Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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.

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!

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: Loud suspension, not sure if it’s broken or just bad quality

The most likely cause is that your front stabilizer bar links and bushings are worn or broken. Your struts may also have failed. A thorough inspection is needed to determine the exact cause. From your description of what happened, it...

Q: Truck not down shifting into lower gear in wot

The shift down linkage should first be checked at the throttle lever to see if it is adjusted and working properly. Check the cable to see if it is broken. If the cable is okay, then the problem is inside...

Q: Remote start system and bypassing the hood sensor

Hello. If your hood sensor indicator is on then that is a sign that the hood is either open, or that there is an issue with the hood sensor. If the sensor is faulty I would recommend repairing the issue...

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...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...