How Can You Replace a Car's Starter?


Quick Answer

Removing and replacing the starter on a typical vehicle involves removing two or three bolts, disconnecting the starter's wiring harness and pulling out the starter, and then reversing these steps to install the replacement. The part of the task that can be tricky is the removal of other parts in the engine compartment to provide enough clearance to remove the bolts and the starter. The parts that need to be removed vary for each model of vehicle.

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Full Answer

Some vehicles' starter motors and solenoids are in different locations; check your vehicle's maintenance guide to determine whether this is the case for your starter. If the motor and solenoid are in different places, additional tests may be necessary to determine which part needs to be replaced.

In general, starters are easier to replace on vehicles with in-line four-cylinder engines, such as compact cars and small sedans with smaller engines that leave more room around them to reach the parts and remove them. For a front-wheel drive car, the starter is usually located on the passenger side of the engine compartment and involves removing the airbox to access the starter. For a rear-wheel drive vehicle, accessing the starter can involve removal of exhaust components, the steering column or shaft, fuel lines or other parts. Have the starter replaced by a professional technician if you are uncomfortable performing this repair.

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