I'm hoping someone can help me diagnose this car problem (car won't start). I made a short video here so you can hear the noise it makes when trying to start:

[video removed]

Short summary of the problem:

  • Car has been sitting for 3 months (warm climate)
  • I initially thought the battery was drained, so I tried jump-starting it. No luck. It made the same clicking noise you hear in the video.
  • I then trickle-charged the battery overnight (trying to avoid spending money on a new battery). To my suprise, the charger indicated it took a charge, so I reinstalled the battery, turned the key, and it made the same clicking noise you hear in the video.
  • The starter was replaced (refurbished) about six months ago.

In my limited knowledge of working on cars, I've never seen a completely dead battery (lifespan exhausted), which is probably what is confusing me so much.

Thank you!

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! May 3, 2019 at 15:09
  • 1
    Either the battery is indeed completely toast, or there's a loose connection. You should put a volt meter on the battery, then watch the voltage while you try to start the car. If the voltage of the battery remains 10+ volts then you have a loose connection and probably need to clean the terminals and make sure they're tight. If the voltage at the terminals goes down to ~0 volts, then the battery is toast and you need a new one. May 3, 2019 at 15:35
  • @the_storyteller - One other thing is, it could be the relay. I believe Ford (which includes Lincoln/Mercury) uses a solenoid which is separate from the starter. This could also be at fault. May 3, 2019 at 15:57
  • @Paulister2 has an excellent point. Town Cars have a relay located on the engine bay wall maybe a foot behind the battery. If the battery has voltage, you should check if the clicking noise is coming from the relay, and whether or not there's voltage on relay output terminals when you try to start the car. May 3, 2019 at 16:05
  • Okay, I'm taking the battery to an auto parts store for testing. Will let you know and if someone wants to summarize the answer below, I'll mark it as correct.
    – Jeff
    May 3, 2019 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Even though my old battery appeared to take a charge from a borrowed trickle-charger, I took it to Autozone and they confirmed it was bad: 11.83 volts, only 2% charged. With a new battery installed, she started right up. I was shocked!

If someone would like to summarize the answers/suggestions in the comments above and post them here, I'll mark your answer correct.

  • Go ahead and select your own answer when you're allowed to ... you can (and should) answer your own questions if possible. Glad you posted the answer! May 3, 2019 at 19:17

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