Q: My car won't start but it's not the alternator or battery

asked by on December 30, 2016

my 2006 ford focus zx3 has been refusing to start, particularly after not being driven for about a day. it first refused to start after a cold front, but i got it working and it hesitated to turn over the next few times after that. then, a couple of days ago it would not start at all. i let it sit for a couple of days trying to start it about twice a day. it makes a rapid clicking noise when i turn the ignition and several warning lights come on. after several attempts the clicking will stop completely. i was able to get it going with a jumpstart today and it runs fine and will drive reliably after that, so i thought it might be the battery. however, i got the battery and alternator tested this morning and they both have good readings. i got a vague, unsure suggestion from two different auto places (firestone and jiffylube) that it might be my ignition, but why would a jumpstart help that? very confused and would just like to have a reliable vehicle again.

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The problem sounds like a loose connection in the fuse box to battery cable connections. Check the cables for loose or corroded connections at battery clamps and ground connections on body and engine. If problem continues then have a mechanic like one from YourMechanic to come and do voltage drop tests to find the weak connections for you.

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

What others are asking

car bogs down when starting from stop and when going uphill

This may be caused by a number of things, however some common causes of difficulties accelerating like this may be related to things like a faulty mass air flow sensor or a clogged catalytic converter (specifically known to cause poor...

How do I use the universal garage door opener?

If your car is equipped with the Car2U® universal garage door opener (optional equipment), it provides you with a handy way to operate not only your home’s garage door, but other automated systems, like remote lighting systems, gate systems and...

Steering wheel loose.

A loose steering wheel is unfortunately somewhat of a common problem in this generation of Ford F-150's. You are correct to suspect there are broken parts inside. The bearings inside the steering column can fail due to the grease inside...

What door latch will work on my 1991 Ford Ranger XLT 4.0 engine. The original locks have been discontinued.

Hello, thank you for writing in. There are several options including new, used, and similar parts. You can purchase one used online or from your local junk yard depending on what you have available around you. This is usually your...

Throwout bearing fork problem

Hi, if there is no fluid leaking from under the car then the linkage has an issue somewhere. All of the components in the clutch linkange are susceptible to wear and tear over the years and should be inspected. A...

73 f100 360 FE lurches then stalls when put in gear

Hi there. Typically when you put the truck in gear and it stalls, it's caused by a fuel delivery problem; usually a defective fuel pump, dirty fuel filters or a fuel filter installed backwards in some instances. It could also...

My truck keeps dying 2006 Dodge RAM 1500

Hi There, It sounds like you truck responds adversely to a change in fuel/air supply as well as the load put on the engine (i.e. when pushing in the clutch - this changes the load put on the motor). This...

What precautions should be followed when connecting a device to the auxiliary jack?

While using the auxiliary jack is really about as simple as connecting the device, turning both systems on and then enjoying your music, there are a few precautions that you should follow. Here’s what you should know: Turn the...

I've got a ford focus 1.6 engine. Whenever the engine gets a little warm and as the clutch is pressed down to change gears, the rpm's increase.

Hi there. There could be a few different issues that could be contributing to your current condition. There could be a vacuum leak causing the engine to rev up when there is no load applied to the engine. The Idle...

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy If You’re a Realtor or Real Estate Agent
If If you make your living as a realtor or real estate agent, you may have a number of considerations when it comes to purchasing a used vehicle. The most common considerations are budget, ability to transport people, and comfort....
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Ford Mustang
The The Ford Mustang has been an iconic vehicle for half a century, and its latest styling and updates only make it more attractive and more popular with American drivers. While its exterior may not be quite as eye-catching as...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Ford F-250
When When it comes to large, heavy-duty pickup trucks, the 2012 Ford F-250 only has two competitors – the Chevrolet Silverado HD and the Dodge Ram 2500/3500. Though the F-250 doesn’t outperform the Ram in the towing department, it certainly...