I put a new starter in my 2007 Tacoma about a month ago. In about 10% of starts, the starter continues to be driving the flywheel for about 5-10 sec even after the engine has started, which is evident by continuing the standard starter noise running in parallel to the regular engine sound. After that, it stops 'starting' and the engine runs as usual. Othee 90% of the time, this doesn't happen.

What could be the reason for this behavior and does it require attention? Why does it happen only sometimes?

4 Answers 4


Starters quite commonly need to have "shims" added when they are installed. These thin pieces of metal act as spacers to make sure the gear on the starter lines up exactly with the teeth of the flywheel. If the starter is out of position even slightly, it can cause the starter to get "stuck" and remain engaged until the gear finally slides back into place.

There could be other causes, but since it's happening right after a new starter install, this should be considered.


The problem is the starter motor relay. When they get old they have a tendency to 'stick'.The symptoms matches your problem. Changing the relay wil sort you out. Dont bother testing the old one ! They are inexpensive!

  • 1
    Is the relay a separate part from the starter itself (which is brand new, like I said)?
    – amphibient
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 20:07
  • Exclamation points (!) aren't used the way you think they are. They should be very rare, and all of them are incorrectly used in your post.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 20:28
  • 2
    Yes the relay is a separate part. It is located in a fuse box in the engine compartment . The manufacturer is DENSO !
    – Arka Patra
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 20:45
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    @user12906 The starter relay or solenoid is almost always right on the starter, as it has to handle a whole bunch of current and you don't want long cables. They are relatively cheap, though. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 0:31
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    @Daniel Griscom Yes majority of the manufactures like the relay on the starter motor itself. But japanese manufacturers like toyota, suzuki and honda , tend to position it inside the fuse box.
    – Arka Patra
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 5:41

Starter Relays are often sold with the starter itself too. If this is a new starter, I would complain to the company that sold it to you as this should not be happening! Additionally, spinning the starter like that is not good for the starter, your fly wheel, or the engine itself.

I am not trying to make it sound like this is a major problem, but you shouldn't be happy about it! Yes, the relay is no more than 30 or 40 bucks, but if the starter came with a knew defunct one...I don't see a real reason you should have to buy another!

They are also not the easiest to change as they often involve removing the starter which involves you either getting under the car or lifting the car.


I'm sorry, not the relay, the solenoid.. The relay is not the issue, the solenoid is the issue. Look at this image . The smaller cylinder in the picture is the solenoid and it actuates the starter gear, shoving it forward (to the right of the picture) to engage with the flywheel and spin the engine.

  • It is a new starter and solenoid. Why couldn't it be the relay that controls the solenoid that is at fault?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 22:20

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