I wanted to share a little video I made, taking apart a Corolla's starter and explaining how it works: The starter sits between the engine and transmission and is responsible for turning the engine over to start the combustion process. Here's what it looks like, removed from the car: There's two parts to the starter, the solenoid and the electric motor: The plunger inside the solenoid moves when its activated, causing the pinion gear to push out: To get a better idea of the starter system, refer to this diagram: I then cracked the starter in half and to my surprise, found a transmission of gears. This increases the motor's torque: Here you can see where the plunger attaches to the pinion gear: Next I took off the motor cover, and found brushes and the armature: And here is the armature: Finally, a system schematic illustrating how the starter works. Power flows through the solenoid's contacts to the starter motor. This means if the pinion gear isn't already engaged with the flywheel, the electric motor cannot turn. Enjoy!