Starter Replacement Cost

Last Updated on December 23, 2022
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Most of us start each day on our way to work. Although the car is no longer a fad but a necessity, many of us do not know the mechanisms behind the operation of a vehicle, let alone its components.

The same can be said about the starter. As the name indicates, the starter has the function of starting the vehicle. The problems that occur when starting the car can be caused by the battery, by a starting relay, but especially by the starter.

How much does a starter replacement cost?

When it comes to replacing a starter, you will have to choose between buying a new model or a rebuilt one. Be prepared to pay anywhere between $90 and $340 for a starter, plus $160 to $1,200 for the labor costs. This would result in a total cost of $250 to $1,500. Though, in most cases, the expenses with the starter replacement would be anywhere between $500 and $800.

In the table below you will find the average price charged by some of the most reputable suppliers for starter replacement.

Supplier Starter Cost
Midas $100-$750 $100-$750
YourMechanic $375-$575 $115-$700
NAPA $75-$550 $120-$650
Autozone $75-$1,400 NA
Amazon $125-$1,650 NA
Pep Boys  $200-$600 $100-$850
Walmart $75-$350 NA

The largest percentage of the starter replacement cost is labor and this depends on the make and model of the car. This is because in order to get the new starter in place, the mechanic will have to disassemble a large part of the steering assembly or the engine.

In order to get a better idea about it, in the table below you will find the average prices for replacing a starter for various vehicle models.

Vehicle Starter Cost Labor Cost
Toyota Camry $100-$375 $80-$350
Toyota Corolla $125-$450 $75-$275
Honda CRV $250-$650 $105-$375
BMW X5 $120-$525 $210-$600
Hyundai Sonata $175-$625 $100-$350
Ford F150 $300-$650 $85-$300
Honda Civic $195-$775 $210-$650
Honda Accord $200-$750 $100-$300
Toyota Rav4 $300-$450 $150-$500

Cost factors

The expenses with this car part repair will be affected by several factors such as the brand of the starter, the condition of the starter, the labor cost, and the type of car. We are going to go over each of these in the following lines.

You might also like our articles on the expenses related to the replacement of a car battery, car battery terminal, or car fuse box.

Labor costs

As we already mentioned above, the mechanic rate is the most important cost factor when replacing the starter. For instance, in case the mechanic charges $230 per hour and he needs to work 1.5 to 2 hours, you will have to pay around $460 for labor alone. In general, it takes around two hours to replace the starter, but there are car models that need more work.

Though nationally, a mechanic will charge anywhere between $20 and $210 per hour, so the labor cost will vary from one location to another.

Car teardown

Another important cost factor for starter replacement is the car teardown. For instance, there are engines where the starter is easy to access and the work can be done in just one hour, while others are more complicated and require more work.

The mechanic might need to take out the full ignition assembly, the throttle body, the gasket, and the valve. It would take anywhere between 3 and 4 hours, which will result in higher costs.

Condition and brand

Car Starter ModelPlan on spending anywhere between $360 and $920 only for the starter, if you buy an OEM piece from a dealership. The most expensive brand would be Audi and Honda, while Ford and Toyota are cheaper.

Though, you can purchase rebuilt starter motors. These broken starters have been removed and repaired in order to meet the OEM specification. The cost of such a starter starts at around $55 and goes up to $200.

Also, you can buy made-to-fit brands, that are made to fit into common cars. However, aftermarket starters will not be available for all vehicles. But it is almost always possible to purchase a second-hand starter for only $30 to $55.

It is important to know that there are mechanics that might not accept replacing the starter if you don’t purchase it from their own care service.

Starter overview

The electric motor is made of a direct current electric motor and a coupling system. It ensures the quick and trouble-free start of the car, being in direct connection with the engine. Usually positioned in the rear area of the engine, the starter is connected to the flywheel. The starter pinion acts at the level of the flywheel that it sets in motion.

Therefore, the fuel pump is activated and the fuel thus reaches the level of the injectors. If there are problems when starting the car, a visit to the service is indicated to check the condition of the starter.

Symptoms of a faulty starter

There are a number of signs that you may have problems with your starter: either it turns the flywheel but at a too low speed to support starting the engine, or it makes abnormal noises that may worry you, or it does not turn even though the characteristic sound tells you that the switch has happened. Among the most common causes that can lead to starter failure are:

  • the starter does not turn and does not make any sound: the battery is low; the circuit of the switch is damaged or its coil has a fault;
  • the starter emits smoke: there are voltage fluctuations in the battery, which can lead to its heating, with the risk of it being short-circuited;
  • the starter does not rotate, but makes noises: the starter circuit has poor contact or a short circuit has occurred in the motor assembly;
  • noisy operation of the starter: long wear of the parts that make up the starter can cause an additional effort for it to act on the flywheel;
  • the engine does not start, and a knock is heard in the background: the flywheel is cracked or has deformations, and the electromagnetic valve of the starter motor may be non-functional.

What can you do when the starter shows signs that it is defective or has even broken down?

Experienced motorists have probably encountered at least one situation in which the starter does not work. There can be several reasons for this. As we mentioned, most often it is about insufficient charging of the battery, the existence of problems with the retractor relay, electrical conductivity problems on the circuit, or it can even be about mechanical deficiencies.

In this situation, the reason must be clearly understood, because most of the repair work can be done independently, without resorting to specialists.

In the situation where you do not have the necessary knowledge, it is best to contact a car shop and, in particular, a car electrician.

Final thoughts

You should budget anywhere between $550 and $850 for replacing the starter for a vehicle. Though, if you choose to do this work yourself, you will only spend around $100. The costs can get a lot higher, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

In general, it would take anywhere between one and three hours to replace the starter.

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