How To Replace Starter
If you tried to start your car and the engine will not crank, it's possible that you may need to learn how to replace the starter. An automotive starter is a fairly inexpensive part that can be replaced at home, saving the time and money it would take to visit a mechanic. Before you start replacing the starter, it's important to make sure that that is the problem. Symptoms of a bad starter include a car that will not start but has a good battery or has received a jump start. If those things are the case, it's quite likely that the starter is bad and that you will need to replace the starter.
- Open-ended wrenches
- Jack stands or a floor jack
- Socket wrench and sockets
- New starter
- Turn the car completely off and remove the keys from the ignition. Open the hood and disconnect the battery using an open-ended wrench. Secure the battery cables separately, wrapping the ends in a rag if desired so they cannot touch. This is key for safety when working with electrical components.
- Follow the battery wires from the battery to locate the starter on your specific car. In many cases, the starter will be near the bottom of the engine towards the front passenger's side tire.
- Set the car's parking break and jack up the car near the location of the starter. Be sure the car is secured before crawling under to ensure it does not fall.
- Determine if any secondary components need to be removed to gain access to the starter and allow space to remove the starter. Take note of the orientation of these components, taking a photo or drawing a sketch of the area if you'd like. This will allow you to replace each component the same way after you replace the starter. Remove any necessary components to gain access to the starter.
- Use an open-ended wrench or screwdriver to remove the electrical connections from the starter. Label each electrical wire so you know which part of the starter it's meant to be attached to.
- Unbolt the starter from the engine block using open-ended wrenches or your sockets. Take care not to break any of the bolts, using a lubricant to loosen connections if necessary. Place the bolts in a safe place, labeling them as well if you'd like to show where they were removed from.
- Remove the starter from the engine. Save the starter and return it to your local auto parts store as many will give you cash for the core, which can be recycled.
- Install the new starter, reversing the process you used to remove it. Start by placing the starter in the correct location and place the bolts back in place. Only hand tighten the bolts for now, removing any labels.
- Connect the electrical connections to the new starter. Again, connect them in the same orientation as on the old starter and remove any labels you may have placed. Use a screwdriver or open-ended wrenches to tighten the electrical connections to the starter.
- Tighten the bolts until snug using open-ended wrenches or sockets. Replace any secondary components that you may have removed to gain access to the starter. Double check the installation of the starter and secondary components to make sure that everything is reconnected properly.
- Reconnect the battery using an open-ended wrench, taking care not to touch the wires together. Be sure the connections are free from rust or other debris, allowing the battery cable to connect snugly to the battery. Carefully take the car off the jack or jack stands.
- Put the key in the ignition and try to start the car. If the installation was successful and the starter was indeed faulty, the car should fire right up and you should be ready to drive once again.