Starter - replace or repair with kit?

toyota
tercel
starters

#1

My 1997 Toyota Tercel (automatic), after sitting for 3 days, would not turn over. The lights and dash light were shining so I figure it had to be the starter. With a suggestion from my uncle, I got my friend to give the starter a “love tap” when I cranked it. Sure enough it cranked right up. I know I need to get this thing replaced ASAP, but my burning question is this: Should I replace the whole starter or (this is something I read on the interwebs, so forgive me) should I get a repair kit and try replacing the plunger and contacts myself (is it worth it?)?

Thanks guys!


#2

If this is the original starter…I would replace it. If you don’t have the equipment or the experience to rebuild the starter properly then it would be a waste of both time and money.


#3

Just replace the whole thing. You will get a remanufactured unit, have it bench tested before taking it home to install.


#4

Ok sounds like a plan. I’ll just replace the whole thing; it looks like a bear to get to at any rate, haha. Thanks much guys! :slight_smile:


#5

Im not sure about that year and make but normally a starter rebuild will do the trick. the brushes are worn


#6

Often the contacts in the solenoid are all that are needed but finding the correct ones and properly repairing the starter are not a sure thing. If you are in no hurry attach a photo of the contacts and I’ll mail you a set for free. The plunger can be polished and re-installed. But for most DIYers replacing the starter is the best bet.


#7

Given the importance of a starter would you feel comfortable with the starter on your vehicle being rebuilt by a unsupervised student, even if it was you? Since you don’t have the option of “bump” starting your car you are at the mercy of your starter.


#8

I’ve done both on my Toyota (Lexus ES300). First time I replaced the solenoid contacts at about 70k, then the starter at 100k. The mistake I made was just replacing the side contacts (as some web sites describe), and not the center round disk, so it lasted about half as long. At that point I figured I might as well put a rebuilt one in.

So, if it’s hard to get the starter out, then replace it, if it’s easy, do the contacts, but make sure you get the center round disk/rod assembly too.