How Do I Change a Starter?


– What is the starter motor?

– Step 1: Locate the starter

– Step 2: Remove the starter motor.

– Step 3: Replace the renovated or new starter

– Step 4: Perform a starter test

Replacing the starter becomes necessary when there are signs that it is defective: it no longer works, permanently or occasionally, with or without chattering. Other than accessibility, replacing the starter is within reach of any good handyman, provided that you follow a few simple instructions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing a starter.

What is a starter?

The starter is an auxiliary electric motor powered by the battery: its role is to drive the car’s engine at an average speed of 300 rpm, allowing it to start.

It consists of three parts.

The electric motor

– The motor is powered by the battery.

– It is connected by a large-diameter cable (16 to 35 mm² cross-section).

Reminder: the section of the cable corresponds to the diameter of the circular surface.

The solenoid

– It is a large relay attached to the starter body. An electrical switch between the battery and the starter is controlled by the ignition key in the “start” position.

– It has two connections:

◦ the battery cable;

◦ and a thinner electrical wire (between 2 and 3.5 mm²) coming from the key switch.

A mechanical system

– This system is operated by the solenoid.

– It allows the starter pinion to mesh with the teeth of the flywheel to drive it.

Equipment needed to change a starter.

    • Cloth 
    • Angled eye wrench
    • Tightening key 
    • Flat wrench

1. Locate the starter

The starter is always located close to the flywheel, i.e. at the engine’s junction and the gearbox.

There are a few exceptions with some Stop and Start systems where starting is done using a starter-alternator located at the traditional alternator location.

Good to know: the Stop and Start system allow the engine to be stopped and restarted without driver intervention under certain conditions when the vehicle is idle (stop at a traffic light, traffic jams, etc.). The Stop and Start system aims to save fuel and reduce pollution.

2. Remove the starter motor.

Carry out prior dismantling if necessary 

– Start by consulting the technical journal dedicated to your car, where all the removal and installation operations are recorded in detail.

Good to know: technical journals are available at auto parts stores, auto centers, or the Internet.

– Depending on the vehicle, access to the starter motor is more or less complicated. This may require additional disassembly and the use of a lifting crane.

Removing the starter motor

– Disconnect the battery:

◦ disconnect one of the two battery terminals;

◦ isolate this terminal by covering it with a cloth, for example.

Important: Disconnecting the battery must be the first step.

– Disconnect the electrical connections on the solenoid:

◦ Disconnect the battery cable by unscrewing the retaining nut with a wrench (usually a 13″ open-end wrench);

◦ do the same for the starter control wire, most often by unscrewing a nut with an 8

Good to know: it is sometimes a snap-on electrical connector.

– If there is one, remove the rear bracket that holds the starter against the engine block.

– Remove the 3 fasteners from the starter nose (the part attached to the gearbox side) with a 13, 16 or 17 wrench.

– Remove the starter from the engine.

3. Replace the reconditioned or new starter

Once the starter has been refurbished or replaced with a “standard exchange” part, proceed with the reverse removal procedure.

Good to know: Check the compatibility of the new starter with your car model.

Position the starter using the centring bushing.

– Make sure the starter has a centring bushing on one of its mountings.

Good to know: a new starter often comes with a new bushing.

– Check that the old bushing has not remained in place on the gearbox.

– Position the starter with the aid of the centring sleeve and secure it.

Important: Incorrect positioning of the starter can lead to its destruction!

Reconnect the starter

– Reconnect in the reverse order of removal.

– Check that the battery cable is correctly positioned on the starter without contact with the casing.

Also, check the cable routing: it must not come into contact with sharp metal sheets or the exhaust pipe, for example.

4. Test the starter

– Reconnect the battery.

– Give the ignition key a short turn: the engine must not stall.

– Start the vehicle again.

– If the engine has normal operating noise, the replacement is successful.

– However, if there is a persistent hissing noise, the starter may still be engaged. In this case:

◦ check the positioning of the starter;

◦ Also, check its compatibility with the vehicle.

That’s it. You are now done with changing a starter. Please, remember to share this post and leave your comments in the section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *