Car issue
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Thread: Car issue

  1. #1
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    Car issue

    Okay... I need some help. I drove back from Des Moines tonight and my car was running just fine. We stopped at a park to hang out, and when I got back in, the battery was dead. I'm pretty sure I did not leave any lights on. So, we hooked up jumper cables and attempted to start it up, but it wouldn't start. It would make the clicking noise, but would not start up.

    Does this sound like I just need a new battery, or is it a more serious issue, like the alternator?



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    Re: Car issue

    Could be anything. Alternator, bad ground, bad battery, bad starter. Go to one of the auto parts stores, and they'll evaluate it for free. That's what I do.


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    Re: Car issue

    Yeah could be any of those three if I had to guess though I would say the starter. If you know what it looks like you can take a piece of wood like a 2x4 and a hammer place the 2 x4 on the starter then take a hammer and wack the wood a couple times and try to start it. If it starts it was the starter.



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    Re: Car issue

    First check the cables connection to the battery, then the selenoid.



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    Re: Car issue

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclonewino View Post
    First check the cables connection to the battery, then the selenoid.

    Also check the cables themselves. I had a similar issue on my truck last fall and it ended up being a rusted/rotted/fried cable.

    I didn't notice it right away since the cable was wrapped in that corrugated plastic sheathing. I only looked at it after I had spent the time to bench test the starter and taking the battery to get checked.

    Good luck.



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    Re: Car issue

    Any visible corrosion around battery terminals or frame ground? If so clean them. How old is battery? If it's exceeded it's life it may be the culprit.
    Phaedrus has your options listed.



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    Re: Car issue

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclonewino View Post
    First check the cables connection to the battery, then the selenoid.
    That's what I'd do for sure. If one of the cables is loose or there is a lot of corrosion, it can stop the flow intermitently. Try wiggling or whacking the connections on the posts and then try to start it. If the posts or clamps are pretty bad, you can get a tool to clean both for not a lot of moola.


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    Re: Car issue

    Corrosion was always my problem back in Iowa. Just had to clean the connector and the terminals and all was good again.



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    Re: Car issue

    Was the battery actually dead or is that what you are guessing because the starter was clicking? Do the lights work? dome light come on? If they do then it is probably corrosive battery cables. If they don't work either, then it is either bad battery or alternator.

    Take the battery out and take it somewhere so they can load test it. If it fails you need a battery, if it don't you might need an alternator.

    When you said you tried to jump it but the starter was still clicking. Like said above, it could be some cables needing cleaning or replacing. Or it could be a dead spot on the windings of your starter. If it is that you don't have to get under the car and beat it with a hammer or piece of wood. Just keep turning the key while it clicks and by doing that you can hopefully advance the starter past the dead spot where it will engage the starter again. The post above about putting a piece of wood and tapping it with a hammer does the same thing only you don't have to crawl under the car by turning the key.



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    Re: Car issue

    The lights wouldn't come on or anything. The battery was completely dead. Which is real weird because I stopped and started the car like an hour before and it worked perfectly.

    The lights would turn on when I hooked up the jumper cables, but then when I tried to start it, it would just do the clicking noise and not start.



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    Re: Car issue

    Quote Originally Posted by ianoconnor View Post
    The lights wouldn't come on or anything. The battery was completely dead. Which is real weird because I stopped and started the car like an hour before and it worked perfectly.

    The lights would turn on when I hooked up the jumper cables, but then when I tried to start it, it would just do the clicking noise and not start.
    You could have a short?

    Did you put a voltmeter across the battery terminals?



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    Re: Car issue

    I did not use a voltmeter, don't have one. I'll go out this afternoon and check the cables.. I'm not sure really what to look for because I am not very knowledgeable about cars.

    The thing that puzzles me is that it was so sudden. I usually drive my car about every day and it has been starting up great for me.



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    Re: Car issue

    Quote Originally Posted by ianoconnor View Post
    I did not use a voltmeter, don't have one. I'll go out this afternoon and check the cables.. I'm not sure really what to look for because I am not very knowledgeable about cars.

    The thing that puzzles me is that it was so sudden. I usually drive my car about every day and it has been starting up great for me.
    If you go from apparent full power to zero in an hour, it sounds like more than just the battery. Even a weak battery should be able to run the lights.

    And when you're jumping the car, the clicking noise could mean that the starter wasn't getting enough power to engage the solenoid and turn the engine over - and that shouldn't be the case when jumping a car. Did you have lights when you were jumping the car - and were they "full power"?

    (I'm no mechanical expert, but given that the power dropped away that quickly...)



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    Re: Car issue

    If you didn't have anything at all I would bet it is the battery. Take the cables off the battery and make sure the contacts of the cable and the post on the battery are clean and you can also scrape the contact points with a knife, file, or a battery post cleaner. Once you have the cables off, there should only be a bolt or two to loosen the battery so you can take it out. Go to any automotive store and they will load test it and can tell you in less the 5 minutes if the battery is shot or not. And yes, they can fail that quickly.



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    Re: Car issue

    Make sure that you are using a top quality set of jumper cables. I've seen weak batteries jumped with cheap cables with nothing happening. The same setup, using heavy cables that weigh about 3 or 4 times more than the cheapies, immediately fired up the stalled car.



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