Q: I turn the key and I hear the starter spinning but it does not crank the engine. Is it the starter or part of it?

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I went to start my Rav 4, it stated but i heard a funny noise when it started like gears rubbing together it lasted for a second and then the car started. I popped the hood and asked my wife to start it again, same noise we did it a couple more times and the nothing it didn't start. Now when I turn the key all I hear is spinning coming from in or around the starter. I do not hear it engage with the fly wheel no cranking. Lights are working on the car and other electrical.

My car has 191000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If the starter motor turns, but the starter pinion drive gear is not engaging the flywheel and turning the engine, there is a fault with the pinion drive gear and/or the actuating solenoid. The power to the solenoid can be checked but if the starter solenoid itself has a fault typically the starter motor is just replaced. To have this conclusively diagnosed and have the starter replaced, if required, please request starter diagnostic/replacement and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you promptly. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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