Clicking Sound When Starting a Car- How to Go About It

clicking sound when starting car

The frustration can get real very fast when you are late for work and start your car, but the only thing you get is a click. So, what could be the cause of this clicking sound when starting a car? This problem could make you worried and think that something is wrong with your car. Well, something is probably wrong with your car, but it's not that serious, so don't get all shaken up. It is a common problem and also easy to fix. However, no matter how easy something is to do, you need to know some basics.

In that case, we shall take you through some issues that could be causing the problem and how to solve them. So please keep reading to get enlightened.

Single Vs. Rapid Clicks

You may also notice that your car either clicks once or severally. So, before we go on, let's discuss the difference between a single click and rapid clicks.

1. Rapid Clicking Noise

If you hear rapid clicking, it usually means there's a problem with the electricity. This occurs when the electrical system lacks sufficient power to shut the connections in your starter motor fully. It could be caused by various factors, which we'll go over in the next section.

2. Single Clicking Noise

On the other hand, a single click usually indicates a more serious issue. This dreaded clicking noise usually indicates that you have a problem with your starting or that your engine is stuck. If the engine doesn't start, your starter will normally emit a single loud click as it tries to lock onto the flywheel's teeth and spin it.

Causes of a Clicking Sound When Starting a Car

There are various reasons you might hear a click when you start your car. To help you figure out which one could be the problem, we have discussed a few reasons you might hear the clicking noise.

a). Low Battery Voltage

This is usually the most common problem when you notice that your car produces a clicking noise instead of starting. The issue could be caused by an electrical component in your vehicle taking electricity while it is turned off or if you neglected to turn off the parking lights a few hours ago.

Image: carparts

This problem could also result from a faulty car battery, especially if you reside in a cold location where the battery requires a lot of power to start the engine in the cold.

You can jump-start your car from the battery of another vehicle to quickly resolve this issue. However, this may not solve the problem in the long run.

You can use a car battery tester to diagnose the status of your car battery. For example, you could find that you have a bad battery, which may force you to look for a car battery replacement ASAP.

However, when your vehicle is turned off, it's a good idea to examine for any components that are consuming power. If you lack the necessary equipment or knowledge, you should have a professional car technician perform it.

b). Corroded Battery Terminals

Your battery terminals could also be loose or corroded, another common issue. The car starting takes a lot of power from the battery to turn the engine over, and if the contact is faulty, you may hear a clicking sound.

During the cranking of this case, you will frequently witness sparks surrounding the terminal. After trying to crank the engine for a bit, feel gentle with your palm on the terminal. If it's hot, there's probably a problem with the connection.

c). Faulty or Bad Starter Motor

Another problem that could be making your car produce a clicking noise when starting is a faulty starter motor. A solenoid is located inside the starter motor and is pushed out simultaneously as the starter is turned. You may hear a click from your engine without it turning over if the solenoid becomes blocked or fails to function properly.

Also, if the starter motor has some damaged parts on the inside, you may notice a click. Adding external electricity to the starter solenoid and seeing if it reacts is a simple way to check this. For this, you'll need some electric car expertise, and a mobile mechanic may be the best option at that point.

d). Broken Power Cable

This may not be as common as other problems, but you may check this cable if you have checked everything without luck. First, check the cable connector bolts at the starter and the car battery to ensure they are tightened and have a proper connection.

Then, after cranking for a while, feel them to make sure they aren't warm. If they're heated, there's a problem with the connection that needs to be fixed.

e). Ground Strap Issues

The power will be restricted, and the engine will not be able to crank if the ground cable between the body and the engine or between the car battery and the body is damaged.

This is a fairly widespread issue that needs to be investigated. You can try connecting the car engine to the negative battery terminal with an external jumper cable to see if the problem is resolved.

f). Bad Alternator

Your car's alternator provides power to the electrical and charging systems and keeps your battery completely charged while driving. Unfortunately, the battery attempts to power the electrical system without recharging if the alternator is not functioning properly. This can soon spiral out of control. 

For example, you can get a dead battery when you try to start the vehicle because the alternator isn't charging properly. The battery could die while you're driving, causing your vehicle to stop working, making a faulty alternator highly dangerous.

g). Faulty Fuel Pump

When you start your car, the fuel pump should turn on and deliver the correct amount of fuel to the engine. When everything is working properly, your automobile should start immediately

. However, if your gasoline pump fails, you may hear a click, but your vehicle will not start.

This could result from the fuel pump failing to provide fuel to the engine. If your car won't start but cranks, the issue could still be the fuel pump.

Frequently Asked Questions on Clicking Sound When Starting a Car

1. Does clicking mean a dead battery?

A dead battery or related electrical issue is generally indicated by rapid clicking. A faulty battery, weak connections, or rusted connectors are all possibilities.

2. What are the signs that your alternator is going out?

If you hear growling or whining noises coming from under the hood, you may have alternator issues, which a professional should address as soon as possible. For example, the belt that turns the alternator's pulley gets misplaced or rubs against the side of the pulley, resulting in a growling or whining sound.

Image: RAC