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The car continues clicking when the key is turned, but the car would not start..

Please click here to see the symptom I recorded.

2 Answers 2

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Flat battery. Your battery has no charge in it.

It has enough to power up the instrument panel, but as soon as you turn the key, this happens:

  • The starter solenoid pulls in, connecting the motor to the battery.
  • The motor places a HUGE 500 amp load onto the battery.
  • The battery cannot supply that load, so voltage drops to like 2 volts.
  • The starter solenoid can't hold on 2 volts, so it lets go.
  • The 500A load is removed from the battery.
  • Battery voltage recovers.
  • Go back to the top and repeat over and over.

The fix is to put a battery charger on it, and charge it back up to full. A 10 amp battery charger is adequate, and they are cheap. I would use the battery charger all the way to full - expect 10 hours on a new battery - because then, you can see for yourself how much capacity the battery has. When it is full, the charger amps will reduce, and listen carefully and you may hear boiling happening in the battery.

The capacity strongly indicates the health of the battery (ability to start an engine). If it "fills" after 30 minutes, that means it no longer has much capacity, and the battery is probably done for.

Is it time?

If your battery is over 5 years old, or over 3 years old and frequently abused, then you don't really need to a lot of hard math here. That is about the useful life of a lead-acid battery.

Occam's Razor says the simplest explanation is the most likely: your battery is simply at the end of its normal life. This failure is expected. Lead-Acid Starting batteries are "wear-out" parts like brakes. This is no reflection on electric vehicles, which use a very different type of battery.

I mention that because a new battery is around $150, but paying a mechanic to tell you that is $200 lol. Very unnecessary if you did the above capacity test.

A car battery weighs about 60 pounds/30 kilo. Installing it is a simple affair. Many stores who sell batteries will install for free. In my area, the AAA auto club will deliver the battery to wherever you are and install it for free, as a member benefit.

Why do they do this? Why not make a battery that lasts the life of the car? You know, like electrics have. COST. Lead-acid is a shabby battery in all respects but two: First it's uncannily good at surge power (to crank over an engine. Second, it's dirt cheap. In other words, lead-acid is so cheap that it's cheaper to replace the battery 2-3 times in a car's lifetime than it is to buy a quality battery of another technology.

Now you know why EVs don't use lead-acid (the starting current wouldn't help them anyway).

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Get your battery checked. Sounds like it doesn't have enough juice to start the car.

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