My Car Won't Start, Just Clicks

You turn on the key or press start, but all you hear is a click or a few repetitive clicking sounds. 

While at first, you may not think this is a battery problem because the radio and lights work 9 out of 10 times, this problem is caused by a weak battery.

Why does my car click but won't start? 

car clicks but won't start

The most common problem that causes a car to click and no start is a weak battery. The battery is not completely dead, but it is discharged, and even though it turns on the car lights, it can no longer start the engine.  You will need to jump-start your car with a jump box, jump it with another car, or replace the battery. 

Car Clicks but Won't Start

Even if your radio, dashboard turns on, and lights work, you can still have a weak battery. 

If you notice the following problems, you have what is known as a partially discharged battery

  • The car won't start, you hear a clicking noise, and the battery seems good.
  • The car won't start, you hear clicking noise, but the lights work.
  • The car does not start, but the radio works.

Don't panic and think you have a major breakdown. That is less likely.

Dead battery - Car won't start, just clicks

Here is why this is most likely a dead battery problem:

Car won't start, and all I hear is a clicking noise.

  • The chances are that your battery has partially discharged. If you forget the lights, radio, heated seats on, or keep the engine turned off but the keys in the ignition, you may have this problem. Maybe you didn't leave the lights on. Yet, the battery could have discharged for several reasons. If your car battery is old, it may not even hold a charge.

Lights and radio still work, the car won't start.

  •  Your car battery has not discharged completely, and that is why your lights still work. But it has discharged to the point that it can no longer turn to offer the engine or start it. Even if your radio works or lights turn on, there is a very high chance that you have a discharged battery. 

I installed a new battery, the car still won't start.

  • Yes, it can happen even if your car has a new battery. If you installed a new battery and still have a problem where your car clicks but won't start, the chances are that a system on your car is draining the battery when the car is parked. An electrical system in your vehicle draws excessive current from the battery when the car is parked. This discharges the new battery to the point that it can no longer start the engine. This problem is known as a parasitic draw.  

Why Won't My Car Start After I Park It? 

car won't start after I park it

If your car doesn't start after it has been parked for several hours, the two most common problems are: 

  • The battery is too old and needs to be replaced. 
  • One of the electrical systems in your car is draining the battery when the vehicle is parked. Check for a parasitic current draw.

The following video shows a Chrysler Crossfire that won't start after it was parked overnight.

Even though the car would turn on, it would not start; all we can hear is a clicking noise. 

Car Won't Jump Start, Just Clicks.....

Tried to start the car but all you get is clicking noise

If you are jump-starting a car, but all you hear is a click, it is because:

  • your jumper cables' clamps are not making good contact,
  • a jump box is not fully charged,
  • your car battery is completely discharged and needs to charge first. 
car wont start just clicks due to weak old battery

If the car doesn't start even when you jump start it, try the following:

  1. Check the jumper cable clamps: The clamps may not be making good contact. Make sure the clamps have a good grip on the battery terminals. Clean battery terminals if they are corroded, then reconnect the clamps. 
  2. Connect the negative battery clamp to a better location. You can connect the Negative / Black clam of your jumper box or jumper wires directly to the engine block or unpainted bolt. 
  3. Allow the car battery to charge: 
    • Using another car. Keep the jumper cables connected for at least 15 min while the other car is running. After 15 min tries starting the car that has a dead battery.
    • If you are using a jumper box to start the car, keep the jumper box connected for 15 min then try again. This will not work if the battery in the jump box is partially discharged.
    • If you are using a trickle charger, let the car battery charge for at least 4 hours. Trickle chargers provide small currents, and it takes a while for the car battery to charge.

Why won't my car start with a charged battery? All I hear is a click.

car wont start yo hear click because of corroded termianl

You need to test the battery to verify it is fully charged. Just because your ignition and lights turn on it doesn't mean the battery is fully charged. 

If you have ensured that the car battery is fully charged and you still hear a click, the problem can be one of the following: 

  • A loose battery terminal or ground. 
  • Corroded battery terminal. 
  • Sized engine
  • Broken timing chain
  • Bent valves
  • Mechanical engine failure
  • Bad starter 

By  YOUCANIC Automotive Experts

Published on: Thursday, December 12, 2019.
Updated on: Wednesday, November 18, 2020