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I have a 2009 Honda Accord. Over the past several months, I've noticed a grinding sound immediately after cold-starting the engine. It only lasts for a fraction of a second, doesn't continue once the engine is running, and doesn't happen if I shut the engine off and start it again a few minutes later.

A little background:

The car has 92,000 miles on it. I've noticed that it burns oil pretty quickly, so I keep an eye on it and make sure to add more if needed. Most recently, I got an oil change with a high mileage synthetic, but that has not solved the issue.

Does anyone know what this could be? Is it a big deal? I'm obviously worried about damaging the engine. Is this a major thing? Or is it something I can live with, provided I don't mind the frightening noise that occurs on startup.

Any help you can give is greatly appreciated!

  • Manual or automatic? – Mike Saull May 16 '13 at 15:53
  • Automatic transmission. – Shadowman May 17 '13 at 13:15
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You might be interested in this question:

What are the audible symptoms of a failing starter motor?

The diagnosis in that question and answer period was that I probably had an aging starter motor (correct).

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If it's a manual transmission, possibly the starter motor is slow to disengage and is grinding against the flywheel as the engine is firing up. The low oil is very suspicious though and doesn't go along with that. Could just be a coincidence. Or, could be pointing to something far worse. However, engine related startup scary noises are normally more of a rattling sound than a grind...

  • It's an automatic transmission. – Shadowman May 17 '13 at 13:16
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I have a Honda accord 2008, I notice the grinding nose at initial start, after car was sits for a few hours, cold weather or hot, still makes the grinding noise as engine starts up for a couple of seconds but not all the times. I agree with the previous answer of " slow disengagement of the motor starter" I went to few Honda dealers in orange county CA, they all said; haven't heard of this problem before. I was recommended to leave the car for over night for a diagnostic checkup but because of the inconvenience and $100+ charges I haven't done it yet. On the issue of oil consuming, it's a recall. I took to the dealer and the problem was fixed.

  • Any idea of slow disengagement of the motor starter is a serious thing? Or is this something I can live with? – Shadowman Sep 26 '13 at 17:39
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What you are hearing is a defective VTC actuator, which in part controls the oil pressure. It is defective in 10"s of thousands of Honda 4 cylinder engines built between 08 and 13. It is mentioned in Honda TSB 09-010. Honda will not fix this problem. The cars with this issue are worth very little in trade, and the defect may eventually lead to engine failure

  • Ugh. Wonderful. What can be done about it? And (roughly) how expensive is it to fix? – Shadowman Jan 13 '16 at 15:30
  • The repair is less than $500, I don't see these cars being devalued any more than that (unless a catastrophic failure has already occurred). – kmarsh Jan 13 '16 at 20:24

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