Honda Accord won’t start? It could be that the starter needs to be replaced. Follow this picture guide for the quick and easy way to replace the starter in a 2003-2008 Honda Accord.

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The vehicle shown in this guide is a 2004 Honda Accord 2.4L 4-cylinder, automatic transmission.

How to Know if your Starter is Dead?

If your car doesn’t start, the first place to look is the battery. Make sure the battery connectors are not corroded, if they are, you may no longer be getting a good connection to ground, and the battery won’t give out enough amps to start the car. There are other steps you can take to diagnose your car battery.

If you have determined that the battery is good, and charged up, then it is quite likely your starter is bad. In general, car batteries last about 3-6 years. Alternators last for about 200,000 miles, and starters last around 100,000 miles. These are all general rules of thumb (there are lots of exceptions) so treat these as a rough guideline.

How long does it take to Replace the Starter in a Honda Accord?

It will take about 2.5 hours to complete this repair. The starter is located under the exhaust manifold and is a bit harder to reach than in some other vehicles like a Toyota Corolla or a Dodge pick-up, so it takes a little longer than most starter replacements. That being said, it is not very complicated.

Hardest Part: Removing the 2 mounting bolts which may be stiff due to salt/dirt build-up.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Starter in a Honda Accord?

A starter replacement job will cost you about $1000 at the dealer. Doing this job yourself will cost about $100.

Tools and Supplies:

The following are the required tools and supplies needed to complete this repair:

How to Replace the Starter in a Honda Accord – Step by Step Guide

Start by parking in a level place and setting the parking brake. Then pop the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable. You don’t want to short out the new starter.

Remove Negative Battery Cable

Next, remove the plastic engine cover by removing the two cap nuts using a 10mm wrench or socket.

Remove Engine Cover Accord

After that, remove the exhaust manifold. This consists of 5 nuts/bolts of size 14mm located along the front of the manifold, as shown.

Remove Exhaust Manifold Bolts Honda Accord

There is also a mounting bracket underneath that should be removed. This is also a 12mm bolt.

Remove lower mounting bracket accord

Once the nuts/bolts are removed, grasp the exhaust manifold and pull it straight outward. Leave the air intake hose attached. This will make it a bit stiff, but will save time/energy in the process.

exhaust manifold Honda Accord

Use a rope or bungee cord to secure the manifold out of the way.

Carefully remove the manifold gasket. If you are able to remove it without damaging it, you can clean and reuse it. Otherwise, it is an inexpensive part to replace.

In the view below, you can see the starter underneath in the gap created by pulling back the manifold.

Honda Accord exhaust manifold

The next steps involve disconnecting all of the wire connections attached to the old starter.

Use a pliers to compress the plastic clip holding the wiring harness to the starter,.

Honda Accord clip

Then, press it out.

There is a knock sensor just aft of the starter. It is easy to remove by pressing the plastic tab and pulling straight out.

Though it is technically not required to remove this, I still recommend it because it is easy and will give you a little bit more room to get the old starter out and the new starter in. It also protects it from inadvertently getting damaged (breaking off the wire) while you are working with the starter.

Knock Sensor removal Honda Accord

Disconnect the solenoid actuator by pulling straight off. In this view, ‘straight off’ is to the left.

Signal Wire removal Starter Honda Accord

Now you are ready to remove the main power to the starter. Peel back the protective rubber boot, and use a 12mm wrench to remove the nut.

Remove Starter Main Power Cable Accord

The next step is to remove the 2 starter mounting bolts. If there is a hardest part about this repair job, this is it. These bolts tend to be quite tight and perhaps slightly rusty/corroded.

If you can spray them with some penetrating oil the day before, or at least an hour ahead, that will help.

The bottom mounting bolt is a 17mm. I found that a 17mm socket, with a short 3″ extension worked well.

Remove Lower Mounting Bolt Starter

It is pretty tight in there, but is definitely possible. If your bolt is very tight, use a cheater bar. In my case, I used an old 4′ pipe I had lying around. You just need this to break it loose, then use the socket wrench to take the bolt the rest of the way out.

