DIY Car Starter Replacement

Apr 8, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

If you think your car needs a new car starter, also known as a starter solenoid and starter motor, then you can save money by installing the replacement yourself. Of course, it is always best to bring your vehicle to a mechanic or other professional if you don’t feel comfortable working under the hood or are unfamiliar with the basic components of your car. That being said, it is possible to “Do It Yourself” with the right tools and a bit of patience. 

Check the Engine

Before you begin with a DIY starter replacement, make sure that the starter is truly the problem. If you thought the starter was broken because twisting the key only turns the dash lights on dimly, does nothing, or results in the solenoid clicking or buzzing, then be sure to check the cables and battery. Start by charging the battery and making sure it holds a charge. You can also check for issues with the electrical connections. If that doesn’t work, then the problem is truly the starter. Once you know your starter is actually broken, then you can continue with the following steps.

The Basics

Before doing anything, make sure you take basic safety precautions. Put on protective eyewear and make sure the car is cool. Start by opening up your car’s hood to find where the starter is connected with the transmission’s bell housing. Check whether you will need to work underneath your car to inspect and take out the starter. No matter the case, be sure your car is on a level surface and you’ve turned on the parking brake. Raise your car on jack stands if you will be working underneath the vehicle.

Replace the Starter

Now you can begin the replacement. First, disconnect the negative cable of the battery and wrap the end in a shop towel, moving it out of the way. Mark your starter electrical wires so you know where they go, then remove them. Take out the starter’s mounting bolts and then the starter itself. Be careful when you take out the last bolt, since the starter may simply fall off, and the component is fairly heavy. Before installing the new starter motor, confirm that it is identical to the old starter. You can also use this opportunity to make sure the flywheel doesn’t have to be replaced. Next, you will want to put the new starter in place and attach the mounting bolts. Tighten the bolts according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Connect your electrical wires to your new starter and reconnect your negative battery cable. Finally, check your work by starting your car.

DIY car repairs can help you save time and money. Replacing your car starter on your own is certainly possible if you are precise and patient.

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