Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car's electronic things work (lights, radio, dome light, etc.) but car won't turn over, it only makes clicking sound?

asked by on

So, could this mean I need a new battery as the original one is still in the car, or could it be the starter? Or could it be something else? It starts to turn over, but then just makes a ticking sound like a second hand on a watch.

I don't want to take it to a dealer or mechanic and get "taken" so I'd like to go in with some idea of what the issue might be. I hooked the car up to an "external battery charging kit" but I'm thinking that might not have enough juice for a totally dead battery - if that's what it is. This happened after a REALLY cold (2 degrees) night in Colorado. It worked fine the day before.

My car has 69000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

If the battery is 6 years old and it’s 2 degrees out, you need a new battery to start your car. Even if it turns out that you need a starter, as well (you could), you still need a new battery because batteries only last about 5-7 years. Don’t waste your time charging what you have. Buy a new battery, the more CCA (cold cranking amps) the better. Upon installing it, make sure the terminal connections are absolutely pristine and mechanically secure and you should be good to go. Be SURE that the store fully charges the battery before you leave the premises, otherwise you will be back where you started and/or you will needlessly load your alternator as it tries to fully charge the battery. Also, check date-code on battery before buying. If date code is more than 6 months old, do not buy it as you would essentially be buying a used battery. Be careful installing the battery and be wary of short circuiting the terminals (keep metal tools far away). After installation, check the output of the charging system with a voltmeter to ensure that the charging system will be properly taking care of your new battery as you go forward. if you desire, YourMechanic will dispatch a certified Mechanic to your locale to handle the battery replacement for you from start to finish. Simply request battery replacement.

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!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • My car's electronic things work (lights, radio, dome light, etc.) but car won't turn over, it only makes clicking sound?

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: Will go in reverse not forward what are the choices I have

If the fluid level is correct, and there are still no forward gears, there is most likely a problem inside the transmission. Typically, if it were something outside of the transmission, both the forward and reverse gears would be affected....

Q: Gear sticks between drive options

The floor shifter has an interlock mechanism with solenoid that unlocks the shifter when you push on the brakes. Sometimes the floor shifter gets coke, coffee or other liquids that spill onto the shifter and leaks onto the mechanism and...

Q: Manufacture date for a Mazda 3 Revolution 2016

Hi, thanks for writing in, I'd be happy to help you. If you look at the sticker in the driver door jam, you will see the date the vehicle was made. It will give you the month and year. ...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
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...
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...