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: Is the Hyundai Getz a good reliable second hand car to buy?

Hi there. Unfortunately, the Getz is not a vehicle we're familiar with in the United States. The Excel however is a very good and dependable vehicle; so I would assume since the Getz is manufactured with similar components; it is...

Q: My car loses power when the air conditioning is on - 2015 Ford Focus

A vehicle as new as yours should not be having issues. Any time you run the A/C, the car will be reduced in horse power because the A/C runs off of a belt that powers the compressor. If the compressor...

Q: Won't idle stalls If I don't hold pedal to idle

A few different things can cause the car to stall at idle. The most likely causes considering all of the items you have replaced would be the idle air control valve, vacuum leaks, oxygen sensors or a torque converter problem....

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...
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...