One of the most common issues that drivers encounter is their car not starting properly and making a clicking noise when the key is turned in the ignition. This is one of the more frustrating car problems to encounter and can have a number of different causes.
The main cause of a car not starting and making a clicking noise is a faulty battery or starter. A dead battery will cause your car to not start properly, while a faulty starter will keep your key and ignition from working together correctly.
These causes and several others will be discussed in detail later in this guide. You can use the information provided for you here to accurately identify your car’s issue and implement the proper troubleshooting method to resolve it.
Why Is Car Not Starting And Making A Clicking Noise?
The most common reasons for a car to not start properly and make a clicking noise are battery issues, alternator problems, faulty cables and connections, and a broken starter. The next part of this guide will discuss these causes in detail so you can better understand where your issue might be stemming from.
Battery issues are the most common cause of a car not starting and making a clicking noise. If you have left interior lights on in your vehicle, or your battery is reaching the end of its lifespan, then your car is likely unable to fully power on due to no battery charge.
Your car’s engine will attempt to turn over when you turn the key in the ignition but will be unable to fully power on without a proper battery charge. This process of trying to start up will cause the clicking noise to occur rapidly while you attempt to crank the vehicle.
Alternator issues are another cause of a car not starting properly and exhibiting a clicking noise. Your alternator is responsible for generating the power that charges your car’s battery.
If your battery is not able to receive the proper amount of charge from the alternator, the engine will not be able to turnover and your car will make a rapid clicking noise when you turn the key in the ignition.
You should first check the battery and ensure that it is functioning properly before assuming that you have alternator issues. If you determine that your battery is charging and holding a charge like normal, it is likely your alternator that is causing it to lose charge and not power your vehicle correctly.
Faulty Cables And Connections
The cables that transfer power from your battery to other parts of your vehicle could be causing your car to not start properly and produce a clicking noise. These cables associated with your battery could become corroded or damaged due to wear and tear over time.
When this happens, it is likely that your battery will not be able to properly power your vehicle due to the lack of proper power being transferred. Terminal corrosion can also affect how effectively your cables are able to transfer power to and from your battery.
A broken starter is another common cause of a car not starting and making a clicking noise. Your starter is what controls the mitigation of power to your engine during the startup process. When you insert your key into the ignition to crank your car, this is the starter at work.
If your starter is faulty, your engine will not be able to crank properly due to not receiving the proper amount of power from the starter. Drivers will generally hear only one click when encountering starter issues, as opposed to the rapid clicking noise that battery and alternator issues produce.
Why Is Car Not Starting And Making A Rapid Clicking Noise?
If your car is not starting and making a rapid clicking sound, your problem likely stems from battery or alternator issues. Rapid clicking indicates that the starter in your car is working properly and that there is some issue regulating the power from your battery to the rest of your vehicle properly.
A dead battery caused by a faulty alternator could be the root of your issues. You could also be experiencing general battery issues caused by leaving your lights on for a long period of time, or due to an old, faulty battery.
Why Is Car Not Starting And Making A Single-Clicking Noise
If your car is not starting and only clicking once when you turn the key in the ignition, this indicates a problem with your starter. Your vehicle depends on the starter to properly crank up the vehicle. If this component is not functioning correctly, you will likely not be able to power on your vehicle until you get it fixed.
This is one of the more frustrating problems to encounter, as the repairs associated with a faulty starter can be quite expensive. The next part of this guide will focus on the costs associated with the different issues mentioned above.
How Much To Repair A Car That Doesn’t Start And Makes Clicking Noises
You can expect to pay between $160 to $575 to have your car that is not starting and making clicking noises diagnosed and repaired at a mechanic. Your overall cost of repairs will depend heavily on the type of issue that is causing your car to not start properly and make clicking sounds.
The list below will break down the costs you can expect when dealing with the issues listed earlier in this guide. You can use this to help better estimate the cost of your repairs once you have accurately identified the root of your issue.
Cost To Fix Battery Issues Causing Your Car To Not Start And Make Clicking Noises
If you are experiencing battery issues with your car that are causing it to not start correctly and make a clicking noise, then you can expect to pay around $215 to have it fixed. That being said, if your battery has simply died, you should attempt to jump-start it using another vehicle. This can save you money on a battery replacement.
If your battery has simply reached the end of its lifetime, you can expect to pay an average of $165 for a new one. If you install the battery yourself, you will only incur the cost of the battery that you purchase. If you decide to take it to a mechanic to be replaced, you can expect to pay an average of $50 for labor costs.
The table below contains some of the best car batteries that you can purchase and their price and power rating information. You can use this guide to help you pick the best battery replacement for your vehicle.
|Everstart Maxx||640||$100||61 pounds|
|DieHard Gold||850||$199||54 pounds|
|Braille Lightweight||715||$215||64 pounds|
|Odyssey Extreme||850||$250||49.5 pounds|
|Optima RedTop||720||$256||31 pounds|
Cost To Fix Alternator Issues Causing Your Car To Not Start And Make Clicking Noises
If you are experiencing alternator issues that are causing your car to not start correctly and make rapid clicking noises, you can expect to pay around $650 to have it repaired at a mechanic. Unless you have extensive experience working with cars, it is not advised that you attempt to service your alternator yourself.
You can find the alternator components online for an average cost of $115 to $280, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Labor costs associated with an alternator replacement will come to around $415 to $560.
Alternator replacement is a rather extensive process, which accounts for the high labor costs associated with it. The table below contains some popular vendors and their prices on alternators. You can use this information to better determine where you will find the cheapest price for your new alternator.
|Vendor||Avg. Alternator Price|
|Advanced Auto Parts||$172|
Cost To Fix Starter Issues Causing Your Car To Not Start And Make Clicking Noises
If you are experiencing issues with your starter that are causing your car to not start correctly and make a single-clicking sound, then you can expect to pay an average cost of $550 for repair at a mechanic. If you have the proper knowledge and experience, is it viable to replace your starter at home on your own.
You can purchase the starter component for your car for an average cost of $145. The labor cost associated with starter replacement or repair is around $175 to $435. The process of repairing or replacing a starter is an extensive one, which accounts for the high labor costs associated with it.
The table below contains some popular vendors and their prices on starters. You can use this information to better determine where you will find the cheapest price for your new starter.
|Vendor||Avg. Starter Price|
|Advanced Auto Parts||$105|
This guide has provided you with all of the information you need to accurately identify and resolve the issues that are causing your car to not start properly and make a clicking noise. Use the information provided for you here to help ensure that your car is always functioning properly.
I’m Anthony King, a systems integration, automobile technician & automotive expert who earned his bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I worked on pioneering technologies from the beginning of his career.