The Causes of Car WON’T Start Clicking Noise

Every unusual car sound is a warning of a particular underlying anomaly. When a car won’t start clicking noise, it could indicate issues with several components. The engine needs a thrust from the flywheel for being cranked up. 

The flywheel, on the other hand, depends on the starter motor. The battery is the source that supplies power for all these components. So, when the car clicks but won’t start, there could be several sources of the problem.

Car Won’t Start Clicking Noise: The Probable Causes

It could either be a battery or a starter problem when the car clicks when trying to start but the engine refuses to respond. 

The engine cranking up involves a series of chain events. Issues with a single device or a damaged component can turn the whole system to dust. Here are some symptoms of the car won’t start clicking noise and their possible causes:

1# Rapid Clicking When Trying to Start Car

If there is a rapid-fire clicking when you turn the ignition key, low voltage or high resistance is the problem. And, the only reason for this trouble is a problematic battery. The battery issues could arise from two sources:

The battery is dead

It could happen for a malfunctioning alternator or low battery charge. Check its output voltage with a voltmeter. It is the source of trouble if the reading comes to less than 12 V. 

A dead battery is not necessarily bad or damaged. If it is not transmitting power due to low electrolyte levels, recharging electrolytes will solve the problem. You should go for the best car battery to avoid this frustrating situation.

car clicks when trying to start
Check the battery to discover the reason for the car clicking when trying to start. (Photo: wheelchairdriver)

A damaged alternator could be another reason for an unresponsive battery. The car won’t start clicking noise if the alternator cannot provide the requisite voltage output for any reason. Fixing or replacing it is the only solution.

If the car won’t start clicking noise but the battery is good, the real culprit is the parasitic drain. Defective alternator diodes or some kind of electrical problems are the main causes. You can try to jumpstart the car and drive it to a garage to diagnose the problem.

Corrosion of the terminals

Clicking sound when starting a car could happen when the starter motor does not get an adequate power supply and the most probable reason is the corroded battery terminals. Examine the battery under the hood. 

If the terminals have green, or blue deposits or rust buildup, you should get them cleaned to restore the voltage supply and bring the engine back to life. 

Loose battery cable ends or frayed wire can cause trouble too. Check these accessories and ensure that they are all in working order.

car won't start just clicks but battery is good
If the terminals have green, or blue deposits or rust buildup, you should get them cleaned immediately. (Photo: Mechanic Base)

Starter Problems

Various starter issues could potentially lead to high resistance and the car won’t start clicking noise. Check for a dead starter motor, resulting from damage or a defective triggering mechanism.

A loose starter connection could be the culprit too. In that case, you have to find out the faulty wire circuit and examine it with a voltmeter. 

Fixing the motor will require some professional expertise but you can repair the loose connection with some skills. You should check the motor, all the connections, and the entire circuit to find out the root of the trouble.

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2# Single Click When Starting the Car

When you hear just one click at the time of turning the ignition key, it could be the faulty high current contacts inside the starter solenoid. 

A malfunctioning solenoid could lead to the same symptom of a clicking sound when starting car by interfering with the ignition circuit.

When the contacts develop a high resistance when they are damaged or corroded. When you turn the ignition key and try to start the engine, the high resistance eats up the voltage supposed to flow to the starter, lowering its power supply and preventing it from cranking up the engine.

clicking sound when starting car
A malfunctioning solenoid could be another reason. (Photo Source: morepartz)

The good thing is a new set of contacts does not cost more than $10. But, the problem is you will hardly find them in any garage or auto service center. In that case, replacing the starter assembly will be the solution.

3# Car Wont Start Just Clicks

Another probable reason for the car won’t start clicking noise is a locked up or frozen engine. The locked-up problem can be solved by trying to kick off the engine manually with a breaker bar and wrench.

In the case of a frozen engine, switch the car on and give the engine time to warm up gradually. You can avoid this problem by refilling the coolant before the arrival of winter and not parking the car out in the open when the temperature is pretty low.

Check out this video from Foxboss9 to further discover click sounds in your automobile or truck when you attempt to start it.

Car Won’t Start Clicking Noise: What To Do (In Detail)

Upon listing the reasons above, we have already mentioned the possible solutions for each circuit. But to be more specific on what to do if your car won’t start just clicks, we will get into more detailed inspecting and checking steps for this issue.

Any time you encounter the clicking engine from your car, you should always root back to several familiar faulty parts. Experts recommend that you start with the simplest and least expensive alternatives initially, and then gradually work your way up the difficult ladder. 

First, start with your battery:

  • Visually inspect your battery. Check that your battery is clean and not heavily rusted.
  • Check the battery terminals. If they are dirty and sticky, the problem may be that the battery can’t connect to the starter because it’s dirty. 

Note: Make sure to clean these connections carefully: while your car isn’t running, separate the clamp from the battery terminals and begin cleaning with iron or brush. If the discoloration is stubborn, try a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda solution. After cleaning, rinse and dry the terminals with a dry and soft cloth.

  • You may have run out of batteries if your batteries, columns, and connections are clean and functional. If you don’t have specialist equipment like a multimeter or a battery load tester, the simplest way to test your battery is to jump-start it.

Then, double-check your wiring

The next stage in the inspecting procedure to troubleshoot is your engine cables. Most starters are wired with three cables: two from the battery (to the solenoid and the starter itself) and one from the ignition to the solenoid. 

car won't start clicking
The next stage in the inspecting procedure to troubleshoot is your engine cables. (Photo: Craig’s DIY Car)

Again, do the same tests you did with your battery: look for fraying or corrosion along your cable lines, and inspect the ports for cleanliness. 

After you’ve completed your battery and cabling checks, the situation may become a bit more challenging. Diagnosing a specific problem with your starter or alternator necessitates the use of specialist tools and a high degree of understanding.

Unless you are an experienced home mechanic, we recommend contacting your preferred auto expert at this time as soon as possible to fix car clicking and not starting.


After scrolling through some of our notices on the issue, If you are unlikely to stop dealing with car won’t start clicking noise, regular checkups and upkeep of the car battery and alternator along with a yearly inspection of the ignition system will keep the issue in check.