Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car broke down won't start does a fast clicking sound when trying to crank

asked by on

Van broke down yesterday. My wife was driving and it just died. When you try to turn it over it does a rapid clicking sound. Hooked it to jumper cables fired right up. Didn't let it charge on cables long to avoid draining other battery. When I unhooked it van kept running. My brother in law told me to unhook negative terminal and if it quit alternator was bad. I unhooked negative and van died but nothing I look up says to do that and I didn't leave van running long enough for it to try to charge itself cause I was listening to brother in law. Does it sound like I have bad battery or bad alternator?

My car has 250000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The rapid clicking sound is definitely a pr...

The rapid clicking sound is definitely a problem with the battery. From the description of the failure, this certainly could be an alternator failure. Disconnecting the negative cable does confirm the alternator is not charging. The reason you don't find any information about this test is that it is not good for the car and it isn't a complete test.

You could have a blown fuse or wiring problem that powers the alternator. The Caravan in particular has a PCM controlled alternator that often fails. The fact that is uses the PCM to control the alternator is a good reason not to disconnect the battery cable while the car is running. When you do this, it creates an electrical surge that delicate computer systems don't like.

The alternator and the battery work together to provide the electrical power your car requires to run. A comprehensive diagnosis of this charging system requires the use of a scanner and experience diagnosing Chrysler charging systems. If you need help with this, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car's location to diagnose the charging system for you.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: did not pass smog test. obd catalyst, oxy snsr heat not complete.

Hi there. If your Check Engine Light is not illuminated, there is not a fault with the system. Before a vehicle can pass emissions testing, certain readiness monitors must be completed. One of which is the heater O2 monitor. The...

Q: Over filled oil level, should I get it drained?

The transmission being overfilled may cause the transmission to push out the excess oil out the vent of the transmission. You should have the excess fluid sucked out of the transmission. Other than that it should not cause any issues....

Q: Instrument Cluster gauges false readings

This may be related to a short or a faulty instrument cluster voltage regulator. The instrument voltage regulator regulates the voltage supplied to the various gauges in your vehicle’s dash. When this is not working properly, this may cause the...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...