Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car won't start with a loud clicking sound coming from starter

asked by on

When I turn the key to start my 4runner, I hear a loud clicking noise coming from my starter. The car doesn't turn over normally but had a few times that I've tried including once when I drove it home from work, 2$8@3 I drove the lights flickered, radio turned on and off, antenna was extending and retracting wildly, and dash lights were flickering. Recently my alternator belt has been squeaking and I was getting ready to change that not sure if that helps at all, my terminals on my battery aren't perfect but they aren't corroded to the point where I think that'd be a problem, I recently had an aftermarket stereo put in.

My car has 160000 miles.

A starter like any other mechanical and electrical part is subject to failure sometimes for no apparent reason. However, sometimes this is misdiagnosed as well and often mistaken for something much more simple like a fuse or starter relay.

The starter relay is a small unit near the starter that directs power to the starter from the battery. When this fails, it may cause a clicking sound and will not allow the starter to engage the flywheel when you turn the key. I would suggest having a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your home or business to inspect the clicking and the starting issue.

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: Key gets stuck in ignition

Yes it sounds like you are having an issue with your lock cylinder. Some lock cylinders and keys are tied to the theft deterrent system in the vehicle, so after installation it might be necessary to have the lock reprogrammed...

Q: Misfire and P0420

Hello - the P0420 and the inconsistent waveform for the post-cat O2 sensor might be related to your failing intake manifold gasket issue. If tiny droplets of coolant are being sucked into the engine - one failure mode for this...

Q: Difficult startup with a lot of idling when it's cold

One of the main things that can prevent a vehicle from starting in the cold is the battery. Batteries for automobiles are rated by cold cranking amps. This measurement is the amount of amperage the battery can produce at zero...

Related articles

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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...