How to Wire a Motor Starter


When a car won't start, the first place to troubleshoot is the battery or the starter. When you've checked the battery and it is fine, the starter may need replacing. Usually found near the back and bottom of the engine, follow the red positive cable from the battery to the starter. Detach both cables of the battery and secure them away from each other first. Remove the two bolts holding the starter to pull it out and detach both the red cable and the small clip-on wire. With some luck and easy access to the bolts that hold the starter, this repair job should take no more than an hour at the most.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Wrench
  • Socket and ratchet
  • Wear a pair of rubber gloves before wiring the starter motor. Open the hood and secure the support arm.

  • Install the starter and secure the two bolts on either side.

  • Attach the red positive cable to the large screw post on the starter and secure the nut and washer tightly. Use a socket and ratchet or a wrench depending on the space available.

  • Attach the small clip-on wire to the male plug. Ensure it has a snug fit.

  • Hook-up the black negative cable to the battery and tighten thoroughly. Then attach the red positive cable to the battery and secure it.

  • Close the hood of the vehicle. Start your vehicle to ensure the starter turns the engine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't force the starter into place, it should easily fit back into its location. Hold the starter in place as you secure the bolts. Start one bolt then the next to ensure the holds align before tightening both bolts down.

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  • Photo Credit dead battery image by Katrina Miller from
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