Few experiences are more frustrating than trying to start your car and hearing nothing but a click. You have stuff to do and people to see and you need to get your car back in a hurry. There are a few reasons your ignition may be clicking instead of purring. The type of click you hear might be indicative of the problem.
What Rapid Clicking Means
If the clicking is very rapid, there is probably something wrong with your car’s electrical system. Your battery may be dead. The alternator may not be working properly. The alternator is the apparatus that charges the battery.
When the clicking is caused by an electrical problem in the car, the starter doesn’t receive enough energy to stay powered. This will cause the starter to click on and off.
In this case, just replacing your starter is not the most productive Idea. This kind of clicking is very likely to be caused by the electrical system of your car.
If you take the car to a shop, they can determine the cause of the damage. There are a few car parts that you should be able to replace yourself such as the alternator or battery. Cleaning corrosion off of the battery cables will definitely increase the charge of a battery. Battery failures are a very common problem.
There is only one click when I turn my Key in the Ignition
A fault with the starter or starter relay will trigger a single loud clicking sound when you turn your key in the ignition instead of the rapid clicking sounds.
When the battery won’t start when you turn on your engine, you may be able to start the car by having a co-worker or neighbor jump start the car. This is a temporary solution to the problem and you should have your car looked at soon. That clicking noise is never a good sign.
If your engine doesn’t turn over after a jump-start, you should take your car to a mechanic.
A mechanic can diagnose the vehicle and let you know what work needs to be done. If all you need to do is replace the alternator, battery, or starter, you may be able to save time and money by doing it yourself.
Replacing a Battery
Replacing your car's battery is a fairly simple undertaking on most vehicles. There are a few precautions you should take before beginning the battery replacement.
First place the new battery close to your car. You will need your set of wrenches and sockets. You should set the battery right next to the car before you begin. You should also clear out a space for the new battery.
A car wouldn’t go anywhere without its battery. It is important to charge it and change it out as needed.
Swapping an old battery for a new one is easier than most people think. It only takes about 30 minutes and anyone can do it. Remember to put the right battery cables in the right place. It is a good idea to wear gloves when you work. If you notice that the battery is leaking or damaged, you may want to take your car to a mechanic.
A new battery costs anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the quality of the unit. A mechanic will generally charge you $10 to $50 for installation. Occasionally shops will have free installation specials on batteries.
Steps to Replacing the Battery
- You will want to detach the negative cable from the negative terminal. The negative terminal has a minus sign. Depending on the model of the car, this may require a wrench.
- Detach the positive cable from the positive terminal. If you are using a wrench, never let the metal portion of the tool touch the metal. This can cause a spark that can lead to a fire.
- You will see several fasteners holding the battery to the car. You should loosen these fixtures.
- Take the old battery out. It weighs about fifty pounds, so ask for help if you need it. Put it in a safe space that is out of the way.
Put in the New Battery
- Clean the battery terminals and clamps before you put in the new battery. These components are often covered with rust. You can clean them with baking soda, water, and a wire brush.
- Place the new battery in the holder.
- Clamp it down, tightening all fasteners.
- Reconnect the positive and negative terminals.
- You can make sure you did everything correctly by turning on the car and revving the engine. If everything works, you are probably good to go.
Sometimes it is the alternator that needs to be replaced if the engine is clicking. Replacing an alternator is fairly simple as well.nBefore begin you will want to save the memory of any preset electronics in the car.
How to Change an Alternator
In order to replace an alternator, you will need the new alternator itself and several tools. The tools include a belt tensioner, voltmeter, basic hand tools, a new serpentine belt, rags, and gloves
- The first thing you should do is to disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Locate the belt tensioner. The drive belt tensioner is mounted on a pulley that sits on a spring mechanism or adjustable pivot point. It is used to hold tension on the car’s engine belts. You will want to loosen this belt.
- Loosen and remove the serpentine belt as well.
- Remove the wiring harness along with the connectors.
- Carefully take the alternator out, remembering to loosen it first.
- Put in the new alternator, It should align with the bolt hole in the casing, if it does not, do not proceed.
- Put a new serpentine belt on the alternator and make sure the tension is right
- Reconnect the negative battery cable.
How much time is involved in changing an alternator
It generally takes roughly two hours to change out an alternator. It will depend on how handy you are and what kind of car you have. Alternators can average anywhere from $100 to $350 and if you get someone to change it for you you will pay somewhere between $100 to $200 for labor.
If your car only clicks once when you turn the engine over, you may need to replace the starter. A starter costs about $150 and the labor runs about $150. If you have some knowledge of cars, you can replace the starter yourself.
What the Starter Does
A vehicle's starter can be located on the driver's side of the motor. It is right underneath the left bank of cylinders. The starter is a tiny, electric motor that clamps onto and cranks the engine flywheel that should make the engine crank and start.
You should always disconnect the battery before replacing the starter. You only have to remove the negative cable to do this. You are likely to have to lift the car to get to the starter. Raise the vehicle with two jacks and be sure to choke the tires that are still on the ground.
- Remove the positive battery cable and wiring from the solenoid.
- Remove the bolts that secure the starter and then the starter itself.
- Take a good look at the starter and make sure that it is a match for the old starter.
- If your car has a heat shield or brackets, you can transfer them to the new starter.
- Look at the flywheel teeth and make sure they are not damaged. Now, place the new starter where the old starter was. If it had a shim remember to attach it. Secure and tighten the bolts, reattach the wires and reattach the positive battery cable.
Where to Take Your Car for Repairs
If your car is clicking, and you do not trust yourself to work on your car, or you simply do not have time, you will have several options for having the car worked on. Each of them has its benefits and drawbacks.
Having your Vehicle Serviced at the Dealership
Although the dealership generally costs more than an auto body shop, the mechanics at the shops offer some advantages. They will definitely have the parts your vehicle requires, so you don’t have to worry about riding the bus or driving a rental forever as you wait for a part to come in.
The mechanic who works on your car will have specific certification in that particular make and model of car.
Having Your Vehicle Serviced at an Auto Body Shop
Most folks will choose to take their car to a shop rather than to a dealership. You will be able to meet and speak with the mechanic who will fix your car. Having repairs done at an auto body shop is about half the cost of a dealership. You can almost always hunt around for a mechanic who is well versed in working on your type of vehicle.
When selecting a mechanic, you should visit AAA’s website. They have a list of recommended mechanics. You can also go to the Better Business Bureau website and make sure there are no complaints against them. Angie’s list can be helpful because all of their reviews are from verified customers of the shop.
Consider the Value of the Car
If your car’s starter and alternator are shot, and the car is more than a few years old, you may want to think about getting a new car. Even if you are very attached to that particular car, the cost of repairs may exceed its value. You have several options for getting rid of the old vehicle.
Take the Trade-In
When you go to buy your new car, the dealership will offer you a trade-in amount for the old one. They are likely to offer you much less than the car is worth. They may also offer you a very fair price. If they do this read your final offer carefully. They are wont to tack the price of the trade-in back onto the price of the new ride.
Sell Your Car Online
When you type, “sell my car online” into a search engine, many websites will come up. These websites will charge you a fee to list your car. You will have a lot of competition if you sell a vehicle this way. Your ad may be up for months before you get a single call.
When you get an interested buyer, you will have to show them the car. You may have to do this a few times before actually selling the vehicle. Most people who are in the market for junk cars are professional mechanics and they may only be interested in a part or two rather than the whole automobile
Selling your car online can be dangerous. Criminals have found victims online using electronic billboards.
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