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Old 08-16-2010, 02:50 PM
 
Location: lake zurich, il
2,943 posts, read 2,300,693 times
Reputation: 972

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My car is a 2003 Chevy Cavalier, and it has 98,000 miles on it. For the past week when I go to start my car (I start it just about everyday) when I turn the key it sounds like the engine is about to start but instead it makes a rapid clicking noise. I then stop turning to the key because the car isn't starting an immediately try again and it always starts fine on the second try, without any clicking. While I'm driving I have no problems with the car (as far as I know). Just wondering if anyone could fill me in on what this might be. Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:56 PM
 
3,698 posts, read 9,983,909 times
Reputation: 2593
[LEFT]Engine does not crank:
When you turn the key to start, you may hear a single click or nothing at all, or you may hear a rapid series of clicks, like a woodpecker, or you may hear the cranking sound, but it goes very slowly. The most common cause for any of these is either a weak or dead battery, or a dirty or corroded connection to the battery. Before you go any further, turn your interior light on, then try to start the car. If the light is dim or goes dim when you turn the key to start, then Click here to find out what to do when you have a dead battery.
If the interior light is bright when you turn it on and doesn't change when you turn the key to start, the battery is probably ok. This condition can be caused by the following: (this list is sorted from most likely to least likely)[/LEFT]
  • [LEFT]You do not have the transmission selector in park or neutral on an automatic transmission vehicle or there is a problem with the neutral safety switch. Try starting again with the transmission selector in Neutral.[/LEFT]
  • [LEFT]You are not depressing the clutch pedal all the way down on a standard transmission vehicle or there is a problem with the clutch pedal switch.[/LEFT]
  • [LEFT]There is a problem with the ignition switch or connecting wiring.[/LEFT]
  • [LEFT]There is a problem with the starter motor or starter solenoid.[/LEFT]
[LEFT]My car won't start, what should I do?[/LEFT]
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:35 PM
Status: "Hope is a walking dream." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Still in Portland, Oregon, for some reason
864 posts, read 2,981,383 times
Reputation: 691
Sounds like you need a new battery.
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
Reputation: 35864
I was going to say starter. If it was the battery, it wouldn't start the second time, either.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,388 posts, read 42,713,043 times
Reputation: 11470
To what's been said already, I can only add maybe check the connections of cables to battery, maybe take them apart and clean, check the ground wire where it screws to the block or transmission.

If the battery is an "open" type, you can sample the acid, either with a "real" hydrometer, or just a floating-ball one.

Could be bad connections, bad starter solenoid, battery getting weak, weak battery could just be old, low on water, or could point to alternator problems.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:27 PM
 
3,071 posts, read 7,443,271 times
Reputation: 1619
Yo.. take it by autozone and have the battery checked..Sounds like the classic weak /dying battery problem to me.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:27 AM
 
6,368 posts, read 13,346,010 times
Reputation: 5858
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nativechief View Post
Yo.. take it by autozone and have the battery checked..Sounds like the classic weak /dying battery problem to me.
And whatever they tell you...do the opposite.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:52 AM
 
3,190 posts, read 4,129,220 times
Reputation: 1016
Always begin looking for a problem with the most obvious and the easiest things...

Pop the hood and look at your battery terminals. Jiggle them to see if one is loose. Visually inspect them for any corrosion. Obviously, if you see corrosion, disconnect that terminal and brush it clean with a wire brush. You can also clean off corrosion with a mixture of baking soda and water. Optimally, once it's nice and clean, apply dielectric grease to the terminal post and connection and tighten it down again. If it's simply loose...tighten it!

Now if you are still getting the clicking, have the battery checked to see if it's holding a strong enough charge. You can also get an idea by turning on the headlamps with the motor off and seeing if they are bright or a bit dim.

If the battery checks out OK, then your problem is most likely a starter solenoid going bad. Unfortunately, GM's solenoids are integral with the starter itself and cannot be replaced by you. It'll require getting a new/rebuilt starter or taking your car (or just the starter if you have the mechanical ability to remove it) to a starter and alternator shop to allow them to rebuild it.

There's a possibility that it could be a combination also.....a battery getting weak and not holding a charge PLUS an alternator that isn't charging like it should.
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