter is mounted in, and he’ll tighten every bolt that’s supposed to hold it.
  6. The mechanic then reconnects your car battery safely — connecting the battery cable that’s positive first and the negative one next.
  7. Once he’s done tightening every bolt very well and reconnecting your car battery, he’ll turn the ignition switch on to monitor any potential issues or unusual noises.

Check out this video for more tips on how to replace a starter

Can I Drive With a Faulty Starter?

Like the name, a starter operates only when starting the engine. Once your engine starts running, you don’t necessarily need a starter to continue your car’s operations. But it’s important to get a new starter or immediately call your mechanic to inspect the starter issue.

Once the engine is turned off, a bad starter might prevent the continual operation of your car.

Frequently Asked Questions – Starter Replacement Cost

How much should it cost to replace a starter?

The cost of a new starter may be from $80 to $350, the labor cost should be factored in too, and this may cost between $150 and $1,000. For many cars, a complete starter replacement costs like $500.

Can I replace a starter myself?

It’s either you buy an expensive new starter or rebuilt starter that is good, just like a new starter [source: Allen]. Then, when you realize your starter is the problem, replace the starter yourself and save yourself the stress of going to a mechanic.

How long do starters usually last?

On average, a starter motor can last for a hundred thousand to fifty thousand miles. In most cars, the motor lasts throughout the lifetime of that car, while in others, it could fail prematurely.

How long does it take a mechanic to replace a starter?

Because a starter motor can be complex, it generally takes two to four hours to replace the starter completely. However, for cars with starters that are easily accessible, when taken to a professional mechanic, the time spent should be closer to two hours than four hopefully.

What does a blown starter sound like?

When the key is turned, or the start button is pushed, and you hear a clicking sound, that is one symptom of a bad starter. However, some starters die without even making any noise at all. Some announce their impending death by making grinding and whirling sounds.

Is it my starter or battery?

The signs of a dead battery are noise from a cranking engine that doesn’t start and low-pitched whining sounds. No sounds at all is also a flat battery sign. Instead, check for visible signs like battery warning light illuminating, although this could be a sign of another problem.

Conclusion – Starter Replacement Cost

When you hear a grinding, clicking, or whirring sound as you turn your key, you’re likely to replace your starter soon.

Most people seek help from qualified mechanics to do the job, while others do it themselves. The expected cost is around $500 for your starter motor to be replaced. Although depending on your type of car, you might spend more.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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