The sound reminds me of what it sounds like on older model cars when you turn the key to start when the engine is already running and the starter makes a loud shrill.

It started a few weeks ago and only happened once every ~20 starts. Now it is happening every ~5th start. I turn the power off, then back on to start again. This last time it took 5 tries before it finally started.

How can I troubleshoot?

2013 Honda Accord EX-L v6

  • I'd suggest you have a look at the starter ring gear. You could pull the starter and inspect it. It sounds like the starter may have been a little bit out of adjustment and caused it to eat up the starter ring gear. Just a gut check here, though. Jul 19, 2016 at 21:27
  • 1
    As. A Honda Master Tech I can say those starters generally have problems with the bendix pin getting stuck usually the solenoids are good, but due to debris and poor engineering the pin corroded and get stuck and won't shoot out horizontally to engage your flywheel.
    – cloudnyn3
    Jul 20, 2016 at 8:56
  • Will I need to remove the starter to determine if this is the issue?
    – Roger
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:54
  • Turns out the solenoid is firing, but the little angles on the gears of the starter just mash against the flywheel and do not go far enough to grab the teeth. Looking elsewhere online, it seems this is a Honda defect! We turned the flywheel a full 360 degrees manually. There is one shiny worn area with three teeth affected. Sad, because the issue suggests a full replacement of the flywheel and starter. Ouch.
    – Roger
    Aug 1, 2016 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


Inspect the starter. Before extracting the starter make sure that the battery is disconnected. Check that the pinion (red) can move axially on the shaft (blue).

Make sure that the pinion(red) can move axially on the shaft (blue)

Yes, you need to remove the starter. I am sorry, i can't give you exact details about your specific model. In generally you need to

  1. disconnect the battery (very important: the starter is directly connected to the battery, a short can heat a wrench in milliseconds to red hot).
  2. disconnect the wires to the starter.
  3. remove the starter.

Removing a starter under normal conditions is easy, unless the location is obstructed

  • Checking this requires removing the starter, correct? Is there somewhere I can read through the steps to perform this?
    – Roger
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:55
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    Yes, you need to remove the starter. I edited my answer accordingly
    – Martin
    Jul 20, 2016 at 15:19
  • Thanks, I will follow up and share info on the issue and resolution.
    – Roger
    Jul 20, 2016 at 15:36
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    The pinion is connected by lever to the solenoid (little brass cylinder on the top). It should be easier to check the pinion with a removed solenoid. If the pinion doesn't move lightly on the shaft you can put some drops of engine oil on the shaft. If you feel confident you can disassemble the entire starter and check the brushes (on top) and lube both bushings with some drops of engine oil. Attention: The brushes are spring-loaded and the springs like to disappear in the darkest corner of your workshop.
    – Martin
    Jul 21, 2016 at 9:11
  • The pinion on the starter is in perfect condition. The problem in my case is that there are 3 teeth on the flywheel where the pinion hits the teeth and rubs instead of sliding in between the teeth. They were easy to spot (shiny and smoothed out). The teeth on the pinion and the teeth on the flywheel have angled edges to prevent perfect impact when the solenoid pushes into place. In my case the flywheel gears have lost the edge of some of the angles on the teeth. This seems a huge defect on Honda's part. The flywheel replacement is major $$. I am going to wait to see how it goes.
    – Roger
    Aug 1, 2016 at 22:58

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