When I turn the key to my car, I hear clicking but it doesn't start. But when I jump it, it starts right up??

Its the battery. The clicking noise you hear is from the starter solenoid, which isn't recieving enough power to turn over your motor.

Battery; 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 Years Old or looks Swollen (Internally Shorted) on the Sides Replace It, if it looks good remove and Fully Charge it then have it "Load Tested" for 15 Seconds at 50% of CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) not dropping below 9.6 Volts during the Test showing you IF the Battery Will Take and Hold a Charge, Fails, Replace. (If the Battery is "Internally Shorted" that is one reason it won't hold a Charge.)

What are the Condition od the Battery Cables?

Alternator; "Load Test" it to make sure you are getting the Listed Amperage Out Put, low Amps means Bad Diode(s) and it will Drain your Battery.

How long since you've checked your battery? My battery ended up to be leaking acid, so it didn't hold a charge. I ended up geting a new battery.

Whithout knowing the year, make and model, the most common thing would be a bad starter. You could also have a hydrolocked engine caused by a blown head gasket, and water in the engine cylinders. Next time add a little more information. Several times a day, someone asks a very similar question to your's. It's very helpfull to include a little more information in your question to help us, help you, in your times of trouble. Some of the simple things to include in your question is: 1) Year of car. 2) Make of the car. 3) Model of your car. Those three things can help us narrow down known issues with particular vehicles that have certain problems that occur on a regular basis. (ie. recalls and such) Next, If you could give a more detailed explanation of what is happening when you turn the key to start your car. Here are some ideas: 1) Nothing happens? (dead battery?, loose battery cables, or it's not in "park" all the way.) 2) You hear a "click", but nothing else? (loose battery cables, bad starter, bad starter solenoid, or broken engine) 3) You hear the starter turning, but the engine doesn't turn? (low battery voltage, bad starter or bad ring gear on flywheel/flex plate) 4) The starter turns the engine, but the engine won't start up? (out of gas, bad fuel pump, plugged fuel filter, broken timing belt, no spark) 5) The engine turns over, but very slowly. (weak battery, worn starter, out of engine oil) 6) the engine turns, but there's an awful banging noise? (something is broken inside the engine) Lastly: What happened last time you drove it? 1) Drove home fine last night, just won't start today? 2) Was driving fine, and it just died on you? 3) You haven't driven it in a while. It's been parked in storage? I like to say: "The better the question, the better the answer"

check several things. Your battery is dead, thats why your car starts after you jump it… but it might not be, it could be that there is build up on your terminal or your terminal is loose. If you battery is dead, it could be because of your alternator. The way to figure out whats wrong is to call you auto parts store and see if they do electrical tests on cars to see if you battery is getting a charge. If so, drive there and have them test your car. Usually theyll jump start your car too if it wont start. Or, you can see if they have an alternator tester. If so, remove your alt and take it to them…. the easier way to figure it out is to turn your car on, while the car is on, disconnect your battery. If you car stays on after you disconnect your battery, then you have a bad battery or terminal. This means the car stayed on because the alternator was giving electricity to you car instead of you battery. Of course if you car turns off when you unplug the battery, then your alt is bad. Good luck.

Sounds like the battery. Get that checked first. It's cheaper to replace a bad battery than an alternator. A battery shop can check the battery for you.


i suspect the starter because of the clicking!

Ahh Batteries! The ticking time-bomb of every car.

Lets do a little Automotive 101 for Batteries.

The first thing to check is your connections. If the connections are badly corroded or loose they need to be cleaned and tightened. In either case, clean the connections and tighten them, then check the level of the electrolyte in side the battery. If this can be serviced then add DISTILLED WATER to the cells to return them to their proper levels. After this is completed, then place the battery on a charger over night on a trickle charge for 12 hours.

The other option is to remove the battery and have it tested at your local parts house. In either case if the battery will not hold a chargem it needs to be replaced.

Do not be ready to condemn the Alternator, based on what you are saying, the vehicle runs after its jumped. This means the alternator is working. If it were not, and the battery was bad too, the car would not run, or would only run for a short period of time.

Now for a little Battery 101.

The average lifespan for a car battery is 3 to 5 years. This is because most people do not take proper care of the battery to begin with. I average about 7 years, but I will get into why next.

People really neglect this part of their car. When I was turning wrenches, I can't count how many vehicles would come into the shop with "Fuzzy Terminals". They would come in for "Hard Start" or "No Start" or "Start then shut-down", head lights dim when the stereo is on or when the windshield wipers were turned on. Head-lights would burn out quickly, or tail-lights the same thing.

When the connection at your battery is corroded, this causes the entire electrical system on your vehicle to have to work twice as hard to get the same job done. Clean connections at the battery are key to having a healthy electrical system on the rest of your vehicle.

So I will give you some tips from the trade. Keep the connections at your battery terminals clean and free of corrosion. DO NOT purchase those little felt washers and use those. The chemical that is used on them, can wick up between the terminal connections and act like an insulator preventing a solid connection. Instead clean the connections with your terminal brush and use a product by Permatex called Battery Terminal Sealant.

This material will coat the terminals with a waterproof coating that will create a barrier for acid and corrosion.

If you need to repair a battery cable, don't buy the connector repair kit. Doing this allows acid to wick down the wire to your starter or frame and cause more damage. So replace the cable entirely.

Keep the battery clean and free of dirt and debris. You can do do this with just plain water and a light detergent. Just be sure to completely rinse the area.

If there is excessive corrosion on the battery tray during your replacement, use baking soda and water in a mixture and apply it to the tray and surrounding area taking care not to get this on your battery, (old or new). It will render the battery useless as this will neutralize the acid compound.

If the area has exposed metal, I would suggest re-priming the area and spraying a new coat of paint over it to prevent additional damage, and to seal it up from any more acid exposure.

Plan on replacing the battery about every 3 to 5 years. Look for signs like the starter being a little sluggish getting the engine to turn over after it has been sitting over night. The head lights diming slightly when you turn on your radio or turn signals. These are all signs that your battery may be starting to fail. Also get a good quality battery. Interstate makes some of the best replacements on the market, and do not hesitate to get a better battery that has more Cold Cranking Amps. This is a benefit for your alternator because it will not have to work as hard should you add the Big Boomin Stereo. ­čÖé

Finally, keep your drive belts checked and changed. This is important because if the alternator cannot produce the necessary voltage and amperage, it cannot charge your battery properly, and when you are fueling up, don't hesitate to have a look under the hood. This is a great time to catch any problems with your car before they turn into a really expensive repair.

I hope I was able to help you out. Good luck!

Dead battery. Either the battery does not hold a charge that it is getting when the engine is running which could be from old age or other damage, or it isn't even being charged.

The starter solonoid will make this clicking noise if there is not enough power to rotate the engine.

Check the battery terminals and tighten them if they are loose.
Cleaning around the terminals can help, but there is often battery acid around the top of the battery.
You shouldn't mess with this if you don't have experience.
Have the battery checked- many auto parts stores will do this in the car for free.

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