Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car clicking and not starting

asked by on

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.

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Won't start battery tested and good lights all turn on no click

This may potentially be related to a bad battery connection or a faulty starter relay. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is...

Q: Idle fluctuates and then stalls.

It sounds like you may have a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve monitors the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine at low speeds and...

Q: Ran out of gas wont start with gas

It sounds like you may have a fuel pump that is not working properly or maintaining enough fuel pressure to keep the motor running. If the engine was run completely out of fuel, there is a chance this could have...

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...
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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...