Cars are complicated. They’re made up of dozens of different parts that work together in complex ways to make sure your car is safe and drives well. The starter motor is an example of an incredibly important part, as it is one of the most important pieces in the entire car and needs to be fully functional in order for you to have the ride you want.
Any hint of your starter malfunctioning means that you should get it replaced right away. You might be wondering how long it takes to replace a starter, and luckily for you, we have all the answers! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about professional starter replacement.
Quick Answer: About 2 to 4 hours
Due to the complexity of starter motors, the average amount of time it takes to completely replace a starter is generally between 2 and 4 hours. If your car has an easily accessible starter and you take it to a mechanic worth their salt, your time should hopefully be closer to 2 hours rather than 4.
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Why You Need a Working Starter
The starter motor is basically what starts a car’s engine and lets it run, hence the name “starter.” Since this is such a vital component in the car’s ability to function, starter motors are large, powerful pieces of equipment that require heaps of energy to work. They have to transfer energy from electric currents to the engine, translating this electricity into energy your car can use. Without a working starter motor, your car won’t work either. With that being said, it’s obvious how essential the starter motor is, so regardless of how long it takes to replace a starter, you’ll want to do it as soon as you sense any signs of trouble.
It isn’t always easy to tell if your starter motor is on its last legs, but there are some tell-tale symptoms that you should always be on the lookout for. The most obvious way you can tell your starter motor is dead is if your car simply won’t even start. Turning your key in the ignition to turn the engine on is an easy way to do a quick, high-level test of your starter motor. If it does start, then noise is your next biggest sign of starter motor failure. Incessant clicking or grinding noises are never a good sign, and if they occur when you start your car, then your starter is likely bad.
Another troublesome sign is that smoke might pour out into your car when you turn it on. These are the main ways to tell that your starter motor needs to be replaced just by driving normally, but if you want to see it for yourself, pop the hood and check if the motor is covered in oil. If so, you’ve just confirmed that it’s time for a replacement. In the event that you’re only experiencing one or two of the above problems, it’s hard to tell if it’s a problem specific to the starter motor. Something could also be wrong with the battery or another part of the engine, but either way, you should take your car to a trusted mechanic right away.
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How Long Will It Really Take to Replace Your Starter?
As it is with most other car part replacements, how long it takes to replace a starter motor will depend on many factors, the most important being your vehicle of choice, the quality of the work, and the skill level of the person working on the car. Starter motors are complex mechanical parts that can be more hidden in certain vehicles than others. In some kinds of cars, they can be very difficult for a mechanic to access, requiring more time as they have to take apart the engine.
With those clarifications out of the way, the best estimate we can give for how long it takes to replace a starter motor is between 2 and 4 hours. We know this sounds like a while, but if the time starts to scare you off, just think about the good it’ll do having a fully working engine in your car. You wouldn’t want to risk the safety of you and your passengers by neglecting this important piece.
Something worth noting is that starter motors tend to experience more or less wear and tear depending on how you drive. They mainly just need to work right when you start your car so that the engine can turn over and the car can run, but you don’t need to do much work after this during the course of your ride. What this means is that the more you start and stop your car, the more you’re putting your starter to work. If you live in a big city that has you constantly driving short distances quickly, be aware that your starter motor is likely taking a bigger toll than it would if you did more long-distance driving.
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Should You Have Your Starter Repaired Instead?
It can be annoying having to go all the way to a mechanic and spend your money and time to get your car fixed up, but it’s almost always your best bet. Repairing your starter yourself will likely be more trouble than it’s worth unless you’re a knowledgeable car expert because it is a complicated and difficult process requiring multiple kinds of tools.
If you take it to a shop and they tell you that you only need a repair and not a total replacement, you can probably trust their judgment. However, given that the starter motor is so vital to the operation of your car, getting it replaced by a local mechanic that you trust is always the safest option. Even though it may seem inconvenient, what would be even more inconvenient is ending up on the side of the road, having to push your broken down car to get help. For your own safety, we recommend having a professional take a look and replace your starter motor to manufacturer specifications.
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