turn ignition

Why a Car Won’t Start and Clicks When Turning Ignition

What Kind of Clicking Does the Car Make?

Have you ever been puzzled by the strange clicking noises your car makes? It can be a cause for concern, but fret not—we’re here to help identify the source of the noise and suggest possible repairs. Here’s a comprehensive list of various clicking noises your car might produce, along with insights into what each noise could signify.

1. Rapid Clicking Sound When Starting the Car:

If you hear fast clicking noises when attempting to start your car, it’s likely indicative of a faulty battery. The battery might have enough charge to activate the starter motor but not sufficient power to start or crank the engine. This issue could stem from a defective battery or a malfunctioning alternator, causing constant drainage. Jump-starting may provide a temporary fix, but if the alternator is faulty, a battery replacement is often required.

Car Battery:

A subpar or dead battery, characterized by weakness or complete depletion, fails to provide sufficient and stable power, potentially leading to a malfunctioning starter motor.

Battery Cable:

Issues with the battery cable, such as a loose connection, can disrupt the smooth flow of power from the battery to the starter motor.

Battery Terminal:

Electrical complications arising from a corroded positive or negative terminal impede the transfer of electrical current from the car battery. Additionally, a blown fuse link on the battery’s positive terminal has the potential to interrupt the flow of the entire electrical system.


A malfunctioning alternator may inadequately recharge the battery, contributing to potential power supply issues and impacting the overall performance of the electrical system.

2. Single Click When Starting the Car:

A single click during startup is a clear sign of a bad starter. The starter, a motor connected to the battery, uses electric power to initiate engine ignition. While starters are generally durable, those in cars with over 50,000 miles may require replacement. If the starter is faulty, even a functioning battery won’t start the car. Check the starter first if you encounter clicking noises during startup.

Not Enough Engine Oil:

When your engine doesn’t have sufficient oil, it creates too much friction and heat. This can make parts of your engine stick together, causing problems.

Engine Sits Idle:

If your engine doesn’t get used often, it can collect rust. This rust buildup can make your engine get stuck and stop it from starting.

Engine Gets Too Hot:

When your engine gets really hot, the liquid fuel can turn into vapor in the fuel system. This leads to low fuel pressure from the pump and can make the engine stall, or stop running.

3. Clicking Noise When Turning a Corner:

Clicking sounds while turning may indicate an axle problem. The constant velocity axle, linking the wheels to the car’s transmission, allows for wheel movement. A clicking sound often results from a torn shaft boot on one of the constant velocity axles. Timely repairs can prevent extensive axle damage and save on repair costs.

4. Clicking Noise When Slowing Down:

Clicking sounds while slowing down or braking may suggest a faulty brake pad. When a brake pad isn’t securely fastened to the caliper, it becomes less responsive, causing an irregular movement and generating clicking sounds. Replacing the affected brake pad is the solution, addressing premature wear and tear issues.

5. Mechanical Noise in the Engine and Clicking Noise:

Running the car with low engine oil levels can produce clicking noises. Regularly check and maintain proper engine oil levels to avoid potential damage. If oil is dirty or coagulated, it won’t provide adequate lubrication, leading to consequences similar to low oil levels. Address any leaks promptly and consult a mechanic for necessary repairs.

These insights should help you better understand the clicking noises your car might make and empower you to communicate effectively with your mechanic. Stay informed to ensure prompt and accurate resolution of any issues that arise.

Common Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start


Battery Drained:

A drained battery is one of the most frequent culprits for a non-starting car. This can happen due to lights left on, a faulty charging system, or an aging battery that no longer holds a charge.

Loose or Dirty Battery Terminals:

If the battery terminals are loose or covered in grime, it can hinder the flow of electricity from the battery to the rest of the car. Regular maintenance to clean and secure the terminals can prevent this issue.

Faulty Alternator:

The alternator is responsible for recharging the battery while the car is running. If the alternator is malfunctioning, it may fail to supply sufficient power to the battery, leading to a drained battery and difficulty starting the car.

Failed Ignition Switch:

A faulty ignition switch can prevent the starter motor from receiving the necessary electrical signal to crank the engine. If turning the key results in no response or sporadic starting, the ignition switch may be the culprit.

Common Indicators of a Failing Ignition Switch:

Difficulty Turning the Key or Abnormal Noises:If you find it challenging to turn the key or notice unusual sounds when trying to start your car, it could be a sign that the ignition switch is on the verge of failure.

Dashboard Lights Not Illuminating: When turning the key in the ignition, if you observe that the dashboard lights fail to illuminate, it may indicate a potential issue with the ignition switch. This lack of response can disrupt the normal starting process.

No Clicking Noise from Starter Motor: A silent starter motor, devoid of the usual clicking noise during attempts to start the engine, can be a red flag for a failing ignition switch. The absence of this familiar sound suggests a lack of electrical engagement in the starting system.

Persistent Engine Start Issues: If your engine consistently refuses to start, even after multiple attempts, the ignition switch may be at fault. This scenario points to a disruption in the electrical signal needed to initiate the engine’s ignition process.

Failed Fuel Pump:

The fuel pump is crucial for delivering fuel to the engine. If it fails, the engine may not receive the proper amount of fuel, leading to starting issues. Symptoms include difficulty starting, sputtering, or stalling while driving.

Clogged Fuel Filter:

The fuel filter ensures that clean fuel reaches the engine by filtering out impurities. Over time, it can become clogged, reducing fuel flow and causing starting problems. Regular replacement of the fuel filter is essential for optimal engine performance.

If your car is experiencing starting issues, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified mechanic to diagnose and address the specific cause. Routine maintenance and timely attention to these common issues can go a long way in ensuring the reliability of your vehicle.

If you begin hearing clicking noises while driving or, more concerning, encounter clicking sounds during attempts to start your car, it’s a signal to consider a visit to the mechanic.

Regrettably, as outlined in this article, certain repairs can incur substantial costs, especially if they involve significant damage. When faced with repair estimates exceeding $1,000 or more, the question arises whether the investment is worthwhile. In such cases, an alternative approach could be selling your non-functional car to a reputable junk car buyer like YourCarIntoCash. This option allows you to part ways with your broken vehicle, avoiding the financial burden of extensive repairs and providing a more practical solution for your situation.