You can picture the scenario – you’re running late for work and jump into your car to finally get on the road. You turn the key and just get a clicking sound. Uh oh! Thoughts start to race through your mind about what could be wrong with your car now and how much is it going to cost you? First, you’ve got to call your boss to say that you’re going to be late for work or maybe not even be there at all today. Next, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to get the starter on your car replaced so that you can get it going again. Starter replacement is quite an involved job and can be costly, so let’s dive into the details of it.
What Is A Car Starter & How Does It Work?
Your car’s starter is an extremely important piece of the puzzle, and your car will not even crank without a properly working starter. When you turn the key, the start spins your car’s engine until the engine cranks and runs on its own. So, just how does it do this exactly? Well, it requires a few different parts to work together to accomplish this.
First, your starter requires power from your car’s battery. The starter solenoid is constantly connected to power. When you turn the ignition key in your vehicle, that power is transferred from the solenoid to the starter motor. The starter motor is a powerful electric motor that requires a lot of power. This is why your battery must be fully charged to start your car. Without a full supply of power, the starter motor will not have enough power to spin your car’s heavy engine.
When power is delivered to the starter motor, the starter motor quickly spins the starter ring gear that is attached to the engine’s flywheel. This causes the flywheel to spin, which then turns the crankshaft. The motor then begins to run on its own, and you release the key. Doing so stops power to the starter motor and disengages the ring gear. Once the engine starts, the starter sits idle until the car needs to be cranked again.
Cars with an automatic transmission require a working starter to crank. However, it is possible to crank a vehicle with a manual transmission even with a bad starter. You can turn on the ignition and place the vehicle into neutral. Push the car until it reaches 8-10 mph, and then engage the clutch with the car in first or second gear. This will cause the flywheel to spin and should crank the vehicle. This method can be very dangerous, so you should always take caution with this approach and always get your starter repaired as soon as possible.
What Is The Cost Of A Starter Replacement?
We’re sure you’re wondering, “How much does a car starter cost?” A new starter is not a cheap part, and it can range anywhere from $70 – $365 depending on your specific vehicle. Aftermarket starters are typically a little cheaper than OEM starters, although sometimes they offer a slightly shorter warranty than the OEM brand. The same goes for rebuilt starters versus brand new parts. In addition to the starter itself, you’ll also have to worry about labor costs. Much of the cost to replace a starter comes from the labor. Replacing a starter requires some expertise, so you can expect to pay a reputable mechanic anywhere from $75 – $150 per hour for the job.
Starter repair and replacement can usually be completed in a couple of hours by a qualified mechanic, so the overall job will cost you somewhere between $300 – $700. While you might be able to get a starter replaced in a Honda Accord by an independent auto repair shop for around $300, you’re probably going to pay $800 or more for a starter replacement in your BMW at the dealership. Be sure to shop around as prices can vary greatly between repair shops, and you’ll always want to try and get the best deal possible.
Faulty Starter Symptoms To Look Out For
So, is there any way to tell that your starter is going bad before you’re simply left stranded with a car that won’t crank? Unfortunately, your car’s check engine light usually does not alert you to starter problems. However, there are some common symptoms that you can use to diagnose a bad starter, although many of them do not appear until it’s too late. Here’s what to be on the lookout for:
- Grinding or Whirring Noise
This is one of the best ways to predict the impending doom of your starter. This is an unmistakable sound that you will often hear just before a starter fails. If you notice a grinding noise or a whirring sound when you crank your car, then be prepared for it to die at any time. Ignoring this grinding sound can also lead to further damage of your ring gear or flywheel as well, so you should get it checked out right away.
- Clicking Sound
This happens after the starter has already failed on most occasions. You turn the ignition switch and can hear a clicking noise. This is the solenoid attempting to engage the starter motor, but things aren’t working properly.
