Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Starting vehicle after a few hours of being parked.

asked by on

Usually happens early in the morning or when I get off of work. When the engine has been off for a few hours or more. I'll turn the key, I'll hear slight clicking coming from inside the dash/under the hood. The engine will turn over just fine and the clicking only lasts a few seconds. The speedometer and rpm gauges will slightly flicker and jump around a bit during the duration of The clicking. Sometimes the clicking will still be occurring even after the engine has already turned over. If I shut off vehicle and do it again right after. Most of the time it won't do it again. It will start as normal. The dash lights may go dim for a bit but that's all. Every now and then it will do it more than once. Most of the time only once. Vehicle still runs just fine. Except when in idle( at stop light or stuck in traffic ) idling rpms will dive below 500 rpms and vibrate the whole car when turning on ac. Do I have a failing battery, alternator, or starter?

My car has 41000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi, thanks for writing in. This sounds like...

Hi, thanks for writing in. This sounds like it could be a battery or alternator. I would start with testing your battery with a multi meter. Good batteries hold a charge of 12.6 volts or higher. If the battery is low, try to jump start it. If this starts your vehicle, test your alternator to ensure it is maintaining at least 14 volts. Alternators testing below 14 volts would likely be damaging to your battery. If jump starting didn’t work, listen closely when you turn the key. Do you hear a single click? If so, then it is probably your starter. A quick diagnostic trick for your starter is to use a metal object, like a small hammer, and knock on your starter as someone turns the key. Most of the time, this will start your vehicle. If you need any assistance, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect and diagnose this issue for you, and make or suggest any repairs as needed.

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: my car gear is stuck in drive but the gear shift goes to park car is in acc postion wont crank or swicth to off to remove the key

Hi there, thanks for writing in. It sounds like you most likely have a broken shift cable, or a failed shifter assembly. A failure of either part would allow you to move the shifter handle to park, while the transmission...

Q: Steering wheel resistance at 12 o'clock position

Hi there, thank you for writing about your 2013 Audi S5. Your vehicle has electrically-assisted steering, so your car's power steering module may be causing the steering problems. Audi has a software update for the power steering module - Ref:...

Q: Want to be able to use stereo when car is off.

Hi there. Check the power outlet to the vehicle in the dash. Usually the outlet is set to power on only when the key is on. You could change the power wire from the fuse box from power with key...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...