Help! There’s a Clicking Noise When Starting My Car

It’s a nightmare we all share. You get in your car and turn the key, only to be greeted by a click-click-click sound.

That can put a serious damper on your day. The bad news is that clicking noises when starting your car can be caused by lots of different things. You may be able to jump start your car and get it to the mechanic, but you may also need to arrange a tow truck.

Before you reach for the phone, we’re going to look at some of the common causes of clicking noises and what you can do to diagnose the issue.

Rapid Clicking Noise When Starting the Car

Clicking noises are one of the most common faults in cars. It’s a sign that something is wrong with the electrical system. If your car makes rapid-fire clicking noises when you turn the key, it’s most likely caused by:

  • Dead battery. A dead battery is the most common cause of clicking when starting your car. If your car’s battery has insufficient charge, the starter motor will turn on and off rapidly, which causes the clicking noise. In many cases you can still jumpstart your car to get it to the mechanic. If jump starting doesn’t work, the problem may be elsewhere.
  • Corroded or loose battery terminals. Car batteries deliver high current when starting the engine. To do this, the battery terminals need to be clean, and the battery leads need to be bolted tightly to the terminals. Before calling your mechanic, inspect the battery to make sure the terminals aren’t fouled by corrosion, grease or grime. Give the battery leads a gentle tug to make sure they’re firmly attached. Tighten the leads if they’re loose.

Dirty battery terminals can be cleaned using a paper towel and a mild solvent such as rubbing alcohol. Just make sure to fully disconnect the battery before cleaning the terminals.

  • Faulty wiring or ignition. When you turn the key in your car, the ignition sends a small electrical signal to the starter motor. This electrical signal can be lost due to problems with wiring, earths, ignition switches, fuses, relays and more. Diagnosing problems with the wiring or ignition is a job that’s best left to the professionals. In many cases, this sort of problem can be resolved with a simple fix.
  • Faulty alternator. The alternator is responsible for charging your car’s battery. If the battery is dead, it may be the fault of the alternator. Alternators can sometimes be rebuilt, but it’s usually more economical to have your mechanic replace a faulty unit.
  • Faulty starter motor. Finally, if nothing else seems to be the problem, your starter motor may be to blame. Starter motors are simple devices that can last for decades, so you’ll need to have the issue diagnosed by an auto electrician to be sure. Starter motor repairs or replacement is usually a simple and affordable procedure.

Single Clicking Noise When Starting the Car

Rapid-fire clicking noises are a common problem. A related (but less common) issue is a single click when you turn the key. This click is a surefire sign that something is wrong with the starter motor.

Starter motors are a small, high-powered electrical motor that are used to turn the engine and get the car started. To do this, the starter motor extends a small gear that engages the flywheel. This small gear sits on the end of a piston that is extended and retracted by a solenoid.

When you turn the key and hear a single, loud click, this is usually caused by the starter motor’s solenoid. If you hear a click but the car doesn’t turn over, you’ll need to have an auto electrician diagnose the issue and replace the starter motor.

Car Still Clicks After Replacing the Battery

Dead batteries are the leading cause of clicking noises when trying to start your car. If you replace the battery and the car still won’t start, the problem is likely being caused by the starter motor. Again, you should double-check that the battery terminals and leads are clean and firmly attached. If there are no obvious issues, you’ll need to take the car to your mechanic.

Car Won’t Start? Get in Touch with Access Auto Electrics for Help!

Whether it’s a dead battery, faulty alternator or problems with your starter motor, a car that won’t start is always a hassle. Figuring out the issue is usually best left to the professionals, so make a booking with Access Auto Electrics for help.

Access Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning is a specialist auto electrician in Brisbane. We work on all types of cars, 4WDS, caravans and light commercial vehicles, so we can diagnose any problems you’re having. Our highly trained vehicle diagnostic services technicians have seen it all, and we can make light work of battery, alternator or starter motor faults and dual battery installation.

You can contact us online to make a booking, or call us if you need help with a car that refuses to start or for any extras, such as towing accessories Brisbane wide.

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