1999 Caravan with a Click or Clack when you attempt to start it

We were told that the problem is the starter solenoid however not sure it’s that simple. We have a 1999 Dodge Caravan with an attitude. It seems to start when it wants to. Sometimes it turns right over. While other times when you turn the key it clicks each time. It’s not a dead battery click. You can attempt this for 5 minutes or longer sometimes. Finally it will start. Also of note: it seems to start better when you turn the key and the bell begins to ring. This also does not occur all of the time (the bell). Also sometimes the engine sounds like it wants to turn over but does not until a few (or 20) more attempts. My brother thinks it may be the starter solenoid. But I am not so sure because as I said some days or times it starts no problem. Also it makes no difference if you drive it 5 minutes or 50 if you turn off the car it may or may not go through the clicking episodes. We are concerned that it may be something else stemming from it being stolen last year. The ignition was replaced, and the collision shop which I had used previously (under a different owner) did a less than stellar job. Please let us know what your opinion is. Thanks

If you are hearing a pretty loud click that is coming from the starter solenoid then either the solenoid contacts are worn, the main battery cable to the starter has a problem or the battery connection is a problem. You always want to clean the battery connections when this kind of thing happens. Even if they “look ok”.

What you describe sounds exactly like the symptoms of a starter that is dying. I would replace the starter.

Open the hood. Have someone turn the key to START. Is there a single click from the starter solenoid each time the key is turned to START? If the starter solenoid does have a strong, single click, for each turn of the key to START, I’ll go for a faulty starter/starter solenoid. If the starter solenoid chatters, troubleshoot the wiring and switches back through the ignition switch.
This critter is a suspect: (click on this link:) http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm?pageId=0900c1528003c7a1