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Ignition Relay Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your ignition relay replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get a fair cost estimate for your ignition relay replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does an ignition relay replacement cost?

The average total cost for an ignition relay replacement is $87, including $27 for parts and $60 for labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle’s year and model.
The total parts cost includes a new ignition relay but may extend to a replacement ignition switch, control module, or car battery as well. As for the labor costs, it takes around 0.5 hours hours for a certified mechanic to inspect your vehicle, diagnose the problem, and complete an ignition relay replacement.
Here’s how much you’ll pay to replace an ignition relay in some popular vehicle models:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 22, 2024
Lexus IS
$154
$31
$124
1.0 Hours
May 19, 2024
Suzuki Reno
$171
$31
$140
1.0 Hours
May 16, 2024
Porsche Panamera
$157
$31
$127
1.0 Hours
May 15, 2024
Audi S4
$89
$52
$37
0.3 Hours
May 15, 2024
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
$91
$55
$36
0.3 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do you need for an ignition relay replacement? How much do they cost?

There are three broad categories of ignition systems: 
  • Conventional (or “contact breaker” or “breaker point”) ignition system
  • Electronic ignition system
  • Distributorless ignition system
Ignition control modules have been gradually phased out, but they’re still found in many vehicles from the early 2000s.
Here are the major parts of the electronic ignition system and what they do:
  1. The
    ignition switch
    ($5-$2,800) completes the circuit and fires up the engine when you turn the key or push the ignition switch. Hitting the ignition switch again will interrupt the electrical system and shut down the engine. Like a failing ignition relay, a bad ignition switch can prevent your car from starting.
  2. The ignition relay ($6-$105), or starter relay or starter solenoid, is the component that physically completes the circuit when it receives the signal from the ignition switch. It’s a small plastic box with several metal prongs.
  3. The
    car battery
    ($90-$700) supplies the ignition coils with a low-voltage current once the circuit is completed.
  4. Ignition coils
    ($15-$910) transform the 12-volt current of the car battery into 60-120,000 volts of raw power.
  5. Ignition cables, or spark plug wires
    , ($4-$805) pass the voltage created by the ignition coils and timed by the distributor caps to the spark plugs.
  6. Spark plugs
    ($2-$65) shoot a high-voltage bolt of power across a small gap in each of your vehicle engine’s cylinders, igniting the mixture of air and fuel inside at just the right time. These electrical explosions bring your car’s engine to life like a mechanical Frankenstein.
Some popular brands for ignition relay parts include Bosch, Denso and ACDelco, which you can purchase from local parts stores such as AutoZone and NAPA Auto Parts, or from online retailers such as Amazon and Summit Racing.
Keep in mind You might require a new ignition relay, switch, or coil to complete repairs to your vehicle’s ignition system.
Some popular brands for ignition relay parts include Bosch, Denso and ACDelco, which you can purchase from local parts stores such as AutoZone and NAPA Auto Parts, or from online retailers such as Amazon and Summit Racing.
If you prefer OEM parts, you can also try your vehicle manufacturer’s official website. Honda, Ford, MAKE, and just about every other car maker sells OEM parts online. Check your owner’s manual for specifications so you don’t buy the wrong part.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts cost much more than aftermarket parts but often include better warranties. For example, if a certified Toyota mechanic installs a genuine ignition relay in your car, you’ll get a 24-month/25,000-mile warranty. The average cost of parts is even higher for luxury makes like Audi or Mercedes-Benz. 
That said, some aftermarket performance parts manufacturers offer equal or higher quality parts.

Where can I get my ignition relay replaced?

Deciding on a local repair shop often feels like making a big decision on too little information. Are the prices fair? Are the mechanics trustworthy?
Jerry's GarageGuard™
puts the power back in your hands by giving you detailed fair price estimates for over 2,500 vetted auto repair shops across the country. 
With Jerry's GarageGuard™, you can see real hourly labor rates, diagnostics fees, and verified user reviews. Everything you love about Jerry—but for car repairs. Download the app to compare prices from vetted businesses like the ones below.
174 Reviews
Yoo's Auto Service & Collision
address
189 W Duncannon Ave, Philadelphia, PA
Ignition Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$110
(Parts - $25, Labor - $85)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
155 Reviews
1 Stop Auto Services
address
469 Crescent Blvd, Camden, NJ
Ignition Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$105
(Parts - $25, Labor - $80)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$40
143 Reviews
ESS Fleet Service
address
4020 Main St, Dallas, TX
Ignition Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$160
(Parts - $25, Labor - $135)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$185
107 Reviews
Steve's Tire and Auto - East
address
4811 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN
Ignition Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$155
(Parts - $25, Labor - $130)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace an ignition relay?

