How to Replace the Starter on a '97 Grand Am


If you notice that your car is only intermittently starting, then you may have a starter problem that needs to be resolved quickly; however, if your car will not start at all, and jumper cables do not help, then chances are your starter is already dead and needs replacement. Fortunately, replacing the starter on your 1997 Pontiac Grand Am is not a difficult job, and nearly any novice do-it-yourself mechanic can accomplish it within a few hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench with adapters
  • Replacement starter
  • Mechanic's gloves
  • Car ramps
  • Jack stands
  • Floor jack
  • Oil filter
  • Motor oil
  • Oil catch pan
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Identify the starter's location on the engine. On 1997 Pontiac Grand Am, the starter is found underneath the intake manifold and above the oil filter. The starter is the part that is about half the size of a football and looks like two cylindrical pieces joined together (one cylinder is larger than the other).

  • Raise the Grand Am by driving it up on ramps. If it will not start, then you will need to raise it by using a floor jack and jack stands. Place the floor jack on the driver's side and raise it, placing the jack underneath the frame. Release the floor jack and do the same process on the passenger side of the car.

  • Remove the oil filter from underneath the engine. In order to change the starter on a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am, you will need to remove the oil filter in order to access the bolts holding the starter into place. Put the oil filter face down on top of a drain pan so that excess oil can drain from it while you are replacing the starter.

  • Disconnect the black battery cable from your car battery. This will ensure that you will not be electrocuted while working on your car's electrical system, part of which leads to the starter. Wait for fifteen minutes so that any potential electric charges can dissipate.

  • Change your oil while you are waiting. Since you have to remove the oil filter, you might as well change the oil and put a new filter on after changing your starter. Be sure that you are not allowing any oil to leak on your driveway.

  • Disconnect the electrical connection tab that is leading to your starter on your Grand Am. If it is stuck, then gently pry it with a flat-head screwdriver.

  • Unscrew the copper nut holding the electrical wires into place in front of the starter. This will give you more room to work with as you remove your starter from the engine.

  • Unscrew the two bolts holding the starter to the flywheel of your engine. Remove the bolts and then remove the starter.

  • Slide the new starter into place and bolt in the holding bolts to secure it to the flywheel. If you are cranking on the bolts in order to get them into place, then you may not have proper alignment between the starter and the flywheel. If this is the case, then you will need to remove it and slide it back into place.

  • Connect the electrical connection tab leading to the starter. Put the oil filter back on. Reconnect the negative battery terminal with the black cable. Try starting your Pontiac Grand Am.

  • Lower your 1997 Pontiac Grand Am from the ramps or jack stands once you have successfully replaced your starter.

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  • Photo Credit car engine image by itsallgood from
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