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Help, my 2004 Santa Fe won't start

So I bought this car new in 2004. We love it, since aside from oil changes, we have not needed to do any repairs. Today I washed the car and detailed it, leaving the doors open for a few hours. When I went to start the car, it just made this clicking sound and the engine didn’t turn. I don’t know if it is the battery because all the lights, sounds, radio, displays in the car are working fine. What could this be and should I try to fix it myself since I am currently going through my own personal recession. Thanks!

I would say that you have about a 99% probability that the problem is the battery. Car batteries begin to fail at a higher rate once they are 5 years old and your battery is at least 5 years old, assuming that it is the original one. You should be aware that lights, radios, and most other accessories draw far less current than the vehicle’s starter, and it is not uncommon to have sufficient power for lights, etc, but to not have sufficient power to turn the starter motor.

Don’t feel too bad about having left the doors open for a few hours, because if the current draw of the interior lights was sufficient to kill the battery, the battery would likely have failed within a few days anyway. This way, at least you have the relative convenience of having the car die in your own driveway.

If you are a Costco member, I can tell you that the Costco $45. battery is the same unit as the $75. Sears Diehard battery. Of course, you do have to install it yourself. If you are not a Costco member, then you can get a very good quality battery from Wal-Mart.

But, just to explore all possibilities, check to see how much corrosion is present on the battery’s terminals. If you see corrosion, try cleaning it off with baking soda and water, and then try jump starting the engine. There is a slight chance that this will be sufficient, but bear in mind that a 5 year old battery is due for replacement anyway.

Thank you so much for your response. I will have the battery checked out. I did try to jump the car to no avail. I gave it juice for about 5 minutes then tried to start it and it still wouldn’t budge. You are right, it is most likely the battery…

And, if you are a AAA member, their road service people will do a load test of your battery and if necessary, will install a battery right in your driveway.

While I don’t know exactly how much they charge for the “AAA Battery”, sometimes the convenience is worth the extra cost. And, their batteries are made by Johnson Controls, the same company that make Interstate, Sears, Costco, and many other brands of batteries. Johnson Controls manufactures very good quality batteries.

If the battery is the original one you most likely are looking at needing a new battery. Also clean the battery connections in case there is some trouble there. Even if they look ok corrosion can be a problem sometimes.

To “clean the battery connections”, you have to disconnect the battery cables and use a wire brush, or sand paper, or knife to remove the corrosion from the area of the cable terminals and battery posts which contact each other. Apply petroleum to the cleaned areas and re-connect.