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

  • How did you arrive at the starter being the problem? I've heard a chain grinding noise at first start before pressuring a chain tensioner... Dec 21, 2016 at 18:44
  • does it start grinding as soon as you turn the key?
    – Ben
    Dec 23, 2016 at 2:21
  • I am 72 years old, and have experienced the sound of an incorrectly engaging starter on numerous occasions over the years. Yes it starts grinding immediately.
    – P. Gorman
    Dec 28, 2016 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


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 starter motor.

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.

  • I have seen flywheels with such badly worn teeth that the starter no longer engages... I have also seen brand new starters fail, and old ones work fine for years... This is such an old question why are you trawling ancient questions answer the newest ones as they may be more helpful.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 11, 2019 at 5:22
  • I have had starter bolts vibrate loose or out causing the start to not be seated firmly in place so that when it throws the starter gear forward to engage the flywheel it does not make full contact with the flywheel.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 7, 2020 at 23:28

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