Q: Starter spinning and not engaging flywheel 1991 Nissan Maxima

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My cars starter pinion is spinning inside the housing and not engaging with the flywheel. When the key is turned all that is heard is a whirring spinning sound of the pinion spinning. Just prior to this, there were a couple of select occasions (although not alot and quite randomly) where there was some grinding noises of the pinion and flywheel, although the car would either start quickly or I would simply stop and try again with no grinding and a quick start. Thoughts?
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there - sounds like the starter "bendix drive" has failed. This is the component on the starter motor shaft that cause the starter motor to engage the flywheel as it spins up. Somewhat unusual failure these days - but it happens. I recommend a starter replacement performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

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