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New car starter = $486.

July 19th, 2007 at 05:14 pm

A few weeks ago, my car died. Wouldn't start. Finally had to jump start it and drove it straight to the mechanic to replace the battery. It was about 5 years old, so I figured it was about time.

Fast forward and the past week or so, I had a few times when I got in and turned the key and nothing happened. Turned it again and it started right up. That got much worse yesterday and when it took 3 or 4 tries to get it started and today when the last couple of times I wasn't sure it was going to start at all.

Needless to say, I was back to the shop for what I figured would be a new starter. I'm not much of a car guy, but I know the basics and it turned out I was right. Fortunately, I had nowhere I needed to be and they were able to do the work right away and had the part in stock. About 45 minutes and $486.00 later, I was on my way.

The only thing I'm kind of wondering now is if it was actually the battery causing the problem a few weeks ago or if it was the starter beginning to fail. Doesn't really matter at this point, and the battery was 5 years old, so probably would have needed replacing soon anyway.

7 Responses to “New car starter = $486.”

  1. daylily Says:

    They should have tested the battery before replacing it.

    I'm wondering though... is it the case that when your starter starts to go, it excessively drains the battery in trying to start? Or is that just an urban myth/old wives tale kind of thing.

  2. boomeyers Says:

    Ugh! Car maintenence is so expensive! Every once in a while you just gotta field one of these zingers. Especially for those who drive older cars that have no warranty!

  3. disneysteve Says:

    I'm not actually upset about the battery. They probably did test it before replacing it. And I would have rather replaced it when I did then be stranded somewhere when it died. It was in my driveway at the time and we were able to jump it with our other car. Couldn't have been more convenient than that.

    boomeyers - Yep, I'm used to it. I figure as long as the car doesn't cost me much more than $1,000 or so per year, it is still way cheaper than getting a new one.

  4. kv968 Says:

    I know you had to get the starter replaced, but I think you paid WAY too much for it. I had a starter (granted it was rebuilt) put in my 96 Toyota Corolla about a year ago. I called a local Pep Boys and they said it would be about $300 if I remember correctly. A guy I work with tipped me off to a little generator place in Trenton so I went there and it only cost me $170.13. I know you had to get it fixed, but even with getting a brand new starter, I don't think it should have been that much especially if it only took 45 minutes to do it. You should see if they did anything extra and what they charged you for the "new" starter.

    Also, it probably wasn't the battery causing the original problem, but after 5 years, changing the battery might not have been a bad move anyway.

  5. fern Says:

    I have a 99 honda, and i didn't replace the battery til earlier this year. Guess i forgot those things need replacing.

  6. disneysteve Says:

    fern - You're lucky. Batteries have a very unsubtle way of letting you know they need to be replaced - they die and you're stuck. If you got 8 years from a battery, that's quite good.

  7. chessiq>>life lessons from chess Says:

    My car died about 3 weeks ago. After much haggling, we found out it was the battery - 4 years old, heavily corroded. Replaced it and it's working fine. Now I am wondering if I should be worried about the starter! It's a 1999 Chevy Malibu. I have spent $1000 on new rotors and tires already this year. I don't want to sell it. My max is $2000 per year before I sell it or get a new car. That breaks down to $166.67 monthly car payments.

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