What to do if you hear a clicking sound from under the hood
The starter is the source. Singular clicks and unresponsive engine mean that the starter gearwheel teeth are desperately hitting the ring-gear teeth unable to mesh.
How to get the car going in this situation?
Keep trying to engage the starter. A gear may move a bit and eventually mesh with the flywheel. If it didn’t help, try shifting into direct drive, get out of the car and push it forward at least a little. The flywheel will then offset a little and maybe starter gearwheel teeth will finally mesh with ring-gear.
Many drivers often begin pounding the starter viciously with something weighty, striving for a small offset of the starter gearwheel teeth from this improper position. This may help as well. If this issue keeps appearing, the best solution would be replacing the starter.
When starter clicks are repetitive, but to no effect – this probably means the battery is run-down. There’s enough amperage for gearwheel to get moved towards the flywheel, but not enough to mesh them. Charging the battery is the most reasonable choice in that case. Should this issue appear again within the next few days, either the battery condition should be checked or the generator and charge relay should be checked for correct operation.
It is the batteries that fail most often – three to four years lifetime is considered acceptable. Battery check is a very simple procedure. Allow the battery to be charged with current intensity equal to 10% of the battery capacity and keep an eye – if within an hour or two the battery begins boiling (no pun intended, the electrolyte inside literally starts to boil), feel free to replace the battery. Even if it starts boiling in three to four hours of charging – it still needs to be replaced. If the battery pulls it off after eight hours of charging, switch your attention to the car. It is either a short circuit discharging the battery, or the charging current is too low. Or, alternatively, the driver absent mindedly keeps some power consuming equipment on for a whole day.
How to get home or to the server if your car battery is dead?
A manual transmission car can be “push-started”. To “push-start” a car, you need to get it moving by any means possible: use a little bump from your friends, push it downhill, rope it on to another car, etc. As soon as the car is cruising, start up the ignition, press the clutch, shift to second gear, gently disengage the clutch, allow the engine to start, helping with the gas pedal a bit. As soon as the engine starts, immediately press the clutch, shift out of gear. Wait a little to make sure that the motor is operating steadily.
If you own a car with a manual transmission and your car battery is dead and you haven’t purchased a new one yet, I recommend you parking the car in places that have notable inclination. The car then can be push-started without assistance. If you prefer a car with automatic transmission, or the manufacturer warns against push-starting your car, the only remaining option would be to ask someone for a “jump-start”- getting the engine started using someone else’s battery.
So, there are three methods to “jump-start” the engine from someone else’s battery.
A lethal one. Without further ado, connect your and someone else’s batteries using special wires with clips, positive to positive and negative to negative, then start the engine. With this option, the giver car is usually effectively knocked out of action, as when the second battery is connected and the starter is engaged with the engine already running, a power outage occurs and the on-board computer of a giver thinks that a short circuit just happened. After that it either locks the system, prompting for a visit to the service station, or records the error into the memory and once again is prompting for a repair, albeit in a less pushy manner.
A humane one. Shut off the giver car’s engine, connect its battery to yours using the wires, after which start the engine, disconnect the battery terminals…. and this time, due to the tension drop, a power outage happens with your car. Although, in 95% of cases it has no consequences.
A rational one. A giver car connects to yours, starts the engine and charges your battery by wires for about ten minutes (this period is usually sufficient to accumulate the charge required to start the engine). Then the giver shuts off the engine, disconnects the wires and you start the engine in the usual safe manner. With all its rationality, the latter method is used least often, because of its longest time required. Which method to choose to share the power is up to you to decide responsibly.