How much does it cost to replace a starter motor?

A man holding a starter motor with a car in the background

Starter motor prices vary greatly between brands. For instance, a Chinese-made starter for say, a Toyota Hilux could cost as little as $200, or sometimes less. However, a genuine Bosch starter for that same Hilux could be as expensive as $600.

However, while the cheap version might seem like a good deal, it is almost certain that it will not come with a three-year warranty. This means that you may have to replace the cheap starter motor sooner than you might have wanted.

The trick to buying a reliable starter is not to use price as the only yardstick. While many online retailers offer what seem like good deals on starters, you just never know what you are getting for your money.

However, some retailers only sell premium brands like Denso, Valeo, and Bosch starters. New starters from such retailers are direct replacements for OEM starters, and all come with warranties that equal OEM warranties. Reconditioned starter motors supplied by reputable dealers are typically guaranteed for 2 years.

Thus, as a practical matter, price should only be one consideration. Other considerations include the retailer's reputation, parts availability, the length of offered warranties, and the quality of their after sales service.

Replacing a cheap starter every few months is not only expensive in the long run: it is also a major hassle every time it fails. Thus, paying a higher price for a high-quality, premium brand starter is still the best way to save money on starter motor replacement costs.

If you are shopping for a high-quality, OEM-equivalent starter, we recommend that you hit the Find a Mechanic button below. Here, you can find a professional mechanic near you that can advise on the best starters for your vehicle. In fact, they might even have the starter motor you need in stock. 

Can I use a reconditioned starter motor?

A collection of starter motors sitting on stock shelves

Yes, you can use a properly reconditioned starter motor on almost any vehicle, because it is less expensive than buying a new starter. However, much of how long the reconditioned starter lasts depends on who did the reconditioning. Here is why this matters-

Although car starter motors are not complicated devices, they operate in very harsh conditions. Starters are subjected to thousands of heating/cooling cycles during their lifetimes. Starters are also exposed to dust, water, road grime, and vibration. Yet, despite the tough conditions they operate under, car starter motors typically provide reliable service for many years.

Therefore, when you consider buying a reconditioned starter motor, you need to be sure that the reconditioned starter motor will have reasonably long service life. Here are some things you might want to ask the seller or workshop-

  • Does the seller use OEM-approved parts to recondition starter motors?
  • How does the warranty they offer compare to the manufacturer’s warranty of a new starter?
  • Does the seller test all reconditioned starters according to industry standards?

Regardless of what you need- a reconditioned starter motor for a Holden, or a Hilux starter motor, or a Ford Territory starter motor- you need positive responses to all of the above

Questions more.This is also true if you are buying an LS1 starter motor, or even a VZ Commodore starter motor, or for that matter, any other reconditioned starter motor.

Reputable dealers will answer all of your questions, which is perhaps the best indication that you are buying a reliable, well-built reconditioned starter.

Can I replace my own starter motor?

A mechanic holding a greasy starter motor

It might be possible to do a starter motor replacement on a DIY basis, in some cases. However, we do not recommend the procedure. For one thing, you need access to a vehicle lift and a comprehensive set of tools. You also need the skills required to remove or disassemble unrelated parts just to gain access to the starter.

In practice, the actual steps involved in a starter motor replacement vary too much to provide even a generic procedure here. Since engine compartments on most cars are extremely cramped, you may need to remove or disassemble one or more of the following parts-

  • Large parts of the exhaust system
  • The exhaust manifold(s)
  • The alternator and drive belt(s)
  • The A/C compressor and hoses
  • The power steering pump and hoses
  • Fuel and/or transmission cooler lines
  • Engine and/or transmission mountings

On some front-wheel-drive cars, you may also have to disassemble the suspension to remove a drive shaft. This is sometimes necessary to create enough room to remove the starter from the engine compartment.

In the real world, removing the starter on some vehicles can be difficult even for professional mechanics. Therefore, instead of putting yourself through all the hassle and trouble of replacing a starter motor yourself, we highly recommend that you Find a Mechanic using the button below. Here, you can find a professional mechanic near you that has the required tools, equipment, skills, and knowledge to replace your starter professionally.

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How much does a starter motor replacement cost?

A mechanic wearing gloves holding a new starter motor with the old starter motor sitting on a workbench

Starter motor replacement costs vary too much to provide even "ballpark" figures here. The biggest issues that influence starter motor replacement costs include-

  • the type of vehicle you drive
  • how far away from a big city you live
  • if you are using a new or reconditioned starter motor
  • the brand of the replacement starter motor you are using

The brand of the replacement starter motor is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. For instance, a Bosch starter motor will usually be more expensive than a Japanese or Korean starter.

Here are some more things to keep in mind when you are considering a starter motor replacement-

  • Depending on the vehicle, a reconditioned starter motor can be as much as 40% to 50% cheaper than a new starter
  • If the starter has damaged the battery, replacing the battery can add a few hundred dollars to the final bill
  • If the starter has damaged the ring gear on the flywheel or flexplate, replacing the damaged ring gear will increase the labour cost
  • Replacing battery cables, wiring, relays, and other damaged electrical components can add a hundred dollars or more to the final bill

In a best-case situation, a starter motor replacement cost could be as low as $200 to $300. In a worst-case situation, a starter motor replacement cost could be as high as $1000 or more. In practice, though, there is no way of telling how much a starter replacement would cost until a professional mechanic can assess your particular situation.

If we can offer some advice in this regard, it would be to Find a Mechanic using the button below. Here, you can find a professional mechanic near you that has the knowledge and skill you need to assess your situation. The mechanic will also advise you on how to get your car back on the road in the shortest possible time.

Ready to get started?
Get an instant estimate, or find an expert mechanic to make a booking.