No crank or click "NO START"
WARNING: When a battery gets low on water, there is the possibility that as the
battery is asked for a lot of power to crank the engine, an internal short may occur and
that spark will ignite the gasses inside the battery and cause it to explode.
You see, a spark under water can't ignite anything. If the battery fluid level is above the internal battery plates and the spark occurs at or near the plates, the spark will occur under the fluid level and shouldn't cause an explosion.
When your car won't crank over and start, which is far different than cranking but not "catching" or starting, you can help the tech find the problem if you know what to look for. Many times, you will hear just a click, then nothing. If the car then starts on the second try and you drive it directly to your repair shop, the tech will not be able to find and fix the problem as long as the car starts and runs just fine. We simply can't find and fix something that is not there when we are looking. And everyone knows the minute your car gets within a mile of your repair shop, it will refuse to act up, no matter how many times it has that day!
When your car won't crank and just clicks or does nothing, turn on the headlights and see what color they are:
Headlights are white and bright --- This means the battery has 12 volts or so but it does not tell us if the battery is capable of providing the amps necessary to turn the starter over.
Headlights dim or out --- First quickly touch each battery cable connection at the battery. If either one is warm to the touch, that indicates a bad connection. Wiggle, push and pull the battery cables back and forth and see if the headlights come on white and bright. If the headlights come back on and as you hold the cable to one side or another, have someone try and start the car. More than likely, it will start.
HINT: Work towards white and bright headlights first. Even if you can't get the headlights to shine white and bright by wiggling the cables or ends, then you might next try to jump start your dead battery.
HINT: If the starter is bad and you hit it with a hammer a couple of times, the starter will almost always work and the engine will start.
Here is the correct jump start procedure:
Red normally = positive or power or hot!
Black normally = negative or ground or any steel bracket.
Correct jump starting procedure calls for hooking up both positive cables first, then the dead car's negative cable and the good car's ground cable to a good ground.
1. Hook up the positive (red cables or clips or whatever color you pick of the two colored cables) jumper cable to the good car's positive battery terminal.
2. Hook up the same colored cable used in step one and clip it to the dead car's positive battery terminal.
3. Hook up the ground (black cables or clips or whatever color you pick of the two colored cables) jumper cable to the bad car's negative battery terminal.
4. Last, hook up the same colored cable used in step three and clip it to the good car's alternator bracket, a good metal bracket or any steel bracket on the A/C compressor. DO NOT hook up the ground jumper cable to the battery negative terminal and here's why:
As you connect three of the four jumper cable ends, you have not yet completed the circuit. But as you connect the fourth and last jumper cable end, the circuit will be completed and if there is a spark, it will occur during the last jumper cable hook up. We want the spark to occur as far away from the "bad" battery as possible so it can't ignite the gases around a bad or dead battery. That's why we always hook the last negative jumper cable to a ground as far away from the bad or dead battery as possible.
Here's a few more clues you can get by watching the headlights while trying to start your car:
Headlights begin white and bright, when you try to start the engine, nothing happens, no clink, no crank and the the headlights don't change or flicker one bit. This usually means the power sent from the key through the neutral safety switch to the starter solenoid is not getting there.
Headlights begin white and bright, when you try to start the engine, nothing happens, no clink, no crank and the the headlights do flicker a bit. This usually means the power is getting to the solenoid and it isn't passing the power on to the starter. That would mean the solenoid is bad.
Headlights begin white and bright, when you try to start the engine, they dim to nothing or almost nothing then SLOWLY come back up to white and bright. This usually means the battery is bad and incapable of handling a huge request for power to crank the engine over.
Headlights begin white and bright, when you try to start the engine, they dim to nothing or almost nothing then as soon as you let go of the key, the headlights QUICKLY bounce back to white and bright. This usually means the starter is bad or the engine is locked up.
Copyright ©1997-, Mark Salem, Salem Boys Auto, All Rights Reserved