If by "clicks" you mean rapid click, click, click real fast, that's a sign of not enough current reaching the starter. Could be a shorted cell in the battery, discharged battery, dirty or loose terminals on the battery, or corroded cables. If the headlights stay bright when you hear the clicking, the battery and connections are not the problem. Check the cables on the engine block and the starter terminal for corrosion, in particular, the wire strands inside the insulation.
If you hear just one loud clunk and the headlights stay bright, you have worn contacts in the starter solenoid. This is a very common problem with the Nippensenso starter. Contacts are around $15.00 for the pair and can be replaced by a competent do-it-yourselfer. There's a couple of ways to verify this. One involves a voltmeter or test light, the other involves a heavy jumper wire.
Sometimes jumping your car from another one, (with the engine running), or from a battery charger, the starter will work because the solenoid is pulling in harder due to the higher voltage. Pulling in harder helps the contacts make better connection, so the starter cranks. This is only temporary because the contacts will continue to wear away.
Holler if that sounds like what's happening and you and you need help making the measurements.
Friday, April 3rd, 2009 AT 1:57 PM