Replacing a Starter

The starter is a small, high torque electric motor that mechanically engages and turns the engine flywheel causing the engine to crank and start.

How to Replace a Starter

person jacking up the front of a Nissan Altima

1. Safety First

Disconnect the battery. You only need to remove the negative cable. This is a good move any time you’re working on the car. NOTE: Many vehicles need to be raised up to reach the starter. On others, obtaining starter access can be difficult. Check your vehicle repair manual for location and replacement details. Always use safety stands and wheel chocks along with protective eye wear.

2. Remove the Wiring

Remove the wiring and positive battery cable from the starter solenoid.

3. Remove the Starter and Bolts

Remove the starter retaining bolts. Remove the starter. NOTE: AutoZone will test your starter for free. This will help to verify you are working on the correct problem of the car.

4. Compare to Verify

Compare the new starter to verify it will fit. Note: Some replacement starters do not appear identical but will have the same fit, form and function as the original (old) unit. Refer to product or installation bulletins packaged with the starter

5. Transfer Heat Shield

Transfer any heat shield and/or brackets (if equipped) to the replacement starter.

6. Replace with New Starter

Inspect the flywheel teeth for damage. Now, place the new starter in the old starter’s position. Remember the starter shim if applicable.

7. Secure and Tighten

Secure and evenly tighten the starter retaining bolts. NOTE: Do NOT over-tighten.

8. Connect the Wiring

Connect the wiring to the starter solenoid.

9. Reconnect the Battery

Reconnect the battery and fire up the engine.

If the job is too big for you, seek out one of our Preferred Shops to help you do the job.

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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