Cheater Bar

This is the lower 17mm mounting bolt once it was removed.

lower mounting bolt starter Honda Accord

The upper starter mounting bolt has an extended head to make it easier to get at, which is appreciated! It is a 14mm bolt. Use the same socket/cheater bar procedure (if necessary) to remove the upper mounting bolt.

Remove the 14mm Upper Mounting bolt starter Honda Accord

This is the upper mounting bolt once removed.

14mm Upper Mounting bolt

Next, grab the old starter and maneuver it out.

Old Starter removal Honda Accord

Look inside, or take a picture to inspect the flywheel teeth. Make sure they are not worn or damaged, which could indicated more severe problems.

flywheel Honda Accord

Here is the original and the new starter side by side. Make sure they look the same.

For reference, and just to be as completely clear as possible, the vehicle shown here is a 2.4L 4-cyl Automatic Transmission Honda Accord 2004. The original starter had this model number on it:

  • Mitsuba SM61209
  • RAA 46
  • 12v 1.6 Japan

I replaced the original starter with an aftermarket starter marked with these part numbers:

old vs new starter

Now, slither in the new starter. The main power connection is oriented up.

Install the new starter into a Honda Accord

Get the new starter mounting holes lined up.

New starter Honda Accord

I recommend putting a bit of anti-seize on the mounting bolts. This will make the job easier for you in another 200,000 miles!

14mm Upper mounting bolt starter Honda Accord

Reinstall the upper and lower mounting bolts. I found an universal socket joint helpful for speeding up the process a bit.

bolt installation Honda Accord

Next, attached the solenoid signal wire. Note that the connector slides onto a flat metal piece. Make sure that the connector goes on correctly, not over or under the connection, then slide the protective rubber boot over the connection.

solenoid wire Honda Accord

Put the main power connector onto the stud on the top of the starter.

Main Power connector starter Honda Accord

Re-install the mounting nut and tighten with the 12mm wrench.

12mm mounting nut starter Honda Accord

Then pull the protective rubber boot over the connection.

New Starter installed in a Honda Accord

Re-attach the knock sensor. Note that it must be oriented correctly for the slot to line up, then push it on.

Reinstall knock sensor

That’s it for installing the new starter!

Now we can put everything back together.

Clean off the manifold gasket mounting surfaces to remove and dirt, grime, and corrosion.

Cleaning manifold mating surface Honda Accord

Also clean the gasket itself or install a new one:

Exhaust Manifold Gasket

Verify it is not backwards, which is easy to do. The gasket is not symmetric. You can tell, if the holes don’t line up, then flip it.

Install exhaust manifold gasket on a Honda Accord

With the gasket installed, carefully position the exhaust manifold over the two mounting studs and slide it into place.

Reinstall Exhaust manifold on a Honda Accord

TIP: I recommend attaching the lower mounting bolt first. If you do the top ones first (like I did the first time…) then this bottom hole likely won’t line up! I had to loosen all the top ones to get this bolt in, then go back and re-tighten the upper nuts and bolts.

12mm lower mounting bracket manifold Honda Accord

Torque the mount bolts on the exhaust manifold to 16 lbf-ft.

Torque to 16 ft lbs

Using this method, you do not have to remove the air intake hose, if you do, it is easily damaged, though not super expensive to replace.

That’s pretty much it, all of the complicated stuff is done.

complete Honda Accord

Replace the engine cover and put on the 10mm nuts to hold it in place.

Honda Accord engine cover installation

Re-attach the negative battery cable and tighten it up (mine was 10mm).

Honda Accord battery

Double-check the engine bay and make sure you did not leave any tools lying about (I’ve done it before – easy to do).

Honda Accord engine bay 2004

And that’s about it. Go ahead and try out your new starter!

I hope you found this helpful and saved some money along the way! Have a great day!

Tools and Supplies Used:

The following are the required tools and supplies used in this repair:

Increase Battery Power by 50%

Still reading? If so, the original battery (51R)  in the 2003-2007 Honda accords is a bit underpowered in my opinion. If you need a bit more power in starting your car, consider following this guide to upgrade to a 24F battery. This upgrade goes from 500 CCA to 750 CCA and the car starts like a dream!