Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car doesn't start up right away. Could it be the spark plugs?

asked by on

I know it is not the battery because I got that checked and was told it is just fine. Sometimes the car starts right away and sometimes it doesn't. It just makes a rapid clicking noise when I turn the key. I'm hoping it is just the spark plugs as that's the most inexpensive fix.

My car has 89000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. Your starting issues may not be related to the spark plugs at all. A rapid clicking noise is usually a sign of a bad starter. This noise is produced by the pinon gear attempting to be pushed out and meshed with the ring gear. If the starter was working correctly the engine would be attempting to start and you would notice the cranking over of the engine. Starters can fail in a multitude of ways including electronically or mechanically. If the starter has bound up, it may take several tries to unbind the starter and get the starter to engage correctly. You have pull the starter and have it tested. However, these bench tests do not load test the starter to make sure it can push over the engine. They also do not test the way the gears align when its installed on the vehicle. You may want to replace the starter, or have a technician look at the vehicle.

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・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: The CHECK FUEL FILL INLET message came on while I was driving down the highway and had not fueled in several days.

Try removing the gas cap and putting it back on. While the gas cap is off, check the seal on the cap and see if there is any cracks or damage to the seal. If the seal is good and...

Q: Car won't start and makes a beeping/clicking noise.

There is a possibility that your battery has a bad cell and/or is discharged such that the amps available are not sufficient to run the starter motor. The battery should be load tested (free at most battery stores or a...

Q: Why no front disc pressure after replacing rear drum shoes?

Adjustment of brake pads and shoes would not affect the "hydraulic" portion of the brake system, that is brake bleeding or operating system pressures. If no fluid comes out of the front calipers, the bleeder screws are blocked, the caliper...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.