How to Replace a Starter for a 2003 Toyota Corolla
If your 2003 Toyota Corolla is not starting properly, then you may need to replace the starter soon. Or, you may already be at the point where your Corolla is no longer starting at all and you only hear a whirling and a "click" as the starter fails to engage with the flywheel. If you have tried jumping your Corolla, then you can deduce that it is indeed the starter, and the not the battery, that is causing your car not to start.
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Wood blocks
- Socket wrench with adapters
- Mechanic's gloves
- Flat-head screwdriver
Raise your 2003 Toyota Corolla with a 2.5 ton (or more) floor jack and jack stands. Do not use the scissor jack that comes with the spare tire. Be sure that the Corolla is parked on a flat, level surface. Insert the floor jack underneath the Corolla's frame on the driver's side and raise so that the tires are a couple of inches off the ground. Place one of the jack stands next to the floor jack so that all four legs are resting on the ground and the jack stand is directly beneath the frame. Slowly lower the jack and repeat the same process on the passenger side. Place blocks behind the rear tires of the car so that the vehicle does not accidentally roll backwards while you are working on it.
Disconnect the positive and negative battery terminal cables. Make sure that the ignition key is turned to the "Off" position. This will ensure that you will not be electrocuted, nor harmed by the engine cooling fan turning on while the car is at rest. Remove the battery tray with your socket wrench. Wait for 15 minutes for any charges to dissipate before doing any other work on the car.
Use your socket wrench to also remove the driver's-side under-covers from the engine so that you can access the starter, which is placed near the transaxle for the driver's side and is between the engine and the bell housing for the transmission.
Disconnect the wiring-connection tab that leads to the starter. This can either be done with your hands or by using a flat-head screwdriver to gently pry the tab apart while depressing the button in the center of the tab.
Remove the two bolts holding the starter to the flywheel. Each of the bolts are of different lengths, hence you will need to remember which one goes into which hole. Place the top bolt on the top hole of the new starter immediately after removing it from the old starter. This way, you will not have to rely on memory or trial and error to figure out which bolt goes into which hole.
Use a torque wrench to bolt the new starter into place. Torque the bolts to 28 ft-lbs. by setting the torque wrench to that specific tightness. If the bolts are not going in straight, then it means you have not lined the starter up properly with the flywheel, in which case the Corolla will not start.
Reconnect the wiring-connection tab that leads to the starter. Reconnect the battery shelf and the cables back to the battery. Try to turn the car on. If it turns on successfully, then you have completed the job. Reconnect the bottom engine under-cover and lower the Corolla.