How to Remove and Replace a Starter in Your Car


Post created: 29 June 2021

When you turn the key in your vehicle’s ignition switch, the engine will crank over, it’s as simple as that right?

No, there’s actually a lot more that goes into getting the engine to rotate. The starter motor is the one component most responsible for initiating the engine rotation, by creating the required turning over of the engine during the initial engine ignition process, thereby, allowing the correct chain of events to timeously coincide with all the required processes, i.e. Engine rotation; fuel delivery; and ignition spark from the distributor to the firing order via the spark plugs in the correct sequence. The starter motor plays an important role in allowing your vehicle’s engine to create the contact and sequence of the firing order and required spark delivery. Without the starter, you won’t be going anywhere.

Here are AutoZone’s most common steps to remove an old starter motor and replace it with a new one. Before we get into it, let’s discuss some of the most common causes of alternator failure, which are:

  • Thermal overload due to prolonged activation, associated with constant engine cranking.
  • Mechanical overload due to no disengagement of the starter after repetitive cranking.
  • Heavy contamination on the earth and positive terminals of the wiring system.
  • Connection error or incorrect contacts completing the required electrical circuit.

To find out the root cause, ensure that the power supply works by checking the voltage with a multimeter available from AutoZone outlets. If there is sufficient voltage, then the fault is likely to be in the starter motor itself.

  1. Remove the earth cable from the battery, this will protect and interrupt the circuit flow, preventing possible accidental current damage to the electrical circuit of the vehicle.
  2. Remove all electrical connections from the starter motor and mark them, (if possible), this enables you to reconnect them onto the correct terminals when reconnecting the starter.
  3. Check all the cables for visible corrosion or damage on the cable lugs.
  4. Loosen the starter securing bolts and remove the starter motor once all the cables/wires have been disconnected.
  5. Check the starter motor and the flywheel ring gear for any possible teeth profile damage, wear or contamination.
  6. Compare the new starter motor with the old one, before installing it, to ensure it has the correct
  7. Mount the new starter motor on the vehicle using the original bolts that were securing the old (now removed) starter motor.
  8. Install the connection cables to the new starter motor, ensuring that the cables are fitted correctly as marked on the old starter.
  9. Follow the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid causing damage to the starter motor and its cables.
  10. Reconnect the earth cable to the negative pole on the battery, which you have earlier removed, check that it is secure and implement a functional test.

Visit AutoZone for starter motors from experienced brands like Bosch, Monark and Elpar. If you are ever unsure of how to replace any electrical component on your vehicle, AutoZone recommends contacting your mechanic or electrical technician for assistance in removing and replacing these components. If you need further technical advice, you can always give our AutoZone experts a call on 086 112 2111 or email us at Feel free to browse through our engine catalogue here: to learn more about our range of engine parts and more.