Car makes one click when I turn the keys but car won't start

Asked by Jan 06, 2015 at 08:32 AM about the 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The car has 87K miles on it. Here are the symptoms:

When I turn the keys everything works (lights, radio, dash etc.)
But when I turn the key, all I hear is one loud click but car wont start
So far the car starts after trying 2-4 times
Also after car starts and has been driven for a while (10 mins) this problem goes away. Its only when I haven't started the car for a while, this happen.

I'm sure its not the battery or terminal connections because both were replaced just over a year ago. Also, I have never accidentally drained this battery since being put in. All my cables are also in impeccable shape. I'm original owner and I have never misused the car. The only things I can think of as being the problem are:

1. Bad ignition switch or ignition  (least likely)
2. Bad/dirty starter solenoid  (likely)
3. Bad starter motor (likely)

The only thing that throws off me being sure of the problem is the fact that the car starts up like a champ after its been driven for at least 10 minutes and the engine is still warm (like say 1-2 hours after first starting the car). Yesterday I had a DR appointment and I had started the car up one and a half hours before the appointment.

The problem with the clicking happened initially (car hadn't been driven for 9 hours at that point). But when I was going to the DR an hour and a half later it started with no problems. It also started with no problems half an hour later when I left the DR. That night (11 hours since last start) it happened again and this morning (10 hours since last start) too. Just to test out my theory of it starting after being driven I turned the car over twice this morning after driving it and it started up perfectly.

If anyone has an idea of what they think the problem is, I would really appreciate it. Thanks

2 Answers

24,825

You might have a new battery, but that doesn't mean your battery is providing full voltage to the starter. After driving is for a while, the battery is charged and able to provide 12V to the starter solenoid. After parking it for a while (10-12 hours) the battery might have been drained by a parasitic drain and unable to provide 12V to the starter. You might want to perform this test and see if you have something draining the battery when the car is off --- http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic-Battery-Drain

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
10

Car: 2007 Honda Accord, 108k miles, 2nd Owner, Fall/Winter - Battery replaced a few months ago - No sign of corrosion on the battery - Takes a few tries to get the engine to turn as well - Once the engine starts it runs absolutely normal I've been running into the exact same issues as you are. I initially thought it was a dead battery so I tried to jump starting it with no luck. So today I was having the same issues as well and after some research, I used a hammer to tap on the starter a few times thinking it might be a loose starter solenoid. I realized that I've been having this issue during the Fall/Winter season and checked my antifreeze/coolant and found out that it was very low and might be the cause of the engine freezing up. Then I drove it around for a few blocks hoping that the coolant would be distributed. The car seems more responsive, normally before I put the coolant in it would take about 4-8 attempts to turn the engine and now it only takes a few times to turn over. I just tried this today so I'm not exactly sure if this is the exact solution or not but I hope it helps you and anyone else with this issue! Good Luck! - K.S.S.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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