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My car won't start after sitting for a few months

Hi… I have a 2001 honda civic. Its been sitting for a few months, and now it won’t start. The battery is fine (radio, lights come on just fine). It tries to turn ( kinda does a “wrr wrr” sound) and stops, and then it makes a clicking sound. What do I do? I was thinking about using starter fluid to help it start. Any suggestions??

I bet the battery is weak, or the battery connection is loose/dirty. Have you tried cleaning the battery connections? Jumping it?

No, the battery seems to be strong to me… It sounds more like a fuel line issue

A strong battery won’t ‘wrr wrr’ for a short period, then ‘make clicking sounds’. If the engine is not turning over, the starter is not getting enough current. How long will it ‘wrr wrr’ for?

You posted a classic description of a run down battery; “It tries to turn ( kinda does a “wrr wrr” sound) and stops, and then it makes a clicking sound.”

The battery can have enough power to make your lights go on and play the radio, but it takes a lot more juice to crank the starting motor. Your battery needs a charge.

Ok, I will try jumping it…

"No, the battery seems to be strong to me… "

It seems to me that you are wrong.

Very little electrical energy is needed to power the radio, and only a bit more is used to power the lights. The starter, on the other hand, draws more current than anything else on the car. After sitting for a few months, your battery (like most batteries would be at that point) has enough power left in it to take care of the low electrical-draw accessories, but not enough to turn the starter over fast enough to start the engine.

Everything that you described makes it clear that the battery is extremely weak. While it is possible that you also have a fuel delivery problem, a fuel delivery problem would not cause the starter to stop turning and it would not cause you to hear clicking from the starter solenoid.

I would suggest that you begin by removing the battery from the car, and trying to have the battery recharged. This might not work if the battery is too old, and/or has been too heavily discharged, but it is worth a try. If that does not work, then you will have to buy a new battery, unfortunately.

I strongly suggest that you NOT have the engine jump-started.
If you do that without first charging the battery, you will put such a heavy load on the alternator as it tries to recharge the almost dead battery that you will likely kill that expensive alternator.

Next time that you are going to leave the car sitting for several months, either put a trickle charger on the battery to keep it powered-up, or have somebody start the engine once every 2 weeks or so, and then have them drive the car for about 45 minutes. Just sitting is bad for the battery, but starting the engine and just allowing it to run for a few minutes is even worse, so consider that 45 minute drive to be an essential part of the process.

I have had this car for about 6 years now, and this is the first time it has not started (other then me leaving all the lights on all night and it going completely dead). I thought it was something else when all my electronics came one with no problem… My trusty rusty!

How old is the battery? If it’s more than 3 years or so, you might just want to replace it.

Ok… Where can I go to have the battery charged? Will pep boys or auto zone do it?

I thinks so, give them a call.

Any service station (not a gas-only station) can recharge your battery.
However, if this is the same battery that went dead at least one time previously, you might as well just buy a new battery.

Chances are the battery is toast, they will do a battery check for free, I do not know about charge, but it would be a good time to clean the connectors on the battery posts and ground and starter motor also, as I assume you will be putting in a new battery. A battery tender might not be a bad idea for you.

I concur w/the others here. The battery is acting like it isn’t fully charged or is bad. You might try recharging it w/ a battery charger if you have one.

Harbor Freight has inexpensive battery chargers, and they have a gadget that tests the battery under load. I usually take my battery to Sears if I’m not sure if it is good or not. My local Sears Auto will do a battery load test for free. They charge it up first though, so you may have to leave w/them for a couple hours.

“Where can I go to have the battery charged?”

Have them test it. If the battery is OK, all you need is a jump start, then drive around for an hour or so. Your battery will charge itself. You may need a new battery, and the test will tell you that.

Advanced Auto Parts charged and tested my battery free of charge.