Corolla Grinding Noise

My 2009 Toyota Corolla has started to make a grinding noise when starting. The sound is identical to when you try to start an idling car. Any ideas on what the problem is?


It may be the flywheel but let’s hope it is just the starter.

The starter is not fully engaging with the flywheel, and it is chewing up the flywheel. You should get this fixed right away. I had a Chevy V8 with this problem; it was a poor replacement starter, but I ended up having to get a new flywheel as well. Let’s hope yours is just the starter.

Camshaft gear noise on start up is a common complaint on some Toyota products.

From T-SB0087-09;

Immediately following a cold soak startup, some 2009 – 2010 model year Corolla and Matrix vehicles may exhibit a brief knock/rattle noise from the engine compartment for approximately one second.

The camshaft gear should be replaced, warranty coverage for 5 years/60,000 miles.

@Nevada_545 … just curious, what the heck is a “cold soak startup” anyway?

To OP: If this noise occurs during cranking & stops after you turn the key back to “run”, I concur w/Docknick, this needs to be addressed immediately. Otherwise you may be looking at an expensive repair requiring the removal of the xmission to replace the flywheel. If this were my car I wouldn’t start it up again until the starter is removed and the both the starter and flywheel teeth are visually examined.

A cold soak is a period of rest after the engine has completely cooled.

The engine oil drains from the variable valve timing actuator cavities in the camshaft gear. During start up the oil cushion is gone from the cam gear and metal to metal contact occurs, a brief knocking noise.

Thanks @Nevada_545.

Note to OP’er: Nevada_545 is one of the most experienced & well-informed of the posters here. It pays to heed this poster’s advice I think.

The description of the noise
"The sound is identical to when you try to start an idling car."
suggests to me a starter motor engagement problem, however…is it happening AFTER the engine starts any you release the key? That would suggest that the starter is not properly disengaging from the flywheel. I’ve seen this on a Corolla before.

Post back with the answer.

So i apologize for necroposting, but i have a 2010 corolla with the 1.8l, and i have the same issue as OP, and yes, for me at least it happens after i release the key and it goes back into the “run” position

For best results here suggest to post your Corolla’s problem as a new thread @mysteryboyee_163296 . Click “maintenance/repairs” above left, then “new topic” above right.

On my 2012 Corolla,the grinding went away after I replaced the serpentine belt.At first I taught it was the starter because it only made noise on cold starts.