Grinding gear sound on start

1/10 starts has a horrible gear grinding sound and hesitation to start. The other 9 times the car starts perfectly without issue.

The car eventually starts if I continue turning it over (3 seconds), even though the gear grinding is terrible, no issues after.

I am guessing my starter is starting to go, but why would it happen so intermittently?

Could it be a power issue? I had a really bad draw from a bad coil pack a few months ago that blew my fuse box and positive battery power cable. I since got that fixed and was told there wasn’t a draw anymore.

My car alarm is also going off randomly (maybe once a week), but that could be because the battery in my remote start is dead. My car alarm sounds like it is weak at the end of its beeps, which may indicate a low power issue?

Any ideas?

It could be the solenoid that puts the starter’s gear teeth in contact with the flywheel is going bad. It could also be the gear teeth on the flywheel have GONE bad in one section. Pull the starter, look in the hole and turn the engine over one full revolution so you can see the entire flywheel bit by bit. If you are lucky, the flywheel might be OK and the starter needs replacing. If you are unlucky… the transmission needs to come out so you can replace the flywheel ring gear.

I had this problem on an old car. I carried around a wrench to tun the motor just a bit so it would start. Did this for about a year and sold. I told the buyer about the problem. He knew a guy who would fix it.


This makes sense. From what you explained it sounds like a bad flywheel and likely needs to be replaced. Is there any reason why it would be the starter? If it was the starter the issue wouldn’t be so intermittent.

The one way clutch in the starter drive is slipping, replace the starter assembly.


I disagree, but you need to remove the starter anyway. Make sure you take a look at the flywheel so you don’t just replace the starter and get a surprise. Be sure to have the starter tested at the auto parts store, too.

1 Like

One symptom of a weak starter is that its gear is “reluctantly” thrown into mesh with the flywheel. That is why either the starter or the flywheel could be bad, and if you let it go, it will be both bad. You have gotten good advice on how to inspect the flywheel.

1 Like