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Bare with me. I don't know much about vehicles.

My 2004 Dodge Dakota takes like 10-20 tries to start in the morning. During all the failed tries, I only hear a click each time (that means it's not turning over, right?). Eventually, I can get it to sound like it's about to turn on with the engine revving (turning over?), but even then it'll take a time or two sometimes. I used to turn the key back to "off" between tries and wait a second or two, but that didn't seem to make a difference so now I just keep turning it until I can get it to start. This has been happening for about a week now and only in the mornings at the start. I thought maybe the cold had something to do with it, but it's been a lot warmer lately (like 60+ in the mornings), and it's still acting up. On top of that, there's been times the past few days where I would go to run it again after having driven it only a few hours earlier, and it was giving me the same issue.

Also, the lights and radio come on even when it doesn't start and the battery is brand new. The old battery died a month ago, and I wonder now if that was a sign of whatever is causing this issue because I think it died right around when the warranty expired, so that's kind of premature, right?

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    Sounds like a bad starter but you'll want to re-check the battery, check the battery cables, check the starter solenoid, as well as the starter wires. – jwh20 Dec 30 '19 at 21:58
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The battery seems like it has plenty of power, so it it likely being charged properly. The click you are hearing is probably the starter solenoid (electronic switch) closing, but either it isn't sending power to the starter motor, or it is but the starter isn't working.

So it is most likely a bad starter motor, a bad starter solenoid or there could be something in the electrical connection. I find the last to be unlikely - there's no vibrations to get the connection back in place as your truck isn't running - but it's worth having someone check.

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  • So, I took the starter motor out and it passed the tests at Auto Zone, but I figured I'd swap it out anyway just to check since it was such a pain to get out in the first place. It cranked right up with the new one! I hope it stays that way.... Thanks for the help. – bgavin Dec 31 '19 at 21:11

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