November 10, 2022

Car Makes A Grinding Noise When Starting

Car repair

Wondering why your car makes a grinding noise when starting? If yes, read this article.

Generally, when you press the key to start your car, the engine emits a brief, hiccoughing noise. It’s called “cranking.” You hear it every time you start your car because it indicates that your car’s starter is working properly. But what happens if your engine doesn’t crank and makes a grinding noise?

When you turn the keys for ignition, you hear your car making a grinding noise when starting. The starter of the car seems to be most likely damaged. But how do we know what makes the starter cause noises like this?

The starter comprises a shaft, a pinion gear, and an electric motor (also called a drive gear). Electricity, by way of a motor in charge, is transferred to the starter when the ignition key is turned. The pinion gear connects with a gear ring to the engine’s flywheel when the shaft extends. A solenoid is used as the switch since a large volume of electricity is consumed at the beginning. A current is fed into the solenoid once the key is turned to the “run” position. Here is how the starter functions.

Given below are some factors that cause a grinding noise in a car:

The grinding sounds stand out more clearly than other sounds below the hood. A car makes a grinding noise when starting if you turn the ignition key. The starter might be probably faulty. A small motor known as a starter runs on the battery in your car. The starter’s main job is to kick-start the engine.

A starter relay connects the battery and the beginning motor, which transmits power. If the starter fails, the car will start after many critical turns in the ignition.

What Are The Causes For A Grinding Noise?

You anticipate the car’s engine to start when you press the key to the ignition. What happens if your ignition and charging system generally works well but occasionally does not, leaving you with a perceptible grinding sound? It may occur due to the following reasons:



Your engine shifts into gear thanks to starters, which are little motors. But if the gears wear out, dress, or are misaligned, they might start to make a grinding noise. You usually won’t be able to begin your automobile if your starter is damaged. An engine with an injured starter is constantly on the verge of failing.



Flywheels assist in transferring power from the engine to the transmission. They are found in manual transmission vehicles. So, it goes without saying that if your car has automatic transmission, the flywheel won’t be a cause for the grinding noise.

If your flywheel is worn out, it may begin to skip notches in the connecting gears. Your flywheel rubbing against the kits may be the source of the noise that you hear.

A damaged or loose flywheel could also make it difficult for you to change gears while driving. Therefore, if you believe the flywheel is to blame for that grinding noise, have your car inspected as soon as possible!



Batteries that are low on power quickly switch between the on and off positions instead of remaining on, which can produce a grinding sound. You should usually replace your old battery with a new one if it has been longer. Generally, it would help if you changed your batteries every 3-5 years.

Car Makes Weird Noise When Starting Cold

The engine may become cold if your car is stored in the garage for an extended period, and when you start the ignition someday, it may make weird noises. Cold weather can also make underlying automobile issues worse, so you might start to hear squeaks, squeals, and other strange noises.

When starting a cold engine, there are numerous potential odd noises. When these noises are detected, it is essential to check the vehicle as soon as possible because they may indicate a severe failure is about to happen in the future. Some of the potential underlying causes for the same are as follows:

  • Creak Sound: If you hear a creak from the car when you start a cold car, it might be conceived that the tie rods are worn out or loose. Tie rods usually connect the steering rack to the wheel of the car.
  • Erratic Knocking: A timing chain out of alignment causes an erratic knocking noise when starting a cold car. In this scenario, the chain will cut into the skates and produce these knocks, especially if the motor is not hot.
  • Loud whistle: When starting the automobile in the cold, you can hear the whistle coming from the engine compartment, which can be a result of the flaw in the exhaust manifold. It can be caused by cracks in this component or a damaged gasket.
  • Friction Noise: It is possible to hear a friction noise from the engine region when starting the engine on a cold day. It can be an indication that the water pump isn’t working correctly. When the water pump turbine makes contact with the pump housing, a metallic noise may result.

What May Cause A Starter Grinding Noise?

When you start the car, you anticipate the car’s engine to crank. What happens if your ignition and charging system are in good functioning order, but occasionally this might not, and instead, you hear a distinct grinding noise? It may happen due to the following reasons:

Defective Starter Solenoid

The switch is a solenoid because there is initially a tremendous electrical demand. The solenoid receives the current when the key turns from the “off” position to the “start” position.

Starter solenoids experience extreme heat and intense workloads, like all other electrical components, and eventually, stop working. You can swap out starter solenoids without changing the battery. However, if the pinion/drive gear has seen substantial wear, it is recommended to replace both.

Faulty Starter Motor Shaft

The drive gear deteriorates over time, and an automobile may need two, three, or more starters throughout its lifespan. The most recurring occurrence in this circumstance is the starter drive gear that may be grinding on the flywheel’s blades. You must change the starter if this is the issue.

Dead Battery

A dead battery is the second most frequent problem. Pay close attention to the noise. If it sounds more like a sequence of short pops than metal-on-metal grinding, then the battery should be replaced.

Dust Contamination in The Bendix Clutch

If you drive a manual shift car and have recently changed the clutch, it’s feasible that the Bendix framework on the torque converter is damaged.

What To Do About The Grinding Noise When Starting A Car?

If you experience any car grinding noise when starting, you should have a mechanic examine your vehicle. The issue may be more internal if you hear grinding noise when you start your car. Thus it is best to take your automobile to an auto repair shop to get it checked. In case, you know the type of noise beforehand, you can save money by stopping at the service centre quickly.

If the ticking sound is sluggish and loud, the battery may malfunction. If it is quick and high-pitched, the flywheel is presumably the noise source. A lower-pitched, continuous grinding typically indicates a starter problem. Although the starter also has a gear, it has fewer notch than the flywheel. Therefore, it ought to produce a continuous grinding sound that is quieter than a broken flywheel.

Despite the ease of fixing these repairs, it can cost anywhere from $100 to more than $1,000.

Flywheel Repair And Replacement

Broken flywheels are challenging to fix and require expert assistance. Sadly, flywheel repairs or replacements can run close to $1,000.

The task entails taking the transmission out of your car, disassembling it, locating the flywheel, and swapping it out. Furthermore, whosoever disassembles it will have to enter the vehicle again to put everything back together.

Starter Repair And Replacement

Starters can be repaired for a reasonable price of $350! It is preferable to leave this task to a professional because the labour involved might be pretty simple or highly complex. An experienced technician will have the necessary knowledge and tools to lift the automobile and take apart any complex mechanical components.

Battery Repair And Replacement

Your best choice for an exhausted battery is to replace the battery by taking professional help, which will cost you between $50 and $200 only!


When you turn the keys for ignition, it’s common to notice your car making a grinding noise when starting. This grinding noise stands out from any other sound you can hear in your car from under the hood. The three potential causes of a grinding noise are the battery, flywheel, and starter. Generally, when you hear grinding, there’s some internal issue involving these systems.

The starter might be the leading cause, and it should almost always be changed because it is the wisest and most economical solution. The situation is difficult if the ring gear on the car’s flywheel sustains damage. This is a time-consuming and complex task because it frequently entails removing the flywheel, which is demanding. These repairs might range from $100 to $1,000 or more!

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