We haven't driven this car much in the last month, so it's been sitting in our back yard. Yesterday we tried to start it up, but it is making a clicking sound while turning the key in the ignition, and it won't start.

I got a new battery, thinking that would fix the problem, but it still makes the same sound. I then thought of the terminal ends that connect to the battery so we replaced one because it wasn't gripping; it would just slip off with very little pressure. However, even after doing that, it still won't start.

  • 2
    Is there a single click then nothing, or is it a series of (probably rapid) clicks?
    – mike65535
    Nov 21, 2018 at 19:52

3 Answers 3


What's making the clicking

Although there might be other things going on, due to the symptoms, its probably the starter solenoid. When your key turns in the ignition, it completes a relatively light circuit between the battery and the solenoid. The solenoid in turn snaps two contacts together (click) completing a much larger circuit between the battery and the actual starter. The reason they have these is so the large current doesn't have to flow through the key (or the ignition - you get the point)

Repetitive clicking

If you're experiencing repetitive clicking upon turning the key in the ignition, the most common problem will be a dead battery, or bad connections between the battery and the car. The battery still has enough juice to close the solenoid's contacts, but the additional drain from the starter will reduce the current to the point that the solenoid can no longer stay closed. When the solenoid's contacts separate though, the larger circuit opens, reducing the drain on the battery, which allows the solenoid to close again, repeating the process. (Hence the repeated clicking.) Since you said you just replaced the battery, I would check all the connectors. Repeated clicking indicates that the solenoid is fine. It is supplying power to the starter, but the battery or cables are not able to supply the current to keep it energized. If you're hearing repeated clicking, it has to be a fault prior to the solenoid.


  • Your battery charge
  • Your battery connections/cables
  • Ground cables

Single Click

If you're hearing a single click, it is likely either your starter or your starter solenoid. Your solenoid contacts might be burnt, not allowing enough current to go to the starter, or your starter motor could have a dead spot.

Often times this will be in the engine bay (under the hood/bonnet), but sometimes it will be connected directly to the starter, which is often slightly harder to get to. However, I'd start with the solenoid, as that's cheaper and usually easier to replace than the starter.

If it's not the solenoid, it's probably the starter. For now, you can usually just rock the car back and forth to get the starter moved to a different position, then the car should start. If this is the first time this has happened (although you might not know, seeing that you've had the car for about a month), it'll probably be a couple years before you even see this problem again. However, it'll only get worse, so when you have spare time (and a little spare cash for the starter), you can go ahead and replace it. You can usually find a video on YouTube, or you could ask a question here as well. For most cars this won't be too hard of a surgery.


If you are certain that both batteries were fully charged (even batteries on the shelf can go bad), then the culprit is likely your starter solenoid. Easier to just swap the whole starter.


scenario #1: most probably, the clicking sound is from the crank case which is starving for lubricant (engine oil). the oil has settled down in the oil chamber due to not using the vehicle for long. Add some (100-250ml) same grade engine oil in engine. Remove the spark uplugs, safely spray some shots of wd40 in each cylinder. Reinstall the spark plugs. start the engine. Hopefully engine will start smoothly. If (any) clicking sound disappears after 2-3 minutes of engine start, its ok. its normal.

scenario #2: Without ignition keys inside, put the vehicle in its top gear (if manual). Pull and push the car with normal force. Now crank it with car in neutral, if the bandix or fly wheel have stuck it might release with these few to and fro movements.

scenario #3: Visually inspect the starter relay and its connectors in the fuse/relay box, mostly located inside the engine compartment. Locate the starter motor and solenoid, If you have a technical/diy-er bent of mind you can easily short circuit the terminals of the starter with a long screw driver. But this you could only do if you have no other option left. DO THIS WITH ULTIMATE SAFETY IN MIND, the ignition key should be in the on position and the drive should be in neutral (gear) while directly (temporarily) connecting starter terminals. If the starter can crank the engine, the problem eliminates only to ignition switch wiring and/or starter relay.

  • You will see if you read the question that the engine doesn't start at all, which means the clicking is unlikely to be anything related to oil starvation, as the engine isn't turning. See @cullub's answer.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 17, 2019 at 7:18
  • @RoryAlsop second part of the answer will help in such a case.
    – user30612
    Jun 17, 2019 at 8:10
  • 1
    Please read existing answers before posting - this was already covered in the answer cullub posted 3 years ago
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 17, 2019 at 8:41

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