When is it appropriate to try to rebuild a starter motor vs replacing it?
The choice of replacing or rebuilding parts is based on several factors:
- Cost: you can often save money refurbishing a part
- Tools: whether you have the tools and space to do the job. You may need specialist tools like pullers to do it correctly. If you don't have the tools you have to rent or buy them, which can make the cost greater than replacing the part
- Skills: there are a lot of tutorials on the web, but there's still skill or at least mechanical aptitude required
- Time: refurbishing parts takes time, some more than others. Do you have the time, or want to spend it on that?
- Enjoyment: do you like fixing stuff or not?
Refurbishing a part saves you money at the cost of time, requires tools and skills, and may or may not be something you enjoy. Replacing a part saves you time at the cost of more money and you don't get the pleasure of fixing it yourself, presuming you do.
At $50 or so replacing the part isn't expensive, so if you just want it to work or don't have the tools then buy the replacement and put it in. You save yourself $30 using a refurb kit at the cost of an hour or two if you have the tools available.