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.
Answer: Not really sure what the question is. This is the symptom of a bad starter. If it is not engaging the flywheel, then there are only two possibilities. The starter is bad or the flywheel is damaged and the starter pinion is not touching it, or both.
You are going to have to look at the flywheel. Remove the cover from under the engine and either turn the flywheel with the special tool for this, use a larger screwdriver. Look at the teeth all the way around the flywheel. see if there is damage like flat spots. It there are, the flywheel needs to be replaced and most likely the starter as well because that is what probably damages the flywheel.
If there are flat spots on only a section of it then you may get lucky ad be able to turn it enough to get it to start once or twice.
To replace the flywheel, the transmission is going to have to come out of the vehicle.