How to Replace the Starter in a Toyota Highlander
You discover that the 2.4L or 3.3L engine in your 2003 to 2006 Toyota Highlander won't start. According to the battery test, there are no problems there. You just replaced the alternator last year. Therefore, chances are your starter is the problem. While you could have a mechanic replace the starter for you, that can be rather expensive. Instead, follow the steps below to replace the starter yourself.
- Moderately Challenging
- Battery terminal puller
- Car jack
- Masking tape
- Permanent marker
- Baby food jar
- Torque wrench
Park your Toyota Highlander 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.
Remove the battery and battery tray. Raise the front end of the car with a jack for easier access to the starter.
Label the starter electrical connections by wrapping a small piece of tape around the wire and indicating where it connects to the starter with a permanent marker. Disconnect the starter wiring.
Unscrew and remove the starter mounting bolts. Place all nuts and bolts in the jar to prevent loss. Remove the malfunctioning 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. 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.
Reverse the removal process to install the new starter. Torque the starter mounting bolts to 27 foot pounds (37 Nm).
Lower your Highlander back to the ground. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Turn the key in the ignition to see if your new starter motor functions correctly.