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Car Won't Start Clicking Noise Only


The reason why the car won't start, clicking sound when starting the car


(1) Problem with the battery.
(2) Problem with the starter.


Car Troubleshooting

This kind of car starting problems caused by either problem with the battery or starter. Now, turn your ignition key to the point just before you hear the clicking sound (just before what would normally make your car start).

Now, turn the windshield wipers on and let them go back and forth for about 30 seconds. The reason for this test is because the windshield wipers run off the battery when the engine is not running. If the windshield wiper operates slower than normal then there is a problem with the battery.

Now, open the hood of this car. Locate the battery and look at it. Pay particular attention to the battery terminals. If there is a cruddy-like substance in the terminal, The battery terminal is corroded. This car will not start and when you try to start it all you hear is a clicking sound. Well, the clicking sound is coming from a device called a "solenoid". When you try to start the engine, the solenoid will switch the starter "on" which in turn cranks the engine (the solenoid allows current to flow from the battery to the starter). Since the engine isn't starting, there must be a problem with the starter or the battery. Now, you indicated that the windshield wipers were not working as they should. Since they run off the battery when the engine isn't running, we suspected a problem involving the battery. If You noticed a cruddy-like substance on the battery cables - this is corrosion and it's preventing the battery from "sending" enough "juice" to the starter via the solenoid. The starter, therefore, can't start the engine if it doesn't have enough current fed to it.



What to do?

You need to remove the corrosion from the battery terminals. A wire brush is a good tool for doing this. You may also want to apply some baking soda and water to help dissolve it. Avoid getting the dissolved corrosion on your hands since it is an acid. Finally, after the battery terminals are clean, you may want to coat them with petroleum jelly to help prevent these deposits from forming in the future.

If there is no cruddy-like substance, then the battery is weak. This car will not start and when you try to start it all you hear is a clicking sound. Well, the clicking sound is coming from a device called a "solenoid". When you try to start the engine, the solenoid will switch the starter "on" which in turn cranks the engine (the solenoid allows current to flow from the battery to the starter). Since the engine isn't starting, there must be a problem with the starter or the battery. Now, you indicated that the windshield wipers were not working as they should. Since they run off the battery when the engine isn't running, we suspected a problem involving the battery. Since the battery cables looked clean, the problem must simply be that the battery is very weak. Even though the battery can activate the solenoid switch, it doesn't have enough "juice" to activate the starter and therefore start the engine.


How to Jump-Start a Car
If the engine can’t be started up because the battery has discharged, it is possible to start up the engine by connecting the battery on another car with the jumper cable. How to jump-start a car? 

Learn more
: How to Jump-Start a Car

What to do?

If your battery is not sealed, check the liquid level in each of the compartments. The level should cover the tops of the plates inside the battery. If the level is low, add distilled water. This may be all your battery needs. If the starting problem you indicated happened in very cold weather, it could be that you simply need to wait until the temperature rises. This is because some batteries do not work well in extremely cold temperatures. If neither of the above, replace the battery or have it recharged. Recharging will, of course, be cheaper.

If the windshield wiper does not operate slower than normal then there is a problem with the starter. There are mainly two things that cause the starting problem you indicated - a battery problem or a problem with the starter. Since we were not able to establish the battery as the culprit, the problem probably involves either a bad electrical connection to the starter or just simply a bad starter. The starter cranks the engine which then causes the car to start. So, when the starter isn't working, the engine will not start.

What to do?
Refer to a repair manual for this car in order to locate the starter. Make sure all wires/cables to the starter are tight and secure. If the wires seem OK, the problem is likely that your starter is simply bad. If this vehicle is under warranty, you're covered. If not, you'll need to find a mechanic to replace the starter. Consider a rebuilt starter as opposed to a new one. The rebuilt is less expensive and very reliable. (see also Car won't Star, No Noise)

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