Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to replace starter in car?

1. First, please be sure your starter is bad. If you have tried to jump start the car/truck with a good battery and the engine will not crank, it's a pretty good bet that either the starter or solenoid is bad. It is often difficult to tell which one is bad, so the stores usually sell them together, especially since most cars now have them bolted together anyway. If the engine cranks at or close to the normal speed, your starter and solenoid are fine.

2. Gather your tools. Mainly a 3/8" drive socket set appropriate to the make and year of the car (metric for anything after the 80s). You will also need a 1/4" set or nut driver set to remove the nuts from the solenoid terminals. If you have the new starter on hand, take it with you under the car. If not, that's OK, because you're going to have to take the old starter to the parts store anyway to get a refund on the core.

3. Disconnect the negative battery terminal. I know, we always say that and you may think it's a waste of time; but in this case it's really important. You are about to disconnect a really big hot wire that can melt metal if you touch your wrench to anything on the engine.

4. Set the brake and jack up the car, if necessary, to get to where the starter is located. Always put a jack stand or big wood block at a solid place under the car in case your jack slips, as mine does all the time. If you let the car down on a good jackstand, you'll be safer yet. If you have ramps, those are fine too, but be sure to set the brake.

5. Locate the starter. So, if you haven't worked on a car before you can still do this, but it may be a bit challenging. The starter is going to be somewhere next to the engine with it's end sticking into the transmission. It is usually near the bottom on either side of the engine. Some cars have the starter on the opper side of the engine. It will have the solenoid attached and 3 or more wires going to it. It looks like this, except you cannot see the open part as that will be sticking into the tranny, and the body may be black in color:
If you cannot find the starter, it is probably hidden behind something. In such cases, it is best to get specific instructions for your vehicle by either buying or borrowing (library?) a repair manual for your vehicle. In many cases, you may even find a procedure online. Autozon.com has a free registration repair site with a large catalog of cars.

6. Unscrew the nuts on the back of the solenoid. Remove the wires and tag each one with a way to remember where it went. Keep the nuts in case the new one doesn't come with nuts. If you didn't remove the negative battery terminal like I told you to, you'd better be careful with that big red wire!

7. Loosen the bolts holding the starter to the transmission. Also remove any other brace that may be holding the starter. As you loosen up the bolts, the starter will start to tilt under its weight, and you might get some fluids dripping out of the tranny (if there are any leaks back there). Once all the bolts are loose, you should be able to hold the starter with one hand and remove the bolts with your other hand. Once they are all out, the starter should slip straight back out of the tranny. If your car is older, there may be some shims between the starter and the tranny. Keep them, as you will probably need to put them back in to get the new starter to engage without binding.

8. Take a break and get cleaned up, then reverse procedure (we love saying that--saves us a lot of typing) to put in the new starter.

9. Start the car with your new starter.


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1 comment:

  1. Changing car starter yourself is a good, if you have good knowledge about car parts. when you change your car starter yourself you can save good amount of time & money and points you made is good, did get good information.
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