I have a 2002 VW Jetta TDI. I have replaced the starter 4 times within the last 6 months, and I have also replaced the battery.

The pinion gear on the starters are getting grinned out. it will start up nicely for the first day, then it gets louder and louder each day after like it's grinding between the fly wheel and the pinion gear. The flywheel looks fine, but I am burning out the pinion gear, or it's not fully engaging.

Is there something else I am missing? Is there something that would preventing the started to fully throw out the pinion gear?

Please help.

  • Has the ring gear moved on the flywheel so the teeth don’t properly engage?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 15:48
  • I do not believe so. When checking the fly wheel, it looks as if it's ok.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 16:05
  • How do you check it? have you checked the indexing depth?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 16:05
  • I just eyeballed it. Tried moving the fly wheel to check to see if the gears aren't broken. the Gears on the Fly wheel seem to be ok, it's the started pinion gear that keeps burning out.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


Damaged teeth on the flywheel will damage the starter drive gear. Fix is to replace the flywheel ring gear.

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