My 51 plate (2001 model for the Americans on the exchange) Clio has started occasionally making a horrible grinding sound instead of starting the car. Alternatively it sometimes just makes a whizzing sound. For example, this morning it made a funny whizz sound (bit like a motor might make when not attached to anything) twice, then a horrible grindy noise once, then finally started the car (after it turned the engine over once or twice - cold day here in sunny England!)

This is common, and it often struggles a bit when it does make the car start, so I think its a case that the starter needs replacing.

When I replace the starter with a new one, will I need to replace the starter ring gear too?

It has occasionally been making the grinding sound for the last month or so, but it's just recently started doing this new whizzing sound.

1 Answer 1


You should not have to replace the ring gear on the flywheel. However though, if this continues after you replace your starter and you are absolutely sure that the starter is not the problem, you may need to replace the flywheel or, shim the flywheel. When resurfacing a flywheel you need to have a shim which is a piece of metal that lies between the crankshaft mounting point and the flywheel that compensates for lost space due to machining.

There are also shims for starter motors as well. I would replace your starter motor first. You would need to pull the whole transmission and flywheel just to get the ring gear off. I think it should be fine. As long as you haven't destroyed the ring gear with excessive grinding.

  • excellent news! now I just need to save up for the starter and we're golden :)
    – Miller86
    Feb 29, 2016 at 10:42
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    Oh and by the way, the whizzing sound is the bendix pin not shooting out of the starter. That's why I think it's the starter.
    – cloudnyn3
    Feb 29, 2016 at 10:46
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    @Miller86 When you take the old starter out, you may be able to see/feel the teeth on the flywheel to check their condition.
    – HandyHowie
    Feb 29, 2016 at 11:03
  • @HandyHowie - I think my mechanic mate who helped me switch the driveshafts out recently said that the starter on the model Clio I have is reasonably easy to replace given its location at the very front of the engine bay - this would mean hopefully that I can review the flywheel at the same time :)
    – Miller86
    Feb 29, 2016 at 11:11

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