Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

My car is having trouble starting

I drive an Infiniti i30. When I bought it, the guy who sold it to me told me that the car runs great but that I would have to turn the key kind of hard to get the car started. Over time, this problem has progressively gotten worse. There have been times where I’d be stuck in a parking lot for over an hour trying to get the car to start. When I turn the key, I can hear the starter clicking, and all of the dash lots and radio will come on but the car doesn’t sound like its cranking or even trying to start. The weirdest thing is that the first time I drive my car in the morning it starts up just fine. It’s once I turn the car off after driving somewhere and try to start it again that I have problems. I’ll have to turn the key 100 times or more sometimes to get it to start if its not the first time of the day. I have absolutely no idea what this could be please help!

You could have multiple problems. The clicking indicates that the starter is not engaging because of bad contacts, or weak battery. If you tell us the model year and mileage we may give you a more definitive answer.

The key having to be turned “hard” likely means you would soon be due for a new ignition lock.

Take it to a competent auto electric shop and they will first test the batter, then the starter and the ignition lock.

Hopefully it will not cost you too much, but don’t be surprised if it comes to $200-$300 or so.

It does sound like you need a new solenoid for your starter. These days you usually have to buy a new starter assembly to get one, but chances are, if you did get a new solenoid only, something else in the starter would soon give out. I’d try a lock lubricant for the ignition key, but not the graphite type. If the graphite got into the switch part, it would short out the contacts.

When you say you hear the starter clicking, do you mean a rapid clicking coming from under the hood, or a single click coming from inside the car? If it’s the latter, then the contacts on the ignition switch might be bad - when you turn the key, it’s enough to get to the part that tells the car to turn off most accessories to give as much power as possible to the starter, but the contact that actually tells the starter motor to work is not being engaged.

Rapid clicking. 98 i30