Clicking noise when trying to start car


New Member
May 19, 2003
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I went to start my car and went throught the usual ritual of starting and dying 3 times until it stays running. This time after the second time the selinoid just clicked. I have full power from the battery. I have one of the button wires that connects to the selinoid and the battery. I tried this and still just a clicking noise...Is my starter bad or the selinoid? What other test can I do? I

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SN Certified Technician
Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
No Crank checklist for 5.0 Mustangs

Since some of the tests will bypass the safety interlocks, make sure that the car is in neutral and the parking brake is set. Becoming a pancake isn’t part of the repair process…

Check battery, terminal connections, ground, starter relay switch (also known as solenoid) and starter in that order. The clamp on with 2 bolts battery terminal ends are a know problem causer. Corrosion gets in the clamped joint and works its way up the wire under the insulation. Avoid them like the plague...

A voltmeter is handy if you are familiar with how to use it to find bad connections. Measure the voltage drop across a connection while trying to start the car: more than .5 volts across a connection indicates a problem.

See Automotive Test Tools for help for help troubleshooting voltage drops across connections and components. .

1.) Will the car start if it is jumped? Then clean battery terminals and check battery.

2.) Check the battery to engine block ground, and the ground behind the engine to the firewall.

3.) Jump the big terminals on the starter relay next to the battery with a screwdriver - watch out for the sparks! If the engine cranks, the starter and power wiring is good. The starter relay is also known as a starter solenoid.

4.) Then pull the small push on connector (small red/blue wire) off the starter solenoid (Looks like it is stuck on a screw). Then jump between the screw and the terminal that is connected to the battery. If it starts, the relay is good and your problem is in the rest of the circuit.

5.) Remember to check the ignition switch, neutral safety switch on auto trans and the clutch safety switch on manual trans cars. If they are good, then you have wiring problems.

Typical start circuit...
Diagram courtesy of Tmoss &Stang&2birds

See for 88-90 year cars
See for 91-93 year cars.
See | Vehicle Selection - Year for 94-98 model Mustangs

6.) The starter may be hung, loosen up the bolts that hold it on, and give it a good whack with a big hammer. Tighten up the bolts and try again.

7.) Pull the starter and take it to AutoZone or Pep Boys and have them test it. Starter fails test, then replace it. If you got this far, the starter is probably bad.

Starter solenoid wiring for 86-91 Mustang

Starter solenoid wiring 92-93 Mustang or upgraded high torque mini starter.


New Member
Jan 18, 2009
Lay a screwdriver across the solenoid posts on your driver side inner fender. That will tell you


Active Member
Aug 22, 2004
Jersey Shore
or just pop off that little push on wire and put juice to that little stud and if it clicks and stays and the starter doesn't go it's prob shot, or you got a bad connection or cable to the starter.