Why Does My Car Make a Clicking Noise When I Try to Start It? – Reasons and Solutions

When you are attempting to start your automobile, hearing clicking noises may be frustrating; however, this frustration can be alleviated somewhat if you are aware of the source of the problem.

A dead battery is the most likely cause of the clicking noise that you hear when you try to start your automobile and it does not work. On the other hand, a single click can indicate that the starting motor isn’t working properly or something much more concerning.

This issue seems to leave a lot of drivers scratching their heads, and with good reason. When you hear “clicking noise when starting car but the radio works”, it must be the case that your battery is alright; otherwise, what other possible issue could there be?

In this article, we will be discussing in detail the “why does my car make a clicking noise when I try to start it” issue occurs and what one can do to resolve the “car won’t start clicking noises.”

Car Starting Basics

When you turn the key in the ignition or hit the “Start” button, battery electricity is routed via the ignition switch and onto the computer, the starting relay, or the starter solenoid. The relay or solenoid functions as a switch, and it is this switch that activates the starting motor. This causes the starting motor to get the full power from the battery, which in turn engages a pinion gear that meshes with the flywheel ring gear and causes it to spin. The flywheel rotates the crankshaft, which in turn causes the pistons to rise and fall inside the cylinders of the engine.

The Electronic Control Module (ECM) measures how much air and fuel are injected into the cylinders and sends signals to the ignition system about when the spark plugs should be fired. This ignites the combination of air and fuel that has been squeezed by the pistons. After that, your vehicle’s engine will start!

So What’s That Clicking Noise?

If you hear a clicking sound when you try to start the vehicle, it is likely that the starter motor pinion gear is hitting the flywheel because the battery is dead and does not have enough “energy” to turn the engine over.

Multiple clicks (rapid clicking)

Rapid clicking is an indication that the battery has just enough power to turn on the starting motor but not enough power to crank the engine. Your vehicle’s starting motor will cycle on and off if it is unable to get the engine to turn over. The teeth of the pinion gear clatter on the teeth of the flywheel each time it is turned on. That is the sound you hear.

Single click

In most cases, a malfunctioning starter motor, starter relay/solenoid, or another electrical issue is the root cause of a single-click noise that occurs throughout the starting process. This is true even after you attempt to give a jump-start to your battery. If your engine has been stuck, the pinion will collide with the flywheel as it attempts to turn over the engine, which will result in a loud clunking sound.

What To Do When There Are Multiple Clicks

  1. Jump-start the battery

Warning: the sulfuric acid in a vehicle battery may cause severe burns if it comes into contact with the skin. When working with a battery or jump-starting a vehicle, it is imperative that you always wear protective gloves and eyewear. In the event that you come into direct contact with battery acid, you should immediately seek medical assistance and cleanse the area with a large amount of water.

When you hear clicking coming from your vehicle, the easiest method to start it is normally to use a jump starter while taking all necessary safety procedures.

  1. Battery Terminals

Battery terminals are the points at which battery wires are connected to your battery. Even with a jump start, your vehicle will not start if the terminal connections have been corroded or have become loose. This will restrict the amount of electrical power that flows from the battery to the starter.

You should be able to restore complete electrical power to your vehicle by removing the cable ends, brushing off the rust with a wire brush, and then retightening the nuts. You may easily do maintenance on the terminals of the battery on your own. In addition, make sure that the connection of the negative battery wire to the engine block is clean and secure.

  1. Starter Motor

When you try to start your automobile and you hear clicking or grinding noises, it might be an indication that the starting motor has failed. This could also be the reason why a jump attempt was unsuccessful.

Because of a hard-start scenario, an excessive amount of cranking may cause a starting motor to overheat, causing internal mechanical or electrical components to get damaged and rendering the starter unable to “crank” the engine. Additionally, the battery voltage will decrease before it reaches the starting if the starter relay wire or connection is rusted, has become loose, or both.

Let your technician diagnose starting motor issues.

  1. Charging System Problems

A faulty alternator may prevent a battery from being charged to its full capacity. A battery won’t get a complete charge if the drive belt is worn, if it’s loose, or if the belt tensioner isn’t strong enough. Changing out a drive belt is an easy do-it-yourself task, but professionals should handle alternator and charging issues.

What To Do When There Are Single Clicks

  1. Jump-start the battery

If your vehicle won’t turn over, giving it a jump start is still the easiest do-it-yourself activity you can do. It’s possible that a stopped starting motor may be unlocked using the combined power of two batteries (your car’s and an assistance battery).

  1. Whack the starter

If you are able to reach the starting motor without putting yourself in any risk, try tapping on it with a hammer or the tire iron that is stored in the trunk. Tapping on the starter may sometimes liberate the electrical connections that have been jammed after they have become stuck.

  1. Recycle the key

Ten times in a row, you will need to either move the key to the “Start” position or press the “Start” button. Please wait five minutes before attempting to start your vehicle’s engine. If these repairs don’t work, you’ll need to call for a tow.

The Bottom Line

We believe you have now got a fair understanding of the “why does my car make a clicking noise when I try to start it” issue and what you can do to solve it.

Even though there is no required basic maintenance for starter motors, the life of starter motors is cut short by issues with batteries and problems with the electrical system of your car. The issues that result in prolonged cranking need to be identified and fixed as soon as possible.

Check your battery once a month to ensure that the terminals are clean and tight, that the fluid levels in the battery are right (for batteries with detachable caps), and that the battery is properly secured. This may help avoid damage while also extending the life of the battery and starting motor.

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