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How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Car Starter in 2024? What You Need To Know!

man holding starter motor

You’re almost late for work as you rush out the door. You stab the key into the ignition, turn it over, and a “click, click, click” greets you. Panic sets in. You try again: “click, click, click”. You’re late for work, and your starter is toast!

A dead starter is one of those things that is an inevitable part of owning a vehicle. Think about how many times you start your car every day. Two times? Four times? As a general rule, starters have a pretty good lifespan, considering the wear and tear they get every day.

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Starter Isn’t Dead Yet

A car starter can be fine one start, and then you get that fateful click that signals the end of its life on the next. However, it’s pretty common for there to be a little bit of warning before that happens.

A car “cranks over” the same every time—they have a steady and consistent timing. But if a starter is wearing out, you may notice it sounds slightly different. Perhaps, it almost seems to skip. Or maybe it requires more cranks to fire the engine up.

driver starting the car engine
Image Credit: lzf, Shutterstock

How Much Does Replacing a Car Starter Cost?

Many variables come into play when figuring out how much you’re going to spend to replace the starter. The easiest way to break it down is to look at two different scenarios. First, you’re handy with a wrench and can replace it yourself. Second, you have to take it into a shop.

DIY: Most newer vehicles rule out anything DIY—that seems to be how the industry is going. But if you have an older car, you can get a new starter for $50–$350 on average. Whether the starter is new or rebuilt will affect this price.

Mechanic: The first thing to do if you’re taking it into a mechanic is do some research. Make sure you take it to a reputable mechanic, so you know you’re getting a fair price on the installation. In addition to the price of the starter, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150–$1,100 in labor costs.

Two things determine this massive spread in price in conjunction with each other:

  • Shop rate: There is no regulation on what a mechanic charges per hour or what they charge for shop supplies.
  • Vehicle: One vehicle might take an hour to swap a starter, while another might take 6 hours.
car starter
Image Credit: Setta Sornnoi, Shutterstock

Budgeting for Additional Costs

In a perfect world, you replace the starter, and that’s the end. However, some things could contribute to a failing starter. Your starter won’t just blow up. But if other potential problems aren’t addressed, you could be replacing your starter again prematurely.

There’s no way to predict exactly what these things will cost but knowing about them can help you prepare for the possibility of extra costs involved.

  • Electrical problems: If you have a professional mechanic replace the starter, they may notice or be able to diagnose potential problems in your car’s electrical system. Electrical issues are unpredictable. Sometimes they can be costly to fix. Other times it’s impossible to pinpoint what the problem is.
  • Faulty battery: If your battery is not pumping out all the juice your starter needs, it will make the starter work harder. This extra work can wear out its components more quickly.
  • Cold weather: Unlike your battery, you can’t change the weather. Installing a block heater or oil pan heater will allow your engine to start smoother, thus making the starter’s job easier.
engine of a blue car
Image Credit: Devolk, Pixabay

How Often Does a Car Starter Need to be Replaced?

Typically, a starter will last for around 80,000 starts. The number of starts can vary depending on your climate and how you take care of the starter. That’s a considerable number, but who cares about a meaningless number?

Put it into perspective. Let’s say you only use your vehicle to and from work, and you don’t take any vacations. That’s 520 starts per year!

In reality, you’re going to start your vehicle more than twice a day. Still, following this logic, we could assume we would never have to replace a starter. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and starters need to be replaced eventually. However, if you have a new vehicle or you’ve recently replaced it, you won’t have to worry about it for a long time.

Related Read: What Is the Cost to Replace an Alternator?

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Closing Thoughts

For some reason, vehicle repairs tend to give a lot of anxiety to some people. And while there are times when costly repairs are necessary, replacing a starter is not typically a bank account-breaker. The spread in average costs for a mechanic to replace the starter stresses the importance of doing your research. Any reputable shop will be willing to provide you with a quote, so you know what to expect.

Featured Image Credit: kanemme6, Shutterstock


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