The car doesn't start. It does a rapid-fire clicking noise when I turn the key. What could be the cause?

The battery terminals have already been cleaned, so the problem is not a corroded terminal issue. I tried turning on the headlights and they turned on just fine. If the lights were able to turn on, does it mean that the battery simply does not have enough power to start up the car?

I currently have the battery charging. So another question I have is, if the problem is battery-related should I just fully charge the battery or should I get a new battery?

11 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The same thing just happened to me. See if your auto insurance policy includes roadside assistance. If it does, they 

    will send someone to jump your vehicle for a minimum fee or for free! Very cool.

    Then take your car to an auto parts place and they will check the it for you. They can tell you if it is the battery, alternator or starter. If you buy a new battery there they will install it for you but make sure they are competent to do so.

    Good luck. Car trouble is the pits. 

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  • 2 months ago

    The battery is weak. Charge it up, or jump start the car and drive it long enough to charge the battery enough to start the car. Usually 10 miles will do the trick. Have the battery load tested at a car part store to see if it needs replacement

    • it is i
      Lv 5
      1 month agoReport

      ALWAYS charge it we'll before getting a new battery.  Wasting 50 cents worth of electricity is better than buying a new battery if you don't need one.

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  • Erik
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Try jump starting the car.  If that works, it's the battery, or a connection.  If it doesn't, it's the starter (or could be an electrical problem).

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  • 2 months ago

    Did you remove the battery cables and clean the battery posts and inside the cable clamps or just brush off the corrosion on the surface of the clamps?

    The contact areas need to be shiny.

    It's a dead battery.

    • See2 months agoReport

      Yes I removed the battery cables to clean the posts/clamps

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    If the charged battery starts the car,  go to a shop/car parts store and get the battery load tested.  Replace the battery if it fails the load test.  Get the shop to check the charging system.

    If the charged battery does not start the car (no cranking), get a jump.  Car starts, replace the battery.  Car does not start with a jump, call for a tow to a garage.

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  • Barry
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    A good starter will normally draw 60 to 150 amps with no load on it, and up to 250 amps under load (while cranking the engine). Lights take an absolute maximum of 20 amps and maybe only half of that. So the battery needs to hold plenty of energy to rotate the engine. I read your battery is three years old so it's past it's best. When you replace buy the battery with the highest CCA figure you can reasonably afford. The higher the CCA figure the more guts the battery has.

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  • 2 months ago

    If the headlights turn on without fading, your problem is probably the starter solenoid. If you trace the thick cable from the + side of your battery, you'll come to a cylinder with two thick wires and one thin wire connected to it. You probably need a new one, but you may be able to unjam it by putting one end of a piece of timber against it and hitting the other end with a hammer.

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  • Kenny
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    A weak battery or a bad connection .  I would guess a weak battery .  Check the water level in the battery cells and if they are low add some . Be careful there is acid in there . You can take the battery to an auto parts store and they will usually check it for no charge ..

    • Kenny
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      Check it for free .

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    When batteries fail they often cannot deliver sufficient current to power the starter, even though the lights may work fine. This can be verified with a load test at an auto parts store, usually done for  free.  Check the water level in the cells before charging. You can make matters worse by boiling the battery if it is low. Only fill with distilled water.  

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  • Scott
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    How old is your battery? If it's more than 3 years old, it may be time to replace it.

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    • Billybean
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      The rapid fire clicking that you hear is the battery trying but failing to turn the starter motor. The battery has had it at 3 years old and just can't hold enough charge.

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