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Car Won’t Start Clicking Sound- Here’s What You Need To Know

Car Won’t Start Clicking Sound- Here’s What You Need To Know

You might be wondering why your car won’t start with an audible clicking noise that can be heard by both the drivers and the passengers. This is something that you never want to experience – most car owners dread the day that their car won’t start, and it is finally here. What happens now?

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


This is a common problem that almost all car owners have to experience at least once in their lifetime. The good thing is that sometimes this can be a very noticeable and easy explanation behind this problem – other times, the car won’t start clicking noise can be harder to detect and find the root cause.


We will go over the cause of your car not starting due to the clicking noise and what this means for you and your vehicle!


The top reasons you have the car won’t start clicking noise are typically due to a battery or a starter problem. This is when the engine cannot respond to the components which are supposed to be providing the car with the proper amount of power. The engine cracking up includes a series of events that must be performed in the same order to fuel the engine properly. Issues with one of these devices or a damaged part can throw off the correct sequence of events. 

Fast Clicking When Trying To Start A Car


If there is a really fast clicking noise when you begin turning the ignition key, then low voltage or a high resistance is the issue. These issues have to deal with the electrical system, indicating an issue with the car battery. 


A fully charged battery should read at least 12.65 volts. A reading of 12.45 volts is about 75% charge, and it will be good to last your car a while longer. Anything less than 12.45 volts means that your battery is low – aka, low voltage. High resistance causes the battery to heat up and the voltage to drop under the load, negatively affecting the battery. 


  • Your Battery is Dead



If your battery is dead, then you will be experiencing a rapid-fire while turning the ignition to start your car. This could be due to a malfunctioning or faulty alternator or a low battery charge. Check your battery output voltage with a simple tool, the voltmeter. If your battery reads less than 12, or 12.45 voltage, you need to get your technician’s damaged battery checked. 


Your battery could not be transmitting power due to electrolyte levels as a second reason – the solution for this issue is to recharge your electrolytes. You need to decide if you want to repair or replace the battery in your current situation to prevent the car won’t start clicking noise from getting any worse. 


  • Damaged Alternator



What does it mean if you still hear clicking while turning the ignition key? Well, unfortunately, this could mean a damaged alternator. The car won’t be able to start if the alternator can’t provide enough voltage output necessary. The only solution to this is to fix or replace the alternator to prevent the car won’t start clicking noise. 


The average price to replace an alternator with a remanufactured part is approximately $400. A remanufactured alternator on a typical car ranges from $300-$500, including the parts and labor/time required to install it. A new alternator’s price can be a lot pricier, ranging from about $500-$1,000, including the labor.


If your car doesn’t stop clicking, but you have determined that your battery is running smoothly and properly, the problem could actually be the parasitic drain. A parasitic battery drain is when there is an abnormal discharge of power after shutting off the engine. 


The parasitic drain problem can be caused by a short circuit or a malfunctioning electrical device that remains working even when it should be in the ‘off’ position. You should try to jumpstart your vehicle to bring it to a garage, where a knowledgeable technician can diagnose the problem and figure out a solution for the car won’t start clicking noise. 


  • Corrosion of Terminals



If your car is still making a rapid clicking noise while you turn the ignition and the battery is working well, the real problem could be terminals’ corrosion. The clicking sound could happen when the starter motor isn’t receiving enough power due to corroded battery terminals. If you do not fix the damaged terminals, this would mean the car won’t start clicking noise will continue in your vehicle. 


Check the battery under the hood and ensure that the terminals don’t have a green or blue deposit buildup on them. Also, check for any rust buildup on the battery terminals. If there is any type of buildup, you will need to clean your terminals to restore the power supply, bring the engine back to working order, and prevent the clicking sounds from your car. There are specific corrosion and rust inhibitors you can buy to avoid the development in your car. 


The clicking sound could also be due to a frayed wire or loose battery cable ends. Loose battery ends can interfere with the connection, preventing the vehicle from starting. If the corroded or loose battery terminals prevent the car from starting, creating a slow cranking, or making a rapid clicking, you need to fix this issue so you can start your car.


  • Starter Issues


Within a car, there are various issues with the starter that could lead to a high resistance – and therefore, the car cannot start and make a clicking noise. The first thing to check for is a dead starter motor, which is the result of a damaged triggering mechanism, and the car won’t start clicking noise. 


The triggering mechanism is composed of the vehicle’s engine management system. Most ignition triggers operate as a magnetic sensor. When the mechanism is triggered, it sends a signal to the ignition module to properly time the ignition. An incorrect trigger signal to the computer will throw off the entire engine system. 


The triggering mechanism is also responsible for the car not starting. Some engine systems use the ignition trigger to start the entire engine system, which will be disabled if there is no base signal for the computer. If the car’s triggering mechanism is faulty, it won’t be able to trigger the starter motor and will result in the car won’t start clicking noise. 


If the trigger mechanism isn’t the issue, a loose starter connection could cause starter problems. Fixing the motor will require you to seek a technician’s help, but you can also repair the loose connection with some D-I-Y methods. Find the faulty wiring circuit and check it with a voltmeter before getting started.

Single Clicking Noise When Starting the Car


  • Starter Solenoid Damage


The single-click when you turn the key in the ignition could be due to the high-current contacts inside the starter portion of your vehicle. A faulty or improperly-working solenoid can lead to the same symptom of clicking, by interfering with the ignition circuit and causing the car won’t start clicking noise. 


The starter solenoid is an electromagnet that is responsible for engaging the starter motor of an internal combustion engine. The function is to actuate the contactor, which is the relay designed for a large electric current. Most modern cars use the starter solenoid to also move the starter pinion into a position of engagement with the ring gear of the engine. If the starter solenoid is not working correctly, your car won’t start after hearing the car won’t start single clicking noise. 


  • Starter Solenoid Price


The only bright side to this happening with your car is that a new set of contacts won’t set you back more than $10. However, you will have trouble finding them in any garage or auto parts store. You may have to replace the starter assembly to find the solution to this problem. 

Car Will Not Start And Keeps Clicking


  • Engine Damage


Another reason your car won’t start and there is a clicking noise is a locked up or damaged engine. An engine can seize if your car’s internal components get locked up, and the crankshaft isn’t able to turn on the bearings. If the pistons, rod bearings, or piston rings overheat and become fused together, the crankshaft won’t be able to turn on the bearings. The most common cause of a seized engine is an insufficient amount of oil. 


  • Lack of Oil


An insufficient amount of oil might happen if there is a problem stopping the oil from circulating or running out of oil in your engine. The lack of oil will cause engine components to rub and cause friction. This creates heat, and in extreme cases, the heat can cause parts to weld together in inappropriate areas in your car. 


  • Hydrolocking


Sometimes your engine can become locked due to hydro locking. If hydro locking occurs, this means that water is the main problem. If water enters the combustion chamber, the water doesn’t compress in the same way air does, making it virtually impossible for the piston to get to the top, and thereby stopping the engine. 



As you can see, noticing the car won’t start clicking noise can be due to various issues – some more severe than others. To fix these problems, you need to know the root cause of the audible clicking noise in your car to prevent any issues from getting worse over time!