With the cold weather season, a grinding noise now periodically occurs at first start attempt of the day. The indication is that the starters drive gear isn't engaging correctly with the flywheel. On the second turn of the key the starter engages correctly. What is the likely cause, and fix for this issue? Is this a known problem with this engine?
2011 Honda Accord EXL 4 cylinder automatic 70,000 miles
Seems like you have already hit the nail on the head, being start not engaging on the flywheel.
Sounds like one of the following.
Teeth of start motor have worn, or the starter motor internals are worn and
it's clutch mechanism no longer engages it fully.
Flywheel has worn and teeth are no longer capable of meshing with the
I've never seen a flywheel wear its teeth down enough to not mesh with the starter motor.
I've also not seen that many starter motors fail without being quite old, but it's far more likely than flywheel damage. So I would bet that the Start Motor is beginning failing and needs replacing.