Worth replacing starter?

I have a '91 Toyota Previa with 260,000 miles. Fantastic car, grew up in the back seat, now driving in the front…

It had its starter replaced 3ish years ago, but recently I heard a loose metallic noise as the car got up to speed, as if some little piece of bearing/gear/etc was jingling around, not engine noise. This noise has stopped. Unfortunately the car wouldn’t start after a longish drive, and was just giving the click noise.

After making tons of attempts to restart the car stranded in an IKEA parking lot (the battery was fine), pushing it around in drive etc, and almost giving up, all of a sudden it just started again, and has been fine the couple times I’ve needed it since then.

I took it into the mechanic to take a look at it who, of course, did not experience the issue. He said that the starter kept spinning when it should not, but hadn’t experienced any of the locking up/not starting that I had.

So, is it worth replacing the starter, given the cars age, for the reliability of it not failing that 1/100 times, or should I wait till the old women consistently displays symptoms?

We get many questions on old cars that need work and whether it is worth doing. The Previa is a very good machine and many have more miles on them than yours.

IF, and only if, the rest of the vehicle is OK and otherwise reliable, I would go for a rebuilt starter, which is apparently what you need. My wife’s Nissan had the exact same problem a few months back. We spent $360 on a rebuilt starter and cleaning up the connections, and we’re fine now.

So you want to junk the car because of a starter? I think that would give you a maximum of one car payment. Do you think the car would last 32 days with the new starter? If the answer is yes then go ahead and change it.

I think it’s junkyard time. It qualifies due to miles.

I’ve personally dealt with the same question. At 200,000 miles my '89 Toyota pickup needed a timing chain. Some said “why bother on a 200,000 mile engine”. I changed it anyway. I liked the truck.

It ran healthy (with an occasional part replacement, but nothing major) until it got totalled at 338,000 miles. I miss my truck.

If you like it, it serves your needs, and is otherwise running respectably, you’d be foolish not to repair it. That’s my opinion.

I know that Toyota’s are expensive to repair but I had replaced my starter in my ford for about $240. Your’s might run $300. I would generally state than any repair under about $400 is almost ALWAYS worth it, because if your car is in moderately good shape you could sell it for something around there even if it’s old.

A starter’s not that big a deal. If the rest of the vehicle is in decent shape, I’d say go ahead and put a new starter in there. They eventually wear out, just like lots of things.

If its that tough of a decision, just put a junk yard starter in it. Chances are that it will last the rest of the life of the van. One question though… Why were you pushing it around in Drive??? Its much easier to push around in “N”…


Fallicy. Some Fords are beyond expensive to repair and some Toyota’s. Very model specific and age specific. You cannot make a real statement on that.

I owned a Previa for a LONG time. Try checking the starter relay. Starters on these vehicles last a very long time so it is doubtful you burned through one in three years.

I know that Toyota’s are expensive to repair

No more then Fords or Chevy’s. It depends on the vehicle and the part…I’ve seen Ford and GM parts that cost 2-3 times what a Toyota part costs and visa-versa.