Starter motors are used for any apparatus that uses an engine to burn fuel, such as your car. If the starter motor fails, you must replace it as soon as possible to avoid any harm to other parts. The starter motor is an ignition switch for the engine that ultimately sets everything in motion. And if you know how to replace it, you already have an essential skill in your automotive toolkit.
When it comes to replacing it, you’ve to be both methodical and technical. It starts with figuring out what happened to the motor. At times, the car starts giving hints, such as weird noises. Once you ensure that there’s something wrong, you should move forward to replace it.
Let’s take a look at how important a starter motor is, the necessity of repairing starter motors and how you can replace them.
What is a Starter Motor?
A starter motor is an essential piece of kit because you need your engine to run in order for everything else to work. So, to turn over the car engine, an electric motor is required to provide torque for some time, again and again. That’s what a starter motor is. It also helps the starter gears to engage or disengage quickly.
How Does a Starter Motor Work?
A starter motor is crucial for your car’s ignition system because, without it, you can’t even start the vehicle. Here’s how this motor works:
When you press the starter of your vehicle, an electrical signal goes to the starter solenoid.
2. Solenoid’s Action
The solenoid is basically a switch that receives the signal and activates it. It pushes the starter gear forward, and it gets engaged with the starter’s flywheel.
3. Circuit Completion
After the engagement, the solenoid has to complete an electrical circuit, as a result of which current flows to the starter motor from the battery.
4. Rotation of Motor
Once the starter motor activates, it turns the flywheel of the engine. That’s when you need to check for any unusual sounds. The turning of the flywheel results in the rotation of the crankshaft and starts the internal combustion process.
After the engine starts, the starter gear disengages from the flywheel. It all happens through a built-in mechanism inside and ultimately stops the rotation of the starter motor.
So, the starter motor provides the initial momentum needed for the engine to run. It initiates the operation of the engine and lets things run smoothly.
How do you know if you need to replace the starter motor?
When the starter motor malfunctions, you must look for the reason. And if the problem lasts, replace the motor immediately. A faulty motor may cause harm to other equipment also. Take a look at some of the symptoms of a defective starter motor:
· Clicking Sound
You might have noticed a weird sound when you press the start button. Due to that, the engine doesn’t start either. It indicates a starter motor problem. Under such circumstances, you should consider the car starter replacement.
· Slow or No Cranking
If the starter motor doesn’t start or produces a whirring noise, that’s because of a faulty starter. In such a case, there is a possibility that the motor has died altogether. As a result, you have to look for either car starter repair or replacement.
· Motor Remains Engaged
If the starter motor doesn’t disengage even after the start of the engine, it is necessary to replace it.
· Failure of Engine
If the engine starts initially and then fails over and over again, that’s probably due to burn-out parts in the motor. This indicates that you should start looking for starter replacement cost in order to get it done.
If the starter motor has malfunctioned, you’ve nothing to start the engine. And if you keep trying it, you may feel burning odors coming from the engine.
The longevity of these motors varies from one vehicle to another. However, it usually lasts around 100,000 miles. But if you find any of the issues as mentioned above, go to the store straightaway to fix the car starter.
Preparations for Starter Motor Replacement
Once you’ve got to know that you need to replace the starter motor, you must complete some pre-arrangements required for this purpose.
- Let the engine of your car and all of its parts cool down.
- Purchase a solenoid and a proper engine suitable for your car. Check the size and type of starter motor, and see the new car starter cost also.
- Get all the necessary tools and equipment before you start to proceed. These include mounting bolts, pliers and screwdrivers, socket wrenches, drive-on ramps, and pullers for battery terminals.
- You must have a copy of the vehicle’s guide with you in order to make the work faster and easier.
- Keep tracking the location of all connectors and wires while replacing the starter motor.
- Turn off the ignition and remove the grounded battery cable.
It would be best if you also had an idea of how to remove the starter motor. This will let you know immediately if someone else is making a mistake while doing so with your car. It all starts with disconnecting the battery, and you should know about that as well.
How do you disconnect the battery and starter motor?
Disconnecting the battery isn’t a complex process, but it may disturb the vehicle’s electrical system if not done correctly. The following procedure will help you understand where the starter motor is in the car and how to disconnect it.
· Locate the Battery first!
Batteries are usually fastened beneath the hood or present inside the trunk of your vehicle. But take a look at the handbook also if you’re unable to find it.
· Locate Battery’s Terminals!
Locating the terminals of the battery is a crucial part. Some batteries have “+” and “-” to indicate them, while others have lids that protect the terminals. So, you need to remove them first in order to have access to the cables that connect the battery to the entire vehicle.
· Find the Right Tools!
You must have a set of wrenches if the battery cable relies entirely on bolts. And once you find them, make sure to turn off the ignition before you unbolt the wires. Use pullers to unbolt the negative terminal first. Don’t let the wrench come in contact with both the battery terminals simultaneously.
· Remove the Clamp!
Batteries are usually held in place with the help of clamps. You’ve to remove those clamps before taking the battery out. For that purpose, you may use a socket wrench.
Once you end up disconnecting the battery, it’s time to replace the starter motor.
Replacing the Starter Motor
Reading the handbook before time gives you an edge that you get to know about automotive starter parts. Moreover, you also understand how to fix a car starter and how to replace a starter motor. Different automobile models have different placements for motors. The service manual will help you in this regard as well. Consider the following steps to replace your starter motor:
· Preparation of Workspace
Gather all the necessary tools and keep them within your reach. It would be best if you had ratchets, screwdrivers and sockets with you while replacing the starter motor.
· Ensure Safety Measures
Having personal protective equipment is a must before you start such a job. Wear safety goggles and insulating gloves. Also, before starting electrical work, unplug the batteries. Lift your vehicle using a jack to expose the motor.
· Remove the Faulty Motor
Start unplugging the cables to the battery and motor. Some wires may remain in their position.
· Install the New Motor
Take a closer look at the mounting brackets and see if the battery fits there. Install the new motor and align it with bolts. Attach all electrical connections to the solenoid also.
· Connect the Battery Cables
While detaching, we started with a negative terminal. But while reconnecting, you’ve to connect the positive terminal first in order to avoid the short circuits. After that, attach the negative cable and tighten both the battery wires.
· Try to Start the Vehicle!
It’s time to start the ignition switch to see if the vehicle starts. If it does, that means you’ve reconnected it accurately. If it doesn’t, that means you’ve to recheck the connections. Clean the terminals in case you find corrosion or dust there because that may be one of the reasons.
Replacing a starter motor requires a lot of care and precision. If not done correctly, it can result in short circuits or wear out the motor again. So, it is vital to ensure everything before starting the ignition again.
Can You Replace a Starter Yourself?
It is possible to replace a starter yourself if you know the use of tools well and understand how to disconnect electrical connections. Testing of the new starter is another thing you must know about. So, you can replace it yourself if you’ve got mechanical skills and have read the services manual as well.
The price of a starter motor varies from one vehicle to another. However, the average price of it ranges between $150 and over $400. But the starter replacement cost is much higher, in the range of $720 to $820, depending on the type of vehicle. The owner’s guide will tell you exactly how much a starter is going to cost you.
Understanding the role of a starter motor within a vehicle is really important. It is crucial to find out the cause of the malfunction of the old starter before planning to replace it. Observe the fault inside the motor closely, match it with the manual, and find ways to rectify it. Replacing the starter motor yourself may be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with your vehicle’s engine. So, seeking professional advice is an excellent way to avoid potential hazards and to ensure precise replacement.