Starter Makes a Clicking Noise

car starter motor I went out to my car this morning and it would not start, all I heard was this fast sounding clicking noise coming from my ….starter motor??

What do I do now?


Hi there Johnathan,

I would suspect you have a bad battery or there is corrosion at the battery cable that is not allowing the full battery power to get to the starter motor.

That clicking noise is the stater motor trying to spin the engine over but does not have enough juice from the battery to do it.

Clean off and tighten the battery terminal connections and see if that helps. Use water and baking soda if you have a lot of corrosion.

Just take off the battery cables from the battery and soak them in a cup of soda and water mix. You can sprinkle the baking soda on the battery and anywhere you see corrosion then wash it off with plain water.

Also, if this battery is older than 3 years old I would just replace it as insurance to not get stranded.

Many times a car battery will just quite…no warning or anything that would indicate a problem. So, a new battery now can save you a ton of time and hassle later on.

Batteries NEVER go bad on nice sunny days when you are at home with jumper cables. 🙂

A super simple test you can do yourself:

With the engine OFF, turn on the headlights and watch them as you:

Turn the ignition key to the start position like you are trying to start the engine.

1. If the headlights are bright (means battery is fine) but then go very dim as you try to start the engine I would suspect a bad starter motor sucking too much battery juice.

2. If the headlights are bright, but go completely out when you try to start the engine then I would assume you have a bad battery or a bad battery cable connection.

3. If the headlights are bright and STAY bright, I would assume you have a security system problem or an ignition switch problem.

4. Obviously if the headlights are dim to begin with, you have a battery problem.

Hope this helps

Please share this with your friends,
Austin Davis

Posted in: Won't Start Issues

2 Comments on "Starter Makes a Clicking Noise"

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  1. Sharla says:

    I have a 1998 Toyota 4 runner which I have owned 1 month. It had a previous oil leak when i bought it. The 30 point pre-inspection made me aware of this .
    I did purchase this vehicle and get the oil leak repaired and oil changed.

    The car has been driving fine. Last week I came home from work and shut the car off . I wanted to start it back up to see if I shut off my radio electric antenna and the car has not started since. It sounds like it clicks.

    I did the easiest thing and removed the battery to get it tested. It showed a full charge. When I put the battery back in the factory alarm horn and hazard lights went off. I was not aware the vehicle had one because I did not get a remote and assumed the red light I saw on the left side of the steering wheel did not work .

    I called Toyota dealership and they explained how to make the alarm shut off, which was turning the key to the on position and pushing the red light in once . Now the red light is on.

    They told me when I got the car started I would push in the red light and it would go off and pop back out.

    Well I have never been able to start the car. It just clicks once . I finally called a mobile mechanic and he came out to check the car and said it was a starter . I have purchased a starter and the car does the same thing which is click once .

    The mechanic first said it could be a faulty starter, but then asked me how many miles I had in car and if it had an oil leak.

    I said it had a prior one that has been fixed. The mileage is 127,000 , which he does not believe to be true because he said it is very easy to turn
    back odometers .

    The mechanics final diagnosis is that the engine has frozen, and needs to be replaced . He blames it in this prior oil leak , but now he is calling it a bad oil leak. I never told him it was a bad oil leak, just had a prior oil leak.

    I called around a got prices on an engine . The first person I talked to gave me this advice before the engine is replaced.
    Check EGR valve, fuel pump, engine fuse, and compression on cylinders .

    I called back the mechanic and asked him to check these things and he said he could not because the car is not turning over .

    I then was told to ask him if he has tried to turn the fly wheel or harmonic balance. He said no because that would of been an extra charge for me. He is due to come out and do this -if I “want to make for sure it is the engine ” But he is already convinced I am wasting my money by having him try to turn the fly wheel . He kind sounded line he did not want to do it because he said “I got take off the shroud and other things , “but I will do it , if you want to be sure”

    I don’t understand, the car was running fine. I have taken it on a 800 mile trip and been driving it to and from work. All of a sudden the engine freezes !

    Please help with other things to be checked before I have to sorb a couple of grand to get another engine .



    • Austin Davis says:

      Wow! I would NOT let that mobile mechanic do anything else, and would highly suggest you call a tow truck and take this vehicle to the Toyota Dealer for a real diagnosis. If it completely ran out of engine oil I would have expected to hear loud clacking and tapping noises in the engine and the red engine warning light to have come on as you last drove home.

      Hopefully this is an alarm or some other electrical problem and not a locked up engine. Have you checked the oil level now? Keep us posted once you get a real diagnosis from the dealership.

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