Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

My car would not start yesterday.

When the ignition was turned, all that could be heard was a continuous clicking which then slowed after a while, when I left the key in for some time.

Since then I have changed the battery and the car now starts fine.

Could I have caused any damage to the starter solenoid by holding the key in place for 1 minute while attempting to start the car. I tried few times for about 5-10 clicks only, but one time I probably tried for longer than I should and held the key in the ignition for about 1 minute or so, while the solenoid clicked away.

I spoke to someone who said that the car would be fine, however if anyone could clarify this It would put my mind at rest.

Vehicle info: Vauxhall Astra, (SRI) '07 plate

  • Make/model/year of car? Jan 29, 2016 at 14:49
  • The car is a vauxhall astra (sri) 07 plate
    – William
    Jan 29, 2016 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


The car will be fine, that's just the noise the starter motor/solenoid makes when the battery is flat.

The solenoid switches on the motor and engages the motor's gear with the flywheel, allowing it to turn the engine. There is a strong spring which pushes the solenoid back to its resting position after use. When the battery is very low it can't supply enough power to the solenoid to overcome the spring and turn the motor at the same time. What you are hearing is the solenoid moving a bit (until it switches power to the motor) then being pushed back by the spring.

This image shows how it works, the solenoid is the top part, the motor is underneath it.

enter image description here

  • The only thing I might worry about is overheating the coil in the solenoid. It's not really designed to be used for more than 10-15 seconds at a time. That said, I agree that the OP is probably fine.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 29, 2016 at 15:04
  • The image is a great add! Great job :D Jan 29, 2016 at 15:11
  • 1
    Its a great help for me, I can see the mechanics behind the question I was asking. Makes everything much clearer.
    – William
    Jan 29, 2016 at 15:14

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