Why Your Car Won’t Start But Makes Clicking Noise

Last updated on January 13th, 2023 at 07:24 pm

Why Your Car Won’t Start But Makes Clicking Noise (Car  Won’t Start Rapid Clicking Noise)

Have you ever tried starting your car on a day you have an important appointment only to be greeted with clicking noises and your car refuses to start? This experience can be very exasperating. This issue is quite common but it should be a cause for alarm because it is easy and economical to rectify.

Though it is a common issue, but if you don’t know how to fix it, it becomes a problem. In this article we look at:

  • Causes & why your car won’t start yet makes clicking noises
  • car won’t start clicking noise lights work
  • car won’t start rapid clicking noise
  • car won’t start one click then nothing
  • car won’t start just clicks but the battery is good

Related Article:Causes of High Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving

Causes & Why Your Car Clicks When Trying to Start It

If your car won’t start yet produces clicking noises, then these may be caused by any of these five problems discussed below.

1. Bad/faulty starter motor

Having a faulty starter motor can cause your car not to start yet makes clicking noises. There’s a solenoid in the starter that is pushed out concurrently as when you on the starter. The solenoid can become jammed and refuse to work effectively. This can cause clicking sounds emanating from your engine.

2. Ground cable problem

Another cause why your car won’t start yet makes clicking sounds is the presence of a ground cable amid the body and engine. This will give rise to low power that would be incapable of cranking the engine. To rectify this fault, try applying an external jumper cable connecting the car engine and the negative battery terminal.

3. Low battery voltage

Your car may make clicking noises yet refuse to start if your battery voltage is low. Low voltage may result if your car battery is drained. It could also be caused by a bad car battery, particularly if you live in a cold country where the battery needs a good deal of power to crank the engine.

4. Broken Power Cable

A broken power cable would be incapable of supplying power to the starter that would make the engine to crank. Though power cable issues aren’t very common, but you may still have to check it if your car won’t start yet makes clicking noises.

5. Loose battery terminals

If there are loose battery terminals on battery of your vehicle, it may not start yet makes noises. Your mechanic may fail to make tighter these terminals after fixing a fault, causing the contact between the connectors and the terminals to go bad. When the car is turning over, it calls for power from the battery. A faulty contact can lead to clicking noises.

6. Frozen engine

A frozen engine or a locked up one is also a cause why your car won’t start yet makes clicking noise. The locked engine can be rectified by manually kicking off the engine using a breaker bar and wrench. Conversely, the frozen engine can be check by switching the vehicle on and allowing the engine to steadily warm up. This issue can be prevented in the first place by refilling the coolant before winter and always parking your car in a garage instead of leaving it outside.

  • Car won’t start clicking noise lights work

If your car won’t start but makes clicking noises and lights work, then it may be caused by a dead battery or other faults.

If this happens, it is advisable to check the battery. Some persons may ignore the battery since some electrical gears in the vehicle still function. Batteries can occasionally run electronic devices on a low charge. However, starters require up to 300 amps. Use an hydrometer to check the battery, if it indicates low, then it requires recharging. If on the other hand it accepts a charge or a jump from another battery, then the problem is rectified. A faulty fuse or ignition may be the problem if it refuses to start.

Also, it would help to check the fuses and ignition switch if your car won’t start but makes clicking noises and lights work. You can check your car’s manual to identify the location of the fuse box and open it. Check the fuse for a metal wire. If the wire inside the plastic casing is damaged, then it means a blown fuse is averting the power from getting to the starter relay.

  • Car won’t start rapid clicking noise

If your car won’t start and yet you hear rapid clicking noise, then the fault may be with your alternator. A rapid clicking noise may point to a fault within the electrical system. It could mean your battery is totally drained or your alternator is faulty.

An electrical fault may cause the starter not to be with sufficient power, making it turn on and off, hence producing clicking noises. Note that a faulty starter isn’t the cause of a car not starting yet producing clicking noises, it’s only a warning sign.

The cause rather is linked to the electrical system of your vehicle, which is why a jumpstarting your vehicle may cause it to start.

It may require you to contact an experienced mechanic to rectify the electrical issue. You may also have to change your alternator or battery. In some cases, the remedy may be as trivial as simply cleaning the corrosion from the battery cables to strengthen the charge.

  • Car won’t start one click then nothing

If your car won’t start, only makes one click then you hear nothing, it may be caused by a defective starter. A starter problem will cause a loud single clicking sound instead of rapid clicking sounds. A major sign of a faulty starter is a sole clicking noise when you turn or push the key/start button. The car may or may not start after jump starting it. Fixing this issue may require you repairing or replacing your starter.

Once you hear the clicking noise, it is advisable to consult a qualified auto-repairer to rectify the issue. Avoid using your car in same condition without fixing the problem. If your engine refuses to turn over in spite of a jumpstart, then it may require you arranging for a tow to be checked by a technician.

Normally, the lifespan of starters ranges from 30,000 miles to 200,000 miles. However, the vehicle type, harsh weather, the driver, and state of the engine are factors that should be considered when trying to estimate how long a starter can last.

  •  Car won’t start just clicks but battery is good

If your car won’t start but makes clicking sounds despite the battery being good, then it may be a starter motor problem. If you engage the ignition key and receive clicking noises response, then the starter may be defective. In some cases, starters may automatically stop working without any indicating sign. So, don’t overlook a starter problem when troubleshooting for faults.


When your car refuses to start yet makes clicking noises, the reason could be as a result of the low battery voltage, loose terminals, faulty starter, broken power cable, and other mentioned above. Ensure you have a qualified mechanic check your car on a regular basis so as to detect the issues on time before they cause additional damage to your car. Check your car battery and alternator regularly. Also, inspect the ignition structure on a yearly basis.

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