Does your Corolla just click when you turn the key? If the battery and connections are okay, you may have a bad starter. Read this article for instructions on replacing the starter in a Toyota Corolla.

Diagnosing a Bad Starter

The 2004 Toyota Corolla had been sitting outside for a couple weeks without being started, and when I went to start it, and the engine wouldn’t turn over. I have heard it recommended that tapping the starter or solenoid with a hammer may jog the solenoid loose, but this trick didn’t work for me.

Another thing to check is the grounding cable on the starter. Make sure it is not corroded, loose, or damaged. If it is, replace it, or get another ground going to that spot. Check out this post for tips on figuring out if the problem is your battery, starter, or alternator.

Starters don’t like to sit idle for long periods of time.

I popped the clutch and got it going. Drove it home and replaced the starter at home.

The process for replacing the starter is really straightforward. I would give this job 3 out of 5 wrenches on the difficulty scale…

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Tools and parts needed for this repair:

Step by Step Procedure for Replacing the Starter in a Toyota Corolla

These are the steps that will be covered in this picture guide:

  1. Remove the negative battery terminal.
  2. Jack up the vehicle and secure it with jack-stands.
  3. Disconnect the plastic electrical connector from the existing starter.
  4. Remove the grounding cable using a 12mm wrench.
  5. Remove the two 14mm bolts holding on the old starter and remove it.
  6. Position the new starter and re-install the two 14mm bolts.
  7. Reconnect the grounding cable using a 12mm wrench.
  8. Reconnect the electrical connector.
  9. Reconnect the negative battery terminal.

Detailed Procedure for Starter Replacement

The following steps walk you through the process of replacing the starter on a 2004 Toyota Corolla. These instructions would also apply for a 2003-2008 Corolla, Matrix or Pontiac Vibe.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal using the 10mm wrench or socket.

Jack the vehicle up and secure it with jack-stands.

Get under the car and locate the starter. It is found right above the oil filter. As is seen in this photo. The oil filter is in the lower left part of the photo, dusty orange/black and out of focus. The starter with solenoid attached is near the center of the image.

Then disconnect the electrical connections on the solenoid. One is a plastic connector where you need to press down the tab on the side with your thumb or a flat-head screwdriver, and pull it out.

The other is the ground cable nut, remove it with a 12mm wrench.

Then remove the two 14mm bolts holding the starter on, one on the top, and one on the bottom. You may want to use a socket extension (3″) to get to the top bolt.

Remove the old starter. If it doesn’t come loose right away, give it a few whacks with a rubber mallet. Here’s the old starter after it was removed.

Position of the new starter in the same place as the old starter. Re-insert the bolts in the reverse order.

After installing the new starter, reconnect connect the negative battery terminal.

I’m telling you, this is a super easy job to do yourself. Do yourself a favor, save a couple hundred bucks and do the repair yourself.

If you want the Denso remanufactured starter, you can buy it here:

Denso remanufactured starter

But I bought this TYC starter off Amazon (Update: still working 4 years later!). Here’s the link:

Corolla Starter (TYC)

Good luck!

Tools and parts needed for this repair: