Q: Car clicking and not starting

asked by on January 25, 2016

I can hear the car clicking, but it won't start. I jumpstarted the car and disconnected the battery in an attempt to reboot the system, and it still won't start.

Low voltage is one of the main causes for a starter solenoid to click continuously without turning the engine over. An electromagnet pulls the contacts together in the solenoid. As soon as contact is made and the starter motor is engaged, the extra load from the starter motor reduces the voltage enough to release the solenoid and the process repeats, rapidly. If your battery has a sight glass on top, there will be a green ball visible indicating a full charge. If it doesn’t, it’s worth your time to remove the battery, and have it checked and/or charged by a local garage or parts store. Check both connections on the battery for corrosion. Remove it if you’d like to be thorough. Negative off first, on last. Make sure the ignition is off, key removed any time you mess with the battery. Check the connection by grasping the cable, and trying to rotate it clockwise. If you can move it, it’s not tight enough, the bolt might be bottomed out too early, or cross-threaded. If this does not remedy the problem, the cables going to the starter, or the ground cable going to the engine are most likely at fault. To sum up if your battery is over 3 years old, I would just replace the battery and go from there. Bad batteries can drain themselves internally. They can show good voltage (12.6) under light load, but fall way below 10 under heavy load. It should not drop below 10 under starting conditions by the way. If a new or known good battery doesn’t resolve this, a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, would be able to help diagnose your car’s clicking noise.

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