Car Engine Grinding Noise

My car has been making this grinding noise when I start it sometimes, but not all the time. I had the starter motor replaced, and that seemed to help for awhile but the noise is still there, and it sounds horrible.

I took the car back to the mechanic who installed the starter motor and they now say I need a new flywheel or something and it will cost me $500. What in the world in the flywheel and why does it cost so much. Does this story sound reasonable to you?
Dorothy, Fresno CA

Hey there Dorothy,

That grinding noise you have been hearing was the starter motor gear grinding and damaging the teeth on the flywheel. The flywheel is between the engine and the transmission so either the engine or the transmission has to come out of the car to gain access to the flywheel.

The flywheel itself is pretty inexpensive, but the labor involved is where the expense is. I would expect auto repair labor rates in California to be very high, so this quote of $500 is probably not a bad deal depending on what kind of vehicle this is.

There are probably only a few metal teeth that are worn or missing on your flywheel that is why you only hear the noise sometimes, the starter has to engage the bad part of the flywheel and most of the time the starter engages the good teeth, so no noise.

The starter motor was probably bad, and you continued to start the ca with this metal to metal noise so the bad starter damaged the flywheel. Had you stopped and replaced the starter motor as soon as you heard the noise the flywheel would have been spared.



Andi birthday 035

Here is a picture of a flywheel, my finger is pointing to some worn teeth around the edge of the flywheel. The starter motor grabs these teeth and spins the engine around to start it.

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Killian

    Hi,i have been experiencing similar noise coming from the engine for my Toyota Regius.When I start it makes some grinding noise which is very irritating and it goes off after a while or when I rave it stops.Few weeks ago it used to take just few minutes then it goes off but I have noticed that in the past two days,it takes a while.Could it be the same problem that Dorothy above has?

  • Aubrey Webster

    I’m very pleased you took the time and wrote that post!?

    -Yours Truly