2010 Corolla grinding noise

We have a 2010 Corolla and upon startup there is a grinding noise and it doesn’t turn over. It sounds like metal on metal or if you turned the key too long when starting. The car would occasionally grind for a split second at times but now it is constant and won’t run. I have read this is common with some years corollas. is it starter or flywheel? I have a video but not sure if I can post it.

Remove the starter to see if the teeth on the starter are chewed up or the teeth on the ring gear/flywheel are chewed up.



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Thanks. I assume that picture is of the flywheel gear with some of the teeth chewed up?

My wife thought she smelt something burning when it happened

also, when checking the flywheel how can I turn it to check all the teeth?

They have a tool for that. check out autozone loan a tool or other autoparts stores loan a tool programs.

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Put a socket/ratchet on the crankshaft bolt.

And that tool is used when the transmission is out of the vehicle.


Thanks. Not sure if I’m that advanced. The grinding noise was heard at times after turning the key, for a split hair of a second after the car turned over. now you just hear the grinding and the car doesn’t start. I can take the starter out and look at that but not sure if I’m skilled enough to turn the flywheel. Might just have to buy a rebuilt starter to eliminate that. There is a place near me that rebuilds them, I have bought from them before and no issues

If the ring gear/flywheel teeth are damaged, a replacement starter won’t fix that.


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It’s difficult to diagnose a problem without being able to hear the noise or see the car in person. However, based on the description you provided, it sounds like the issue could potentially be with the starter or the flywheel.
Try the following troubleshooting steps, as it might help you.

  1. Check the starter: The starter is a motor that is responsible for turning the engine over when you turn the key in the ignition. If the starter is not functioning properly, it can cause a grinding noise. To check the starter, you can try tapping on it with a hammer or screwdriver handle to see if this helps to get the engine started. If the engine starts, it is likely that the starter is the problem and may need to be replaced.

  2. Check the flywheel: The flywheel is a heavy disc that is connected to the crankshaft of the engine. It helps to keep the engine running smoothly and can cause a grinding noise if it is damaged or not functioning properly. To check the flywheel, you will need to remove the starter and inspect it for any visible signs of damage. If the flywheel looks damaged or is making a grinding noise, it may need to be replaced.

  3. Check the ignition switch: The ignition switch is responsible for sending an electrical signal to the starter when the key is turned. If the ignition switch is not functioning properly, it can cause a grinding noise. To check the ignition switch, you can try wiggling the key in the ignition to see if this affects the grinding noise. If wiggling the key seems to make a difference, it is possible that the ignition switch is the problem and may need to be replaced.

  4. Check for any other issues: If you have checked the starter, flywheel, and ignition switch and none of these seem to be the problem, it is possible that there is another issue causing the grinding noise. In this case, it is a good idea to consult a mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.

I hope these specific steps are helpful in troubleshooting the grinding noise issue with your 2010 Toyota Corolla. If you have any other questions or are unsure of how to proceed, don’t hesitate to ask.

If the engine is not turning the damaged teeth will be visible. If the engine turns maybe they won’t be.

I have one of those for many years and used it a lot. Not sure why you would imply its only use is working on a trans outside of the vehicle. My use is the opposite. It makes the job of installing/removing an automatic transmission much easier. It’s also nice for turning the flywheel for clutch or other engine work. Much easier to turn from a large gear than a small bolt for some jobs.

Problem could also be the starter motor itself. I think if I had that problem I’d remove the starter motor with the intent to replace it. I’d check the gear at the end of the starter that mates with the flywheel, and the flywheel teeth. If those look ok, pretty good chance replacing starter motor will solve.

Note that electrical problems (not enough charge on battery for example) can cause starter motor to engage/disengage rapidly and make this sort of noise. So make sure the battery is in good condition and fully charged.

Note, if you ecide to replace the starter motor, suggest to purchase the replacement from Toyota or at least a Denso unit. Faulty aftermarket starter motors pretty common complaint here.

One final note, replacing starter motor is a big job b/c of where it is located. You mentioned you thought your diy’er skills were not advanced enough to check flywheel teeth. If so, suggest to hire this job out to a shop.