Lincoln Mark VIII Starter Relay Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a Lincoln Mark VIII starter relay replacement is between $115 and $127. Labor costs are estimated between $44 and $56 while parts are priced at $71. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.

How does the Starter Relay work?

The starter relay powers the starter, which takes considerably higher amperage than can be safely passed through the ignition switch, but must be powered when the ignition switch is turned to 'start'. A relay is the perfect tool for the job, and has remained reliable for decades. When the ignition switch is turned to the start position, electrical power is sent from the ignition switch to the relay. Inside the relay there is a large circuit and a small circuit. The small circuit is for a signal from the ignition switch and causes the large circuit to close(connect) through electromagnetism. When the large circuit closes, power can now flow from the battery, through the closed circuit in the relay, and to the starter. To turn off the starter, the ignition switch being released stops electric power to the small circuit, so the electromagnet in the relay no longer closes the circuit. That means that when the electromagnet in the relay looses power from the ignition switch, the large circuit will open (disconnect). When the large circuit opens, the starter loses power and stops running.

What are the symptoms of a bad Starter Relay?

Starter relay failure will manifest itself in one of three ways. The starter may cease functioning when the ignition switch is turned to start, always function, possibly with the vehicle turned off, or the starter may only function occasionally. These failures all point to the starter relay at some point during diagnostics, and the way the problem is presented will generally predict the type of failure. A starter relay that is stuck on all the time will constantly power the starter motor, sometimes with the vehicle off, as mentioned. Also, a weak starter relay will result in intermittent operation of the starter motor, while a failed relay will prevent the starter motor from functioning at all.

Can I drive with a bad Starter Relay?

A failed starter relay must be replaced before the vehicle is operated. If the engine will start and run, but the starter intermittently engages or always engages, this will lead to a failed starter motor and damaged engine flywheel. Even if the vehicle operates properly, if the starter relay has a known issue it should be solved before the vehicle is used.

How often do Starter Relays need replacement?

Relays fail all the time, in new and old vehicles of all makes and models. Relays are generally reliable, but most vehicles will have at least one relay failure through the course of its service life. No matter how well made and how well maintained a vehicle is, the slightest bit of corrosion and years of wear on contact surfaces will eventually break down a relay. Also, if the relays are quickly powered on and off, such as with a dying battery, the contacts can arch and erode quickly.

How are Starter Relays replaced?

Replacing a relay is only a matter of identifying the relay according to diagrams in the owner's manual, under the lid of the power distribution or fuse block, or in the service manual for the vehicle. Once testing of the relay is complete, the failed relay is thrown away only after ensuring the new relay is exactly identical in function and size, and the new relay is firmly pressed in, pulled out, and once again pressed into the power distribution or fuse block. This will ensure that complete contact is made between the relay and the terminals on the vehicle.

RepairPal Recommendations for Starter Relay issues

Never attempt to repair a relay. There is generally nothing serviceable in a relay, and erroneous reconstruction will only lead to humidity entering the relay, a relay that does not function properly, or even melting of the entire relay. Relays are inexpensive sealed units that should be replaced, not tampered with.

What to look out for when dealing with Starter Relay issues

If a relay is proven good, but still does not function, the terminals can be tested in the junction block with a test light or multimeter. A multimeter is prefered because of the accuracy of readings, but a test light will inform the technician if power is present or not. Also, the Ignition switch may provide a switched ground to the starter relay, or it may provide a switched hot (battery voltage). This should be known when testing the relay and the power distribution block. In the case of a switched ground, there will only be continuity between the battery negative cable and the relay when the ignition switch is turned to the 'start' position.

Can I replace the Starter Relay myself?

Relay testing and replacement is simple, straightforward, and could be a fun project to share with a family member. The issues start to emerge when the relay is diagnosed as operable, but is not activated when the ignition switch is turned on. If testing of electrical circuits is understood, and a multimeter with long leads is present, this repair can be accomplished at home, but if the circuit is not understood and the relay is good, leave the job to a professional. This will likely prevent further damage or electric shock.