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How Much Does A Starter Replacement Cost? (+ FAQs)

July 15, 2021

So it looks like you’ve got starter problems and you’re going to need a starter replacement. 

This brings you to that inevitable question:

How much does a starter replacement cost?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the average starter replacement cost and the factors that affect it. We’ll also take care of some common starter replacement cost FAQs to clear up any questions you might have.

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Let’s get started.

How Much Does A Starter Replacement Cost?

A brand new starter could cost you around $50 – $350, while labor costs from a qualified mechanic could range between $150 – $1,100. In total, replacing a bad starter motor could amount to between $200 – $1450.

However, these figures could be lower if you’re able to identify car starter issues early. You could also save a lot by buying a rebuilt starter instead of a new one.

If your vehicle’s starter fails unexpectedly, you might also need to pay for your vehicle to be towed to a repair shop — unless you get a hold of a mobile mechanic who can come over instead.

Now that you have a rough estimate of the average starter replacement cost, let’s look at factors that affect these price estimates.

What Factors Affect The Starter Replacement Cost?

Starter motor replacement costs are usually affected by the year, make, and model of your car. Total labor costs could also vary based on where you’re located.

For example, the average starter motor replacement cost for a Honda Civic is about $436. However, this cost can vary based on which Honda Civic model it is and your location.

The car starter motor replacement cost can be affected by whether your vehicle needs a new ring gear or not. If a ring gear is required, you could expect to add about $180 to the total replacement cost.

Additionally, where your car starter is mounted can influence starter cost estimates. The starter motor on most vehicles is easily accessible, but other starters are mounted around engine components that are hard to access — like under the intake manifold.

We’ve covered how much a starter replacement can cost and what can affect it. Let’s now go through some common starter replacement cost FAQs.

7 Common Starter Replacement Cost FAQs

Here are some common starter replacement cost FAQs and their answers:

1. How Does A Car Starter Work?

The starter motor is connected to the car battery and helps start your car’s engine when you turn on the ignition switch. Some of its critical components include the electric motor and the starter solenoid.

When you turn on the ignition, the starter solenoid closes the electrical connection between the starter motor and the car’s battery. The starter solenoid also pushes the starter gear (pinion gear) forward to mesh it with the ring gear of the flexplate or flywheel.

From here, the starter electric motor turns the crankshaft and sets the other components of the engine in motion.

2. What Causes Starter Problems?

Here are five common causes of starter motor failure:

A. Faulty Alternator, Dead Battery, Or Corroded Battery Terminals 

The battery, starter motor, and alternator are interlinked. 

The car’s battery supplies the starter motor with the power to crank the engine and get the alternator running — which then recharges the battery. This process helps ensure that there’s always enough power for the starter motor and other electrical components.

However, if you have a bad alternator, you’ll also likely end up with a dead battery. And because the starter requires battery power, it won’t function with a dead battery or a bad alternator.

Additionally, if the battery terminals are corroded, they will restrict the amount of current channeled by the starter solenoid to the starter motor — leaving you with car starting issues.

B. Worn Out Parts And Oil leaks 

Over time, the various components of the car starter wear out, and this could leave you with a bad starter. Additionally, if your vehicle leaks oil, some of that oil could end up reaching the starter motor and causing starter failure.

C. Faulty Or Loose Wiring

When your car’s battery cables are loose, the starter motor might not receive enough power to start the engine. And when you have faulty wiring, the current from the battery might be excessive and end up damaging critical starter components like the solenoid.

D. Incorrect Installation

If the electric motor isn’t correctly installed, it might not mesh with the flywheel properly. This could leave you with a failed starter and further cause damage to the flywheel or the pinion gear.

3. What Are The Common Signs Of A Failing Starter?

Let’s take a look at the signs of a bad starter motor. If you spot some of these early on, you might be able to reduce your repair costs:

A. Engine Will Not Start

When the starter motor begins wearing out, it won’t generate enough power needed to turn the crankshaft, and your vehicle could have starting issues.

If you have to turn on the ignition multiple times before your car’s engine runs, this is most likely due to a problem with the starter relay. In this case, replacing the starter relay might resolve your car starting problems.

B. Smoke

If you see smoke while trying to start your vehicle, that could be a sign of the starter motor overheating. This could end up causing electrical problems like short circuits.

C. Clicking, Whirring, Or Grinding Noise

Unusual noises that accompany car starting — such a clicking, whirring, or grinding noise — are common signs of a bad starter motor. These noises could sometimes be due to pinion gear failure or flywheel ring gear damage.

4. Can I Drive My Car With A Faulty Starter?

Driving with a faulty starter motor is possible because once your car’s engine is running, the bad starter motor won’t be in use. 

However, if you have a starter problem, your vehicle might not respond effectively whenever you try restarting the engine.

In general, if you have a failed starter, it’s critical that you get a starter motor replacement soon.

5. Is It Better To Replace Or Repair My Starter?

If you suspect that you have a starter problem, check with a mechanic as they’ll carefully inspect your vehicle’s starter motor. If it’s not too bad, some damaged components of the bad starter motor could be easily repaired instead of being replaced.

When a mechanic recommends a starter repair over getting a replacement, you could expect to pay about $30 per hour in labor charges.

If the starter repair requires a lot of work, the mechanic would likely recommend getting a new starter instead. However, if you want a more cost-effective way of replacing your failing starter, you could buy a rebuilt starter.

6. How Does A Mechanic Replace A Starter?

Here are the steps involved in the starter motor replacement process:

  1. A mechanic turns off the ignition and then safely removes the car battery disconnecting the negative battery cable first and then the positive battery cable afterward.
  2. Next, they’ll locate your vehicle’s starter and disconnect all the mounting bolts that hold it to the engine block.
  3. Once the battery terminals are disconnected and the mounting bolts removed, the wiring to the starter motor will be disconnected.
  4. From there, the failed starter motor will be removed from its location.
  5. Next, the new starter will be mounted and each bolt that holds it in place will be tightened.
  6. The mechanic will then safely reconnect the car battery — they’ll connect the positive battery cable first and then the negative battery cable after.
  7. Once every bolt is well tightened and the car battery is reconnected, the mechanic will turn on the ignition switch and monitor any unusual noises or potential issues.

7. What Is An Easy Way To Get My Starter Replaced?

A starter repair or replacement is a complicated procedure that requires special equipment. So, if you have a starter problem, only take your vehicle to a qualified technician.

Things get even much easier if you’re able to find a mobile mechanic who can sort out your starter failure problems right on your driveway!

But when searching for a mechanic, always ensure that they:

You’d be glad to know that RepairSmith gives you an easy way to find this kind of mechanic!

RepairSmith is a convenient and affordable automotive repair and maintenance solution with ASE-certified technicians.

With RepairSmith:

Wondering how much a starter replacement or repair will cost with RepairSmith?

Simply fill out this online form to get a free quotation.

Closing Thoughts

If your car won’t start or makes unusual noises when you turn on the ignition switch, it could be a sign of starter failure. When this happens, consider getting a starter replacement or repair soon.

Remember, the earlier you address the problem, the lower the costs might be.

Fortunately, RepairSmith can help you tackle that starter motor failure issue easily! Just contact them, and they’ll send you an ASE-certified mobile mechanic that’ll fix your bad starter motor right in your driveway!