How to Change a CRV Starter

Updated February 21, 2017

The car's starter motor cranks the engine and works with the battery and ignition to start the engine. If your car malfunctions when you try to start it, you may need to replace the starter motor. On the Honda CRV, the starter motor connects directly to the battery's positive (red) cable and generally sits near the engine on the passenger side. The exact location could vary depending on the year the car was made, but following the battery cable leads to it.

Disconnect the battery's negative (black) cable by removing the cable's hold-down clamp nut with a wrench. Please note that the Powertrain Control Module will lose its memory of the engine idle characteristics and will need to "relearn" them.

Unplug the electrical connector for the knock sensor by depressing the release button with the flat-blade screwdriver. You can also use your finger for this.

Label each of the wires connected to the terminals on the starter motor solenoid, so you know where each one of them goes. Disconnect the wires, along with any clips attaching the wires to the starter assembly.

Remove the starter motor from the engine by removing the motor's two mounting bolts.

Mount the replacement starter motor. Tighten the larger mounting bolt to 47 foot pounds and the smaller one to 33 foot pounds. These specifications can vary depending on the year your CRV was made.

Connect all the wires to the starter motor in the exact same way they were connected to the old motor. Reconnect the knock sensor's electrical connector, and then reconnect the battery cable.

Perform the PCM idle learn procedure. Make sure all electrical components are turned off, start the engine, and let it run at 3,000 RPM with the car in park or neutral until the fan comes on or the coolant reaches 90 degrees C. Let the engine idle for at least five minutes with the throttle fully closed and the car still in park or neutral. The fan may come on while the engine idles during the PCM procedure. Don't include any time the fan is on as part of the five minutes; stop the count, and resume it once the fan shuts off.


Don't assume the starter is the problem first. Other issues can keep the engine from starting properly, including problems with the battery cables, the battery voltage, the fuses and the voltage to the solenoid.


Always wear protective clothing like leather gloves and goggles to protect yourself from dangerous materials like battery acid. The CRV's radio may have an antitheft system that activates when you disconnect the battery. Make sure you have the antitheft codes to program into the radio after reconnecting the battery.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Labels
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About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.