3 Items to Check If Car Won't Start with Loud Clicking Sound

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3 Items to Check If Car Won't Start with Loud Clicking Sound

You turned the ignition Key "ON" to start the engine and nothing happened, the car won't start but only a click sound is heard when turning the ignition key "ON". What could be the problem? Usually, there are three items that you need to check if the car won't start and during starting there is a loud clicking sound that will be heard.


Three items that need to be checked that causes why a car won't start but loud click sound is heard
(1) Check the battery terminal for corrosion
(2) Check the battery is weak
(3) Check the starter for any problem

Car problem diagnosis
(1) Open the hood then locate and check the battery terminal for any corrosion, its a cruddy like substance that covered the battery terminal. If the battery terminal is corroded it will restrict the flow of electricity from the battery to the starter and this the reason why the car won't start.

 However, if there is corrosion on the battery terminal it is possible that the battery is very weak and does not have enough power to start the engine. As the battery aged it will become weak, usually, the life of the battery is averaging 2 to 5 years depending on the type, therefore it is advisable that you monitor how long the battery has been installed in your car since it was new.
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Battery Terminal Image Credit

How to check if the battery is weak?
Method 1 Check the battery output using Multi Tester
Using a multitester check the battery output.  Set the tester to DC Voltage. connect the negative probe (-) of the tester to the negative battery terminal and the tester positive probe (+) to the positive battery terminal. The battery voltage must be 12.4 volts and above to start the engine. A battery can become weak due to aging, but it is also possible that there are parasitic draws that consume a relatively small amount of power from the battery even when the car is turned "OFF". The possible parts that draw the power from the battery are lights and stereo.

Method 2 Check if the wiper moves normally
Turn the ignition key to the "ON" position this is the position before starting the engine. Operate the wiper for 30 seconds and observed if the wiper moves normally, if it moves slower than normal then the battery is weak the power is not enough to even move the wiper normally.

Method 3 Check if the headlights lit normally
While the ignition key is in the "ON" position turn on the headlights, observe if the headlights are dimmer than normal when in use, if the headlight is dimmer than normal then the battery is weak.
However, if the battery is good it is possible that there is a problem with the starter.

Here's what you do to fix the problem...

(1) If there is corrosion in the battery terminal
If the battery terminal is corroded, get a clean container and mix in the container two spoonfuls of baking soda into two spoonfuls of water the mixing is 1:1 mix both until it will be formed into a paste-like substance. Disconnect the battery clamp from the battery pole see (how to disconnect battery terminal) be careful not to touch any ground area with your tools while working on the positive battery terminal. Apply the paste into the battery terminal with corrosion and wait for a few minutes as it began to sizzle. Now, use a wire brush or a toothbrush will do, to remove the corrosion.

After the terminal is cleaned rinse with water and wipe with a clean cloth.  Reconnect the battery terminal in reverse order as you disconnect it before. Before reconnecting the terminal, coat the terminal with petroleum jelly to prevent the corrosion from coming back or use a battery terminal protector ( see  CRC Battery Terminal Protector, 7.5 oz Aerosol Can, Dark Red.)

(2) If the battery is weak
If the battery is not a Maintenance Free battery type, check the liquid level. The liquid must cover the top of the plate if the level does not cover the top of the plate just pour in a distilled water until it covered the top of the plate. If the battery is relatively new bring the battery to a battery shop for charging, it is possible that the battery is not charging because of the problem with the car charging system.

(3) If the starter has a problem

3.1 Check the starter terminal
Usually, the problem with the starter is cause with loose wiring, therefore, check first the wiring of the starter for any looseness, if the terminal is not loose then replace the starter with a new one.

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Starter Image Credit

3.2 Check starter magnetic switch
Check for continuity between terminal S and switch body, if there is no continuity then replace the magnetic switch.

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A/T Starter Wiring Diagram

Check for continuity between terminal S and terminal M, if there is no continuity then replace the magnetic switch.
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See also: Car Won't Start Just Clicks

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