Car Won’t Start Just Clicking Noise

car wont start just clicksHi, when I try to start my car all I get is a clicking sound. Can you tell me what this could possibly be? The lights and the radio are working so I don’t know if it’s the battery or not.



Hey there Darlene

This could be caused by a weak/bad battery or a problem with the starter motor itself. Turn on the headlights and have some one watch them as you start the engine. The clicking noise is because there is not enough electricity from the battery going to the starter to spin the starter motor hard enough to start the vehicle.

If the lights go OUT or almost out when you start the engine, then you most likely have a bad battery or the battery is low on charge OR there is corrosion build up on the battery cable ends. Sometimes the corrosion will build up in between the battery and the cable, which is easy to spot, other times it will build up underneath the cable itself and it’s much harder to see.

Make sure the battery cables are clean and tight. You should not be able to move the battery cables on the battery with your bare hands…not easily anyway. Every time you change the oil in your vehicle have them inspect and clean your battery cables, I see so many customer vehicles needlessly towed into our shop for loose or dirty battery cables.

Corrosion creates a “ground” in the circuit, that ground literally sucks the power away from the circuit/battery cable leading to the starter motor.

This guy really should have removed the cables from the battery to get inside the cable connection.

Baking soda and water mix makes a great corrosion cleaner and can be poured directly on the battery and the cables. Caution, place something under the vehicle when you do this, any battery acid or corrosion off the battery will drain down to the ground and leave an ugly stain that is very hard to remove.

If the headlights dim down when you try to start the engine and stay dim after you release the key…probably a bad battery. IF they dim down when you try to start then get bright again when you release the key, probably a bad starter motor which needs replacing.

If the battery is original, I would try installing a new battery. On average we see that most common brand name car batteries last about 3 years, 4 at the most. The off name brand batteries usually no more than 3 years.

I personally install a new battery in my vehicles every 3 years regardless. $100 is much cheaper in long run than 1 tow charge and the inconvenience of a dead battery at night, in the middle of no-where, in the rain, with groceries in the car. They never die at convenient times 🙂

The best thing you can do is get your mechanic to do a “battery load test” which will tell you the internal condition of the battery and how much energy it is holding and able to discharge to the engine.

You can do it yourself like this guy did

If the headlights dim slightly but are still somewhat bright when you try to start the engine, I would suspect there to be a problem with the starter motor, and suggest you seek the help of a mechanic or your dealership, this could be still under warranty.

Please share this with your friends,
Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Won't Start Issues

2 Comments on "Car Won’t Start Just Clicking Noise"

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  1. Deborah says:

    Neon = just another crappy car from our good friends at Chrysler

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