Engaging the starter rewards you with a loud screeching noise. The noise is due to improper
gear engagement on the starter gear with the flywheel ring gear.
Bad starter (gear):
If this is occasionally happening, it's actually normal. If this happens consistently, the
starter (gear) may be going bad. The culprit could be a bad starter gear or the pinion not
shooting out properly to engage the flywheel ring gear. Whatever the case, the entire
needs to be replaced. If you need to replace the starter, we recommend only replacing
the with remanufacturers starters from the Mazda dealer. Rebuilt units from (big chain)
auto parts stores (Napa, Autozone, Kragen / Schucks / Checkers, Pep Boys, etc.) are not very
reliable, and we have run into a lot of problems with these rebuilt starters, even with an
attractive "lifetime" warranty.
Bad flywheel (ring gear):
Occasionally, the ring gear on the flywheel will get damaged. A damaged ring gear will
cause improper engagement of the starter gear. Inspect the flywheel ring gear by removing
the inspection cover at the bottom of the transmission bell housing. Slowly rotate the
engine (via the alternator center nut or the main pulley center bolt) and check the teeth
on the ring gear.
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