Car Starter Repair Cost Guide

Is your engine not responding when you turn the ignition key? It could be a starter problem. Unfortunately, dealing with a bad starter can prove to be a frustrating affair. For those who don’t know, the car starter is a key component that transfers power from the car’s battery to the engine, causing it to operate smoothly.

Basically, its job is to turn the engine on. Without it, your car will refuse to budge from its place because it won’t receive the necessary electric current to start the motor.

Believe it or not, even jumpstarting won’t guarantee that your car will be back on the streets, momentarily, because you are not dealing with a dead battery but a dead car starter.

What Causes a Car Starter to Go Bad?

Starters hardly ever fail, but due to some reasons, they can fail unexpectedly in the middle of a regular day. For instance, a starter with tens and thousands of miles may have experienced quite a lot of overheating over the years. This is to say that a car starter can go bad naturally with age/use.

Sometimes, poor installation can cause the starter to fail. If your car doesn’t start, and the battery test turns out good, then the car starter is the suspect over here.

You will hear a clicking noise, but the engine won’t start. Basically, your car will refuse to start. As a result, you might repeatedly turn the ignition key but to no avail.

How Much Does A Car Starter Repair Cost?

Well, we are not fortune-tellers. So, we won’t be able to tell you the exact figure in terms of dollars and cents, even if you disclose the make and model of your vehicle because the labor rates vary from one auto repair store to another. But then, we can give you a ballpark quote.

Consider the labor cost to be around $50 to $250. Some car starters are located at a convenient location, while others are buried deep somewhere, which really shoots up the labor cost.

The part itself is going to cost you several times more, ranging from $125 to $850, depending on the year/make/model of your car needing the repair. As you can tell, the car starter repair cannot be done at a laundry budget. In fact, it can cost way more than the above-quoted figures if you go to a dealership for car repair.

Auto CenterPrice
Mr. Tire
$125 - $600
$50 - $420
NAPA$168 - $780
Midas$250 - $850
Your Mechanic$220 - $800

When to Replace a Car Starter?

A car starter usually lasts for 100,000 to 200,000 miles. In fact, a starter can last for a lifetime. This should tell you that there is no scheduled date for a car starter replacement. You can replace it whenever it begins to fail or suddenly stops working.

Here are the five signs that will alert you of a bad car starter:

  • Clicking noise: When you turn the key, you will hear a clicking noise. For those who don’t know, a starter will never give up without making any noise at all.
  • Engine not firing: When you try to start the car, you will notice that only the dashboard board light will turn on, but the engine won’t fire up.
  • Overheating: If you make desperate attempts to start the car, the faulty starter can overheat, causing more issues in the process, such as overheating other electric parts.
  • Oil Leak: A bad starter can also lead to oil leaks. If the starter is soaked in engine oil, it could be a sign of a starter going bad.

How to Repair/Replace a Car Starter?

The car technician will inspect the car to determine the actual issue. Usually, he will inspect the car’s battery to see if it’s working fine. The chances are that a faulty battery may be causing the issue and not the starter.

Sometimes, light tapping at the car’s starter with a hard object also helps. Yes, gentle tapping can power it back by bringing the starter in contact with other electrical components. Of course, make sure that you are hammering it like there’s no tomorrow.

There are times when cleaning the battery and starter will do the trick. So, the mechanic will clean the parts in an attempt to solve the issue. Once the cleaning is done, the ignition key will be turned to check whether or not the engine is firing as it should.

If it’s determined that that the car starter is at fault, it’s usually the starter solenoid that’s at fault. The car technician will disconnect the car’s battery and take out the starter solenoid and replace it with a new one.

Car Starter Repair Cost: How to Save Money?

To save money on car starter repair/replacement, you can perform the replacement yourself. The key over here is that you don’t misdiagnose the issue. Keep in mind that the symptoms of a failed starter are pretty similar to other car issues.

So, you might confuse other problems to be a car starter’s fault. Thus, a proper diagnosis is a must. Once a proper diagnosis is done, the rest is easy.

If you think that you can’t replace the starter on your own, you can at least shop for the part and bring it to your car mechanic’s shop. If you shop on your own, you will usually get the part much cheaper than what the shop owners will charge you for it.

Of course, start shopping for the relevant part only once it’s determined that the car starter is at fault.

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