Car: 2000 Toyota Tacoma
Location: Hayward, CA
About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with several physical problems of which one was Neuropathy. I lost feeling in my lower legs/feet and hands. I had no strength at all; I couldn’t even turn the key to start the car. I went on permanent disability.
At that time I started taking the bus and BART. When I gained strength back in my hands and some in my feet I started driving again. About 2 years ago when the price of gas started skyrocketing I felt that with my now limited income that it would be easier/costlier and environmentally responsible to just rely on public transportation. I gave my car a complete tune up including replacing all the fluids. I had the wheels balanced and the front end aligned then I parked it. Since then I have barely driven it but usually I start and run the truck every Friday for about 20-30 minutes.
This week I went out to start it and all it does is give me a rapid clicking noise. It does not turn over at all. I don’t have a battery indicator on the dash so I can’t see what the charge level is at. What I can say is that the headlights work, the radio works but I can’t run both at the same time. I don’t know what the problem is and with my disability income I can’t really afford to have major work done on it but if it is as simple as just getting a jump I can have AAA come out and take car of that.
Any suggestions are welcome.
The battery is dead. You can get a jump and that will start it, but that won’t guarantee it will start next time. If you haven’t kept the battery on a trickle charger those 3 years, it’s life may be over and replacement required.
The battery is probably no good. The worst thing in the world that can be done to a battery is allow it to sit idle.
When a car is not being used this means the alternator is not charging the battery, and this in turn allows it to do what is called “sulphate”.
Eventually it reaches a point where charging will not do any good.
You need to consider something like a Battery Tender, which is a small output charger that will maintain the battery charge during long spells of non-use.
Hope that helps.
The problem you describe is the classic low battery indication as the other have stated already. If the battery is the original one that came with the car when it was new it is certainly in need of replacement. Even a second battery would be near the end of its service life.
If you can have someone put a bttery charger on it you may be able to drive it to a shop then and have the electrical system checked out. Cleaning the battery connections should be done also. Even if they ‘look ok’.