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This sounds like there are some teeth missing on the flywheel. If the bad spot is positioned over the starter gears, the starter will just spin but if it catches on a good part, it will turn the engine over fine.

Just what the previous answer said. You have some teeth missing on your flywheel. There is probably nothing wrong with any of your starters.

If you have a manual tranny, just put the car in gear and try to push it forward until you fill the flyweel engage with the starter. The car should start then. My 1986 Ford aerostar had the same porblem as stated above and this was an easy solution until I had the time and money to fix it correctly.

2015-07-16 19:32:08
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Q: If the starter will sometimes engage and sometimes just spin when you turn the key is this a sign of a defective starter?
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Related Questions

How can you tell if your starter is going on your car?

Sometimes it will just make a clicking noise when you turn your key but the starter will not engage. Sometimes it will just make a grinding noise and not engage. Sometimes it will crank your motor much more slowly than usual as if your battery was dying. This will continue to get gradually worse until nothing at all happens when you turn your key.

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Corroded battery terminals, defective battery, or starter.Corroded battery terminals, defective battery, or starter.

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What do you mean when you say it doesn't engage? Is the starter spinning but just doesn't catch to spin the engine? IF that's the case it could be as simple as a loose starter or as bad as a damaged flex plate/flywheel. But it would most likely be the starter.

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sounds like your in the market for a starter.

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Assuming the starter motor spins but doesn't engage to turn engine over to start you could have a bad starter drive which is part of the starter assembly or possibly damaged/missing teeth on flywheel ring gear. Depending on year and model vehicle, some starters you can replace just the starter drive otherwise you need to replace the whole starter.

What is wrong with a car when it wont start just make a grinding sound?

It can be a defective starter assembly that causes this problem. There are two parts to a starter assembly: the starter motor and the starter solenoid. The offending culprit is usually the starter solenoid, and it should be replaced.

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When you try to start your 1997 Toyota Corolla its just clicks what is wrong?

To give a generic answer, it kinda depends on what type of click. If it is a rapid click-click-click-click... it is probably a dead (or near dead) battery. If it is just one solid "click", it is probably your starter. The single click is the sound of the selinoid clicking in to try to engage the starter. If the starter is faulty, it won't engage and turn your engine over to start.

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On your 1990 Nissan 4wd hardbody sometimes you have to hit the starter with a 2x4 for the truck to start. What is the problem?

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