An ignition relay replacement requires confidence in dealing with car electronics, particularly the ignition system. Don’t underestimate the risk and complexity involved in working with batteries; our explanations are pretty simplified. 
Here’s what the pros will do:
  1. Test the starter relay by connecting a multimeter to a car battery terminal and measuring the current
  2. Disconnect the car battery cables
  3. Remove the mounting screws, cables, and wires of the old external relay and remove it from the fender or firewall
  4. OR remove the cables, motor housing, wires, and bolts securing the internal relay to the starter motor
  5. Install the new ignition relay, either external or internal, and replace the mounting equipment
  6. Test the car’s ignition system

What will a bad ignition relay do?

Because an ignition relay is crucial to maintaining a complete ignition circuit, a bad ignition relay can cause a host of ignition, engine, and power issues. Neglecting a fix could mean:
  • Your car has starting problems
  • The starter could get stuck ON, causing the starter motor (which kicks the engine awake and then is supposed to shut off) to stay on and wear out
  • The ignition relay keeps drawing from the car battery and runs it down
More importantly, a failing starter relay could cause a sudden loss of power in the engine. Seek a fix immediately before your safety is threatened.

What is an ignition relay replacement?

An ignition relay replacement targets the electronic component that activates your vehicle’s ignition system. Faulty relays can affect your car battery’s lifespan and engine efficiency. Since relays can’t be repaired, the old starter relay must be replaced with a new one.

What are the symptoms of a bad ignition relay?

The most common symptoms of a bad ignition relay are related to power, engine efficiency, and starting your car. Among other issues, you might notice:
  1. A whining noise: The starter motor is supposed to shut off when the main engine wakes up, but if the starter relay is stuck closed, the motor won’t take a break.
  2. Clicking noises: A damaged relay struggling to complete the ignition circuit will produce a clicking noise as the current sparks and sputters.
  3. Your car battery is low: If you have to jump-start your car in the mornings, it could be because the starter relay is stuck in the ON position and draining amps overnight.
  4. Your car won’t start or starts inconsistently: A completely failed ignition relay will leave you without the means to close the ignition system circuit and start your car.
  5. Your engine stalls: The ignition system doesn’t just start the car but also controls the ignition of fuel in the engine cylinders. A faulty relay could cut off the electrical spark that fires the engine, causing a sudden loss of power.
If you notice that your vehicle is making odd noises, experiencing starting issues, or suffering sudden power losses, you might need to replace the ignition relay.

How often do you have to replace an ignition relay?

The ignition relay is intended to last the life of your car, but heat, vibration, and power surges (or shorts) can shorten its lifespan. Often, a bad starter relay can be the fault of another failed piece. For example, if the relay is knocked slightly out of place, the small gap will cause electricity to continuously arc and melt the plastic.

Can I replace a starter relay myself?

A starter replay replacement is a moderately challenging DIY job that requires only basic equipment but demands some familiarity with electronics and your vehicle’s ignition system. 
Depending on your vehicle model, you could have an internal or external ignition relay, which changes the installation location. Whatever you do, don’t work on your car’s ignition without disconnecting the battery first.

FAQs

Your car probably won’t start with a bad relay. A failed relay that’s burnt out or stuck in the OFF position can’t complete the circuit that kickstarts the engine. If it does start and you hear a clicking sound, that’s probably a faulty relay failing to maintain a consistent connection.
Yes, a bad ignition relay can drain your battery. Just like your headlights, if the relay gets stuck in the ON position, it’ll continue to siphon energy even if you turn off your car. Consider buying a new relay if you find your replacement car battery doesn’t last as long as it should.
A failing ignition relay could be the result of excess heat, a power surge, improper alignment, or vibration. The failure of one of your car’s electrical components can often result in problems for the others. For example, if oil leaks from the car engine into the alternator, it could cause a short that fries the relay. Or if the fuse box is loose, the relay might get damaged knocking against other car parts.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.