Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Trying to start the car yields only loud clicks but the battery and starter are good

asked by on

At first the car would click a few times and then start. Then it wouldn't start at all. I had the starter tested and it was fine. I tried jumping it without success. I put a brand new battery in it and still got the clicks. I put the old battery back in it and it started several times in succession. Then it went back to the clicking. It seems that if I can maneuver the key in a particular manner, it stands a better chance of starting.

My car has 220000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Bench testing a starter motor, unloaded, can sometimes be unreliable. This is because there is usually a Bendix drive in a starter motor which if failed will be undetectable because the starter motor will still spin and draw normal current- but if once you load the motor, that is involve the Bendix drive, the unit simply will not work, particularly if you have a weak battery. At any rate, that advice mostly applies with relatively "old" starters which may not be the circumstance you face. A certified mechanic would diagnosis your fault by doing a circuit trace and in particular measure the voltage drop from point to point in the circuit. Obviously, there is either an open in the circuit (in a starting circuit, could be a failed contact or relay or a high enough resistance somewhere in the circuit that the resulting voltage drop makes it impossible for a relatively high current motor to run. It could be as simple as a failed solenoid or high resistance ground. If you’d like, YourMechanic would be happy to make a mobile visit and diagnose your car’s inability to start issue for you rapidly.

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
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Trying to start the car yields only loud clicks but the battery and starter are good

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: CD player draining battery - 1991 Saab 9000

This is a possibility! This problem can be diagnosed by connecting an ammeter to the positive (red) battery cable, observe the current drain (likely less than 1 amp), then, one at a time, remove each fuse, check to see if...

Q: Coolant level dropping quickly 2006 Saab 9-3

Hi there - yes, I would say this is a problem. Coolant loss can be deceptive - failing water pumps will sometimes only leak while running, blown head gaskets can leak into the engine crankcase, turning the engine oil to...

Q: Car not starting

Hello, thank you for writing in. The new stereo system can be the cause, although the timing is off a little. The ignition switch will also cause the vehicle not to start. Consider the symptoms you are having, you should...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
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 Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.