I was at the park driving around, and I decided to stop at a shelter to use the bathroom, I was gone for 1-2 minutes. I came back and my car starts clicking (the clicking was fast, not slow).

So, I first thought maybe the battery cable was loose, still nothing. After first 25 minutes of sitting there (I was texting/calling friends asking for a ride) it then started to slowly turn over. Then, after 45 minutes of sitting there, I tried again and the car started right up. It also rained recently, so I am not sure if something got wet and kept it from starting?

The vehicle is a 1991 nissan sentra gxe.

Anyways with a problem like this what would I check to see what needs to be replaced? I already have a starter on its way from another oreilly's store, just in case.

EDIT; thanks for the response, I bought a new battery (I really didn't have a choice) I had oreillys test it, and the battery is bad, but the alternator is bad, too. I am guessing what happened is alternator went bad, and slowly depleted/killed the battery, too.

  • You ordered a starter already? Damn. It's probably a corroded or loose battery cable, dead battery, old battery, or something else.
    – cory
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 19:24
  • I didn't pay for it, just having it shipped from another store.
    – andyADD
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 20:22

3 Answers 3


I would thoroughly look at the battery cables again. While the clicking noise usually indicates a battery that is too weak to start the vehicle, the battery would not be able to build up enough power to start if it just sits there like you described. This leads me to believe that the problem is something else.

Take your battery cables completely off and look for corrosion around the terminal posts on your battery. Then look for any insecure ground wire connections. After all of this, take a look at the wires on your starter and make sure that none are loose or corroded there as well.

If all of this fails, then I would get your battery tested by someone and see what the readings can tell you.

  • 1
    I might add if all else fails, check the solenoid.
    – anonymous2
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 18:42
  • @anonymous2 Correct :)
    – Dalton D
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 18:42
  • I'm wondering if the battery has a weak cell (what used to be termed a cell with a "surface charge"). They tend to act very strangely like this. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 20:39

Low battery voltage under load (cranking) will produce enough amperage to energise the starter solenoid and pull in the pinion to mesh with the flywheel (or flexplate ring gear). However once this occurs solenoid contacts allow full battery voltage and current flow (amps) to flow through the commutator and field windings of the starter motor. Because the battery is tired, it cannot do this efficiently and the amperage drops right off, causing the solenoid current to fall considerably and the pinion to disengage with the ring gear. the small current then required causes the solenoid to re engage (loud click) and the process continues, on / off / on / off etc.This sounds like a machine gun. The bottom line is you require a new battery. To supply good cold cranking amperage through your starter commutator and field windings.

Cheers Hutch

  • I literally came to my question to review previous answer, and was surprised new one popped up, Based on my question you don't think the starter is going out (since it makes strong fast click) but the battery could be going?
    – andyADD
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 7:34

It often is the starter solenoid, but on some cars it's integrated into the starter motor. If you hear rapid clicking, that is usually a depleted or dead battery. If you hear one loud click, for whatever reason the solenoid or the starter is not engaging the engine.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .