Can a Bad Flywheel Cause Starting Problems? (Explained)

There are a number of reasons why a flywheel will start to malfunction and none of them are small issues. A bad flywheel can cause major problems for the inside of the engine as well as the electric starter and transmission. When the flywheel starts to act up, head to your mechanic immediately.

Can a Bad Flywheel Cause Starting Problems?

Yes, a bad flywheel can cause starting issues. The flywheel is one of the main components of a vehicle’s engine and it has a direct effect on a vehicle’s ignition system. If there is something wrong with the flywheel, it’ll be much more difficult to start the engine.

The flywheel is in constant contact with the starter gear and if there’s an issue with the starter gear, it is because the flywheel cannot grind against it and force it to move.

Signs your vehicle’s flywheel needs to be checked out

If you notice any of these signs while you are driving your vehicle, it’s time to take your vehicle to the mechanic as soon as possible. Now, these signs don’t indicate that there’s an issue with the flywheel for sure.  

Because a vehicle’s engine has so many different parts, a mechanic will only be able to find out the true source of the issue once they open up the hood of the car and take a look around.

But these are the most common signs that your vehicle’s flywheel may be acting up.

  • When your vehicle is on and idling, loud noises come from within the engine. Unlike most noises that come from the engine, a bad flywheel will produce sounds that sound like loud bangs over and over again. 
  • There is a burning smell coming from the transmission. The reason for the burning smell is because the clutch plate is wearing away. This happens when it is not properly aligned with the flywheel.
  • If you get a manual transmission, the gear may slip into another gear without the driver touching the gear shift knob.
  • If you have a manual transmission vehicle, it becomes very difficult to change gears

If you notice any of these issues, then take your vehicle to the mechanic as soon as possible.

What is a flywheel and how does it operate within a vehicle?

If you are still unsure about what a flywheel is and how it can affect your vehicle, then the section is for you. You don’t hear a lot of people talking about a flywheel whenever they have an issue with your vehicle.

Flywheel issues are not common like a bad transmission, a fender bender, or oil in the water tank (which is the absolute worst problem).

A flywheel is a metal disk in the engine. Most flywheels are about 1ft to 1ft 3in diameter. Around the edge of the flywheel are small, jagged edges. These jagged edges are called gear teeth.

The flywheel is located between the engine and the transmission. Another word for a flywheel is a flex plate. They are only called flex plates when they are parts of an automatic transmission. The main purpose of a flywheel is to assist with starting the engine.

What Causes a Flywheel to Malfunction?

If your vehicle is experiencing starting problems due to a bad flywheel, then you must find out the issues that caused the flywheel to go bad. There are six critical reasons why a flywheel will start to malfunction.

If you see any of these issues developing in your vehicle, but the flywheel is still working fine, then the issue has not spread to the flywheel. Repairing the issue before the flywheel is affected can reduce your repair costs dramatically.

Three reasons why a flywheel stops working correctly

Here are three of the most common reasons why a flywheel stops working correctly.

  • The starter gear is on misaligned with the gear teeth of the flywheel
  • The gear teeth on the flywheel or damaged
  • The flywheel is unbalanced, and it is causing the powertrain to shake and vibrate

How much does it cost to repair or replace a flywheel?

The flywheel is a major part of the engine. Depending on the amount of damage that the flywheel has incurred, it may just need to be repaired or it may have to be replaced altogether. 

The cost to repair a flywheel can be expensive. Depending on the extent of damage to the flywheel, it may not be able to be repaired at all.

If there’s too much damage to the flywheel, then the mechanic will recommend that you replace it completely. 

The cost of a new flywheel depends on a number of factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the type of vehicle, the year, and the material the new flywheel is made of.

This amount is not including the labor cost. A brand-new flywheel can cost from $500 to $1100.

If there is any damage to the surrounding parts near the flywheel, your repair bill will skyrocket. If you have to replace the clutch when you replace the flywheel, then you should expect your repair bill to double, at least. 

NOTE: Fix the Issues Causing Your Vehicle’s Flywheel to Malfunction As Soon As Possible

A malfunctioning flywheel is not an issue that can be ignored until your next paycheck. We understand that money can be tight, and you may not have the time, resources, and support to go to a mechanic and leave your vehicle at the shop.

But nothing good can come from allowing a malfunctioning flywheel to continue to operate. 

Until you can go to the mechanic to get your car service, drive slowly as possible, only travel to important places like the home, work, and the grocery stores, and don’t get into an accident.


The flywheel is one of the key components to starting an engine as well as operating the clutch. If the flywheel is not properly aligned with any of the other wheels that interact with it, it would be terrible for the health of the engine.

The cost of replacing a flywheel can be anywhere from $500 to $1,100. The cost of the flywheel depends on the vehicle type, make, model, and the material the new flywheel is made out of.

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!