Car won't fire

Tiny
XENO
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 PLYMOUTH NEON
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
My daughter's '98 plymouth neon intermittently won't
start. There is also a distinct clicking noise from under
the dash that gradually gets faster. The battery is 2yrs.
old. I pulled out the headlight switch and no headlights.
the clicking also stops when switch is pulled out.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 9:49 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sounds typical of loose or dirty battery cables. Don't try to wiggle or fix anything yet. You don't want to temporarily fix the problem before you know what it is. If you have a test light or voltmeter, turn the head lights on when it won't start to insure there is current trying to flow. Measure the voltage right on the battery posts, then on the battery cables. If the voltage drops significantly when you move the probe to one of the cables, that's the one that must be cleaned and tightened.

If you still have good voltage on the cables, move one probe from the negative cable to a clean paint-free place on the body or a clean bolt and measure there. If there's a red cable that bolts to the under-hood fuse box, measure there too by moving the meter or test light lead from the positive cable to the fuse box. Check that nut too to see if it's loose.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 AT 11:03 PM
Tiny
XENO
  • MEMBER
Thank you for replying to my question. The battery cables are indeed tight and free of corrosion. I put my meter on the battery posts and showed good voltage. The headlights will not turn on. The starter does not make any noise. All I hear is that clicking noise under the dash. Car will not start with a jump. While the clicking noise is going on, the display on the car stereo lights up in time with the clicks. This is so twilight zone. Wtf?
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Thursday, February 10th, 2011 AT 3:39 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do the rest of the tests. Voltage is being lost somewhere. The two most likely places are where the ground wire is bolted to the body and where the positive wire is bolted to the fuse box.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, February 10th, 2011 AT 3:47 AM
Tiny
XENO
  • MEMBER
Caradiodoc, I took your advice and re-checked the positive cable. The brass eyelet that the cable is crimped to had rust on it. Took some sandpaper to it and hooked it back up. Turned the key and nothing happened. Pulled the headlight switch out and the lights came on. Turned the key and it fired up! Important lesson people- just because there is no visible corrosion doesn't mean there is a good connection. Thanks caradiodoc, you rock!
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Friday, February 11th, 2011 AT 9:34 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
All right. One in a row! Happy you got it going.
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Friday, February 11th, 2011 AT 9:46 PM

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