- Oil Leaks
Believe it or not, if you see any signs of an oil leak under your vehicle, this could be a signal that your starter is on its way out. While the oil is probably coming from the master seal or somewhere else on your engine, if that oil leaks onto your starter, it can cause the starter to fail. You should get that problem addressed right away before it causes damage to other parts.
While the above symptoms usually point to a faulty starter, there are other reasons that your car will not start too. Make sure that you don’t confuse these things with a bad starter. Your car might not crank due to a dead battery, corrosion on the battery terminals, loose battery cables, or other problems with your electrical system. It could be something as simple as your car battery needs charging! You should get the help of a qualified mechanic to help diagnose your problem when your car won’t start.
Is There A Cheaper Alternative To Replacing/Fixing A Starter?
Replacing a starter can be expensive – even in the range of $1,000 for some vehicles! If you’ve got a Toyota Corolla, you might be able to get the job done for less than $300. This might be worth the money if your car still has plenty of miles left in it. However, if you’re looking at a repair of several hundred dollars or more on a car that’s old anyway, then you’re probably better off selling your vehicle to Auto Wranglers.
We’ll buy your car for cash anywhere in the country! We pay top dollar, and we always provide free towing and pickup. You can get an instant free offer in about 90 seconds, and the whole process only takes a couple of days at most. We’ll put cash in your hand, and you can use that money to buy yourself a new car that doesn’t have any issues. Contact us today to get the process started.
Your vehicle’s starter is a vital part of your car, and you can be left stranded quickly when yours fails. Though sometimes a starter will fail suddenly with no warning, there are other times when you can see or hear the warning signs. Knowing what to look for as well as what to expect when your starter does fail can help you be prepared to pay for car starter costs when that becomes necessary. If you don’t have the cash or have decided that your old car isn’t worth the investment, then call Auto Wranglers. We’ll take that car off your hands and pay you cash for it so you can buy a new one. Give us a call today to get your free quote!
Can I replace a starter myself?
Unless you are an experienced DIY expert with plenty of automotive mechanical knowledge, you probably shouldn’t attempt to replace your car’s starter. This is an involved job that requires specific expertise that most car owners do not possess. Replacing the starter usually requires removing several other additional parts as well just to be able to access the starter.
Once you gain access to the starter itself, you’ll need to remove it and replace it with the new part. Then you must reassemble all the parts that have been removed. It usually takes an expert mechanic at least a couple of hours to perform this job, so you might be looking at an all day job if you have never done this kind of thing before.
Can you jump start a car with a bad starter?
Unfortunately, no. Attempting to jump start a car with a bad starter will not accomplish much. Since the starter can’t spin the car’s engine, jumping the vehicle won’t do anything either. Your car is probably already supplying proper power to the starter, it simply can’t spin the flywheel as it should.
How long does it take to replace a starter?
It usually takes a qualified mechanic 2-3 hours to replace a starter. This time, of course, varies based on the type of vehicle you own. Some starters are more easily accessible than others and can be completed quicker than cars that require lots of disassembly to get to the part. If you’re attempting this job on your own and have not done this before, it might take you all day to perform the work. It’s best to leave this one to the experts!
What is the difference between a starter and a battery?
These two components of your vehicle are completely different. Your starter is the part that spins your engine when you turn the key. The battery supplies power to the starter and the other electrical components of your car. The starter relies on the battery to provide power to be able to crank the car.
Can I drive with a starter problem?
It depends. If the car is already running, it will continue running with a starter problem until you shut it off. If the starter has completely failed, you will not be able to restart the car once you shut it off. Driving the car with a starter problem shouldn’t hurt anything, but you might get left stranded because the car will probably not start back up when you need to crank it.
How often do starters need to be replaced?
If you’re wondering, “How long do starters last?” – we’ve got good news! Starters are meant to last for many years, and many cars go 100,000 miles or more with no starter problems at all. On average, cars might start to experience problems with the starter in the 125,000 – 150,000 mile range. Cars that make frequent, short trips are likely to experience starter problems sooner as are newer cars that automatically shut off and restart in traffic to conserve fuel.