How to Replace the Starter in a Hyundai Sonata

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You may be having problems getting your Hyundai Sonata to start. While there are a number of parts that lead to this problem, it's likely you need to replace the starter. A starter cranks the engine, drawing air and fuel into the cylinders and compressing them so they will ignite. It also gets the ignition and crankshaft into place so the spark plugs will fire and the fuel injectors will operate.

Things You'll Need

  • Battery terminal puller
  • Car jack
  • Wrench
  • Baby food jar
  • Torque wrench
  • Park your Hyundai Sonata on a level surface, activate the emergency brake and place blocks behind the back tires for safety. Disconnect the negative battery cable with a terminal puller and wait at least three minutes before proceeding. Raise the front end of the car with a jack for easier access to the starter.

  • Disconnect the speedometer and shift cables from the transaxle, followed by the starter motor wires.

  • Unfasten the starter mounting bolts and place them in the jar for safe keeping. Remove the starter from the engine.

  • Take your malfunctioning starter to the parts store with you. Aftermarket distributors remanufacture most of the starters they sell, so you can likely obtain a partial credit toward your new starter by exchanging your old one. Be sure that you take care not to damage the starter in transit, because the better condition it is in, the more you can get for it.

  • Purchase a replacement starter that has the same or higher cranking capacity (power rating) as the original starter in your Hyundai Sonata. Also, match the bolt patterns, drive gears and electrical connections. Your owner's manual may list specifications or the auto parts technician will help you determine them. Download a owner's manual at for 2003 or newer models on My Hyundai.

  • Reverse the removal process to install the new starter motor. Torque the starter mounting bolts between 20 and 25 foot pounds (27 to 34 Nm). Lower your Hyundai Sonata back to the ground. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Turn the key in the ignition to see if your new starter motor functions correctly.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your Hyundai Sonata is an older model and/or has high mileage, you should also replace the solenoid.
  • Always inspect the battery, solenoid and alternator to be certain they are working properly before replacing a starter. When an engine fails to start, many do-it-yourselfers misdiagnose the problem as the starter and replace it unnecessarily, only to find that the vehicle still won't start.
  • If you believe your starter is in the problem, use a bench test to see if the starter motor spins and how well the starter is performing. A bench test will check the amp load, voltage and RPMs. If the starter is good, it will draw 60 to 150 amps with no load and up to 250 amps under load.
  • The starter replacement process is different for 1999 to 2001 Hyundai Sonata models. Consult your owner's manual or a mechanic for details.
  • Never operate the starter for more than 30 seconds at a time. Allow the starter motor to cool for at least two minutes in between starting attempts to prevent permanent damage.

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