Good battery, no power, jumpstart turns on lights but won’t start car

Hi everyone,

I have a weird situation. My truck wouldn’t start today. It was totally dead. Hooked up cables to a running car, and I get dash lights and headlights and all seems all good. As soon as I turn the key, I hear one click and everything‘s dead. If I remove the cables and put them back on I get power again, but as soon as I turn the key, one click and everything‘s dead again.

I took the battery out and had it tested at 2 places and it came back good both times.

Any ideas?

Battery power is not reaching starter? What controls solenoid? Or ignition switch? In this equation.

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Clicking sound is probably starter solenoid actuating, so start signal is likely reaching starter motor. One possibility, starter solenoid contacts failing, and new starter motor required. Before doing that, ask shop to make sure voltage at starter motor is at least 10.5 volts with key in “start”. Both the big wire and the little wire. Probe between starter connector and starter case.

Another good shop test for this situation, before first start of the day battery should measure about 12.6 volts; then immediately after starting engine, 13.5 - 15.5 volts.

I expect however that a replacement starter motor is in your future. If so, suggest to use an oem or oem equivalent. Problems w/ after-market starter motors pretty common report here.

You need a better set of cables. Mine, for example, are 4 gauge. The lower that number, the more current they will carry…

If the vehicle has the side mount terminal design, peel back the rubber cover from the positive battery cable to check for corrosion.




Like others have mentioned, you have a bad connection to the battery somewhere in main power line. Clean the battery connections up using a battery post cleaning brush. If that doesn’t help, then look for internal wire corrosion in the wires tied to the posts and problems further down the cable.


Thanks everyone. After taking the battery in for testing, I reinstalled it and tightened down the post connections real good. The intermittent power issue is gone. I guess I wasn’t getting a good connection at the battery.

However, the truck still won’t start. When I turned the key, I hear one click and nothing happens. Most likely the starter then? Other ideas?



Change both battery cables.

Is the click you hear a starter solenoid click or is it possibly an underhood relay click?

You might check and clean the cable connections on the other ends. The year model is not stated and the ones underneath the battery at the main fuse could be the problem. Battery and battery tray have to come out for access.
Not a better place to locate cable ends… :wink: