just bought the car 1 1/5 months ago check engine light was on and diagnosed and now runs off ( I have noticed coolant slowly disappearing as well as small amounts of oil (oil is in perfect condition). Yesterday morning as well as today I have noticed a loud grinding for about 2 seconds after as the engine just got into the on position then goes away for the whole day (even if Parked for a few hours) What could cause this issue?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Nov 14, 2022 at 18:03
  • Right after crank/start? Sticky starter motor staying partially engaged for a bit possibly?
    – Chris
    Nov 15, 2022 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


Just a theory, but I've seen this happen.

When you start your car, you turn the key to the START position, then as soon as the engine catches you release the key and you're assuming that it returns to the RUN position on its own as it always did.

But the ignition switch is old, the dielectric grease in it is thickened from age (and/or from cold weather) and instead of springing back to the RUN position, the switch is sticking in the START position for a few moments. What you hear is the starter remaining engaged after the car has started. This has the potential of hacking up your starter's pinion gear and the flywheel's ring gear.

All ignition switches get a little warm from contact current while the engine is running, and this warms up the dialectric grease and makes it less sticky. Therefore, it only happens on the first start of the day.

To see if this is what's happening, on your first cold start of the day, LOOK at the ignition key and switch as you start the car and release the key as normal. Is it sticking for a moment, accompanied by a grinding sound, then jumping back to RUN and the grinding stops?

If so, you should replace the ignition switch, but you can get by temporarily by consciously, physically returning the key to the RUN position when the car starts instead of just releasing the key to spring back on its own.

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