What Is The Replacement Cost For My Car's Starter?

Your car's starter is a vital part of your vehicle — as the name implies, it's necessary to make your car start. Replacing a starter that's gone bad can be costly, however. Find out what your options are and when it makes more sense to sell your vehicle instead.

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What Is The Replacement Cost For My Car's Starter?

Numerous components work together to start your car, one of them being the car starter. This cylindrical part uses the energy from the battery to fire up your engine. However, this part can go bad and you’ll be left with a car you can’t start.

Learn more about the starter below, how much a car starter costs to replace, and what you can do if replacement is out of your budget.

What Is A Car Starter?

bad car starter

A car starter is exactly what it sounds like: a vehicle component that starts your car.

It is a small motor powered by the battery. Once the battery delivers enough power to the starter, the starter can, in turn, crank the engine and power on your car.

This is a simple process that requires numerous moving parts to work together to get your vehicle to turn on. So, if you find yourself with a car that won’t start, the starter is a good first place to look to check for issues.

Tips To Ensure Your Car Starter Lasts

Car starters are one of the longest-lasting parts in vehicles. They can last to around the 100,000-mile mark before showing signs of wear. A better rule of thumb, though, for a car start lifespan is 80,000 starts or about 480 starts per year.

Even though your starter is likely to have a long lifespan, you probably want to do your best to maximize that. Here are some things that you can do to keep your car starter running as long as possible:

  1. Clean The Connector Wires: The starter connects to the battery through wires. Cleaning these wires from time to time will prevent corrosion as dirt and grime can wear down the wires. Preventing premature wire degradation will keep the current from the battery to the starter running strong.

  2. Tighten The Mounting Bolts: Mounting bolts keep the starter motor in place. If they become loose, the starter drive flywheel won’t engage and you’ll hear a grinding sound when starting the engine. Tightening the bolts prevents this.

  3. Clean The Solenoid: The solenoid is the part of the starter that attaches to the positive terminal of the battery. By cleaning this component, you’re preventing dirt and debris from building up and corroding the solenoid.

  4. Clean The Battery Terminals: Battery terminals are prone to corrosion thanks to the battery acid. Cleaning the terminals helps to prevent corrosion and, in turn, degradation of the starter.

  5. Periodically inspect the flywheel: The rotating flywheel enables the starter to crank the engine. Attached to it is the pinion gear which if worn, missing, or cracked can wear out the starter motor faster. By checking this part from time to time, you can catch problems early on.

Symptoms That You Have Car Starter Problems

Even if you don’t know much about cars, you can still easily identify starter problems. These are some common symptoms:

bad car starter symptoms
  • Your Vehicle Won’t Start:This is the clearest sign that you might have a bad car starter. If you turn the key and nothing happens, it’s time to get the starter checked.

  • Clicking Before Ignition: When you turn your key and hear clicking but the engine doesn’t turn on, this indicates a starter malfunction.

  • A Whirring Sound When You Turn The Key: Instead of the clicking sound, your starter might make a whirring sound. This means that while the starter turns on, the engine does not.

  • Erratic Starting: Sometimes when a starter is on its way out, it will start the car sometimes but not other times. Your car should start reliably every time, so if this is happening, then your starter might be on its way out.

  • There Is Smoke When You Start The Motor: If you’re trying to turn on your car and you are greeted with a sight of smoke, the problem could be your starter motor. In this case, do not keep trying to turn the car on as it will overheat the motor.

  • Burning Odor: Similar to seeing smoke when you try to start your cart, smelling a burning odor can also be a sign of the starter malfunctioning.

  • Starter Motor Grinds: If the gears in the starter’s motor are worn out or broken, you’ll hear a grinding noise when the car starts. Without repair, this symptom can evolve into engine damage.

  • Starting The Car Causes Interior Lights To Dim: When you turn your key to “start” and notice that your lights are unusually dim, there might be an issue with your starter control circuit.

How Much Does A Car Starter Replacement Cost?

If you’ve realized that you now need a new car starter, your next thought might be “how much does a car starter cost?”

The average car starter cost is between $80 and $400 for the part alone. The total cost, including labor, will be closer to $500.

In some cases though, you might need to repair or replace other parts that are associated with the starter such as:

  • The Battery.

  • The Engine.

  • Connecting Wires.

Who Buys Cars With Bad Starters?

Because the car starter replacement cost can be a little steep, and if your car is at or over 100,000 miles, it’s understandable that you’d rather sell your car than get a new starter. Plus, your vehicle might even have other signs of excess wear and tear that simply getting a new automobile seems like the better idea.

bad car starter replacement cost

While selling an old car with a broken start can be difficult, JunkCarMasters makes it easy.

We don’t care how damaged your car is or even if it can’t start—we’ll buy it! Plus, our unique car value estimator makes sure that you get the best deal. Here’s how it works:

  1. Get an estimate for your car in 90 seconds by using our calculator.

  2. Accept our offer!

  3. Schedule a free pick-up.

  4. Collect your check!

Our team strives to make selling your non-starting vehicle easy and simple: we don’t haggle or hassle and you can have your car off your driveway in 24 to 48 hours.

Try out our calculator today and find out what your car is worth!

How Long Does A Car Starter Last?

Car starters are designed to last a long time. One is unlikely to last the entire lifespan of a vehicle, but they typically function well until you hit about 100,000 miles or 80,000 car starts.

How Long Does It Take To Replace A Starter?

A starter replacement service takes about 4 hours to complete. The mechanic must disconnect a series of electrical wiring, replace the starter, then reconnect everything again.

Can I Drive With A Bad Starter?

If your starter is so bad that you can’t even start your car, then you won’t be able to drive at all. However, if you’re still able to start the car but you experience bad starter symptoms, you should avoid driving.

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