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Q: Engine made clicking sound, now won't start.

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After replacing the battery, I tried starting my truck. The dash lights came on and the engine made a clicking sound before dying completely. Now, I cannot turn the key or take it out of the ignition switch.

Nothing is more frustrating than thinking a job is complete, just to have a new set of issues follow right behind! Luckily, it seems there may be an easy solution to the problems you describe. A new battery should be more than capable of starting an engine, or at the very least, powering the lights and accessories for a period of time. However, if the current from the battery isn’t able to make it to the vehicle, we will see issues similar to what your experiencing. Since you installed the new battery, Im going to assume you are familiar with the positive and negative cables. Your truck should be equipped with side terminals, meaning the cables attach from the side of the case using a small bolt. While this style of battery makes it more difficult to accidentally reverse the polarity, it can also be more challenging to get a good connection with older cable ends. To start, let’s remove each cable individually using a 5/16” or 8mm wrench. If you have an old toothbrush, try to clean any debris or corrosion off and reattach the cable. It is imperative that the battery bolts be installed straight. If not, the cable will not lay straight or make a good connection. After both cables have been cleaned and firmly reattached, recheck and see if the engine starts. I suspect your problem will be resolved. If the engine still will not start, the cables themselves may need to be replaced. This typically exceeds the scope of the home mechanic, so I would suggest contacting a qualified technician and getting an inspection.

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