How much does a car starter cost

Starter repair costs

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Every combustion engine, regardless of whether it is a diesel or gasoline engine, needs an electric starter to start. That is why the starter is correctly referred to as a starter. The starter consists of an electric motor. The drive shaft of this motor is designed so that it can be moved horizontally. As soon as the starter is supplied with electricity, the drive shaft extends a few centimeters. As a result, the pinion meshes with the ring gear of the flywheel, which is attached to the crankshaft of the engine. If the current flow is interrupted, the drive shaft moves back a little so that the toothing loosens again.

Anyone who has tried to turn an engine by hand knows of course how difficult it is. The compression takes place in one cylinder, while air is being sucked in in another cylinder. Then there are the other pistons, which also have to be moved at the same time. Therefore, a lot of effort is always required. A starter requires around two to three kilowatts of power to start the engine. The vehicle battery is available as an energy store. Since the battery works with a voltage of twelve volts, currents with a strength of 20 to 30 amps flow through the starter. Relays are required to switch such high currents. This is why there is such a relay on every starter.

Signs of a defective starter

One of the most common signs is that the starter does not work even though the battery is charged. However, there is one limitation. If the battery is very old, it can no longer deliver the energy required to operate the starter even when it is fully charged. If the battery is not very old and fully charged, the cause is a defective starter.

Another symptom of a defective starter is a long run-on. The starter starts the engine normally, but it can still be heard over a longer period of time. In that case, it should also be checked more closely in a car workshop. In some cases it also squeaks when it runs after it.

It can also happen that the teeth of the pinion skip when attempting to start. There is also a certain amount of wear and tear on the teeth. Then they no longer fully engage the teeth of the flywheel ring gear. This can then be heard in the form of clear cracking noises. If this phenomenon occurs, the damage can also be due to the gear rim. Then a new dual mass flywheel may have to be installed. However, such a repair is significantly more expensive than repairing a starter motor.

This is how the repair of a starter works

As already described, a high amperage is required to start. Therefore, a thick power cable leads directly from the positive terminal of the battery to the starter. In order not to accidentally cause a short circuit during work, the first thing to do is to disconnect the battery. Before the battery is disconnected, however, it should be ensured that the security code of the car radio is known. Otherwise it cannot be switched on after the repair.

After the battery has been disconnected, numerous panels usually have to be removed from the engine compartment. There are only a few vehicle models where the starter is easily accessible. Most of the time, however, numerous parts must be removed in order to access the starter. These parts include the air filter, the exhaust and many other components. As soon as the starter is then accessible, the cables are first disconnected from the relay. Then the significantly thicker power cable is disconnected.

Then the fastening screws of the starter are loosened. Usually it is flanged to the engine with three screws. As soon as these screws are loosened, the vehicle is raised with a lifting platform. On most vehicle models, the starter can only be pulled out downwards. Once the defective starter has been removed, it can be examined more closely. In a few cases it is only necessary to mount a new pinion. In the majority of cases, however, it is major damage that cannot be repaired easily. Then the only option left is to install a different starter. It doesn't have to be a new one, however. There are also inexpensive replacement starters.

Changing the starter: cost and effort

If a new starter has to be installed, it costs between 150 and 650 euros, depending on the vehicle type. The cost of a replacement starter ranges from around 80 to 200 euros. A replacement starter is a starter that has been completely overhauled by the manufacturer and in which all wear parts have been replaced. That is why there is usually a guarantee on replacement starters as well.

The cost of wages depends on the time it takes to replace the starter. The working time also depends on the type of vehicle. In most cases, the working time is between around one and two hours. In this area, costs between around 70 and 140 euros are to be expected. If a new starter is installed, the cost of the starter and wages are roughly between 220 and 800 euros. If the vehicle owner opts for a replacement starter, he can expect costs between 150 and 340 euros.

As a precautionary measure, you can determine how expensive it will be to repair the starter on your vehicle. We provide you with a non-binding and free workshop comparison on this page. They will find out for you which car repair shop in your area can do the repair of the starter cheaply.

Repairing starters: an overview of the costs

Material & effortAverage cost
Starter completely overhauled80 - 200 €
Starter new150 - 660 €
working hours70 - 140 €