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New Battery - Still Won't Start!

i have a 2004 dodge neon. 2nd owner. it wouldn’t start the other day & just made a clicking sound. i thought i smelled burning rubber when trying to start it. i mentioned to my husband the day before while driving that i smelled something burning. the lights did work. my husband took the battery out to have it tested at wal mart. they gave him the print out & it said a cell was bad. we bought a new battery there. husband installed it & started up fine. did not drive car. queue to one day later. car does not start again. lights & radio work. it’s obviously not the battery since now it is brand new & still won’t start. did wal mart snow me on the new battery? should i have kept the old battery & something else is wrong? never have had any other trouble with this car ever. thanks for the help!

New batteries can be weak or bad. So don’t rule that out.

It sure sounds like a bad battery or something in your electrical system is drawing it down so that it does not have enough juice to start.

Make Sure That Burning Rubber Smell Isn’t The Belt That Runs The Car’s Alternator!

Also, check both the ends of the cables, positive and negative, at the battery and starter, and engine/body ground. That smell could be smoldering insulation from too much resistance in a cable. Corrosion or loose connections could be it. You may even be able to see something smoldering.

You didn’t waste any money on a new battery if that was the original. Don’t worry about that. I don’t think they “rig” the test. It’s easier to change on your schedule and not the side of the road, somewhere.

It is typical of this situation to get working lights and not working starter because of the much higher demand from a starter than from lights.

If You Have Jumper Cables And A Little Competence You Can Try …

jumping from the battery to a good clean engine ground and then try starting it. Next you can do the same with the positive terminal to the starter or where ever the cable goes, if access is possible and you can get on it without shorting to ground. It’ like using the jumpers as battery cables. That might help tell you if a cable or connection is bad.

sounds like a faulty starter motor to me!

Stephen, You Certainly Could Be Right !
We’re trying the cheapest, easiest things first, here. We hope it’s not the starter.

thanks for all the suggestions!
when my husband gets home from work we are going to get started on probing this issue.

Does it still click when you try to start it? If so, I’m with Stephen, I’d suspect a bad starter.

When you start the car, a solenoid on the starter assembly slides the starter motor gear into engagement on the flywheel ring gear. It also connects two contacts that energize the starter motor circuits, causing the motor to spin and turn the engine over. Those contacts spark every time they engane and can get toasted with time and become intermittant. The clicking would be from the solenoid engaging the mechanism, the lack of further activity from the fried contacts not energizing the starter motor.

I agree also with Common Sense with all of his points, but I suspect you’ll ultimately find you need a starter assembly.

By the way, don’t be hard on the shop. An intermittant problem of this type can be impossible to find at a shop unless it acts up when the car is being looked at.

Maybe your new battery wasn’t fully charged when you received it? Maybe you have a high residual drain on your new and old battery. One sure way to tell if your alternator is stopped working, is to have a volt meter hooked anywhere in the car. Cig. lighter, on the battery itself, etc. If the voltage goes up to around 13.5 when the car is running, the alt. is fine. If the voltage doesn’t change from static to running, the alt. is shot. It could be several things besides a bad starter. A 2004 starter shouldn’t have worn out already unless the car has had the starter used quite a bit more than normal.

Same thing happened to me last year. After using up all four of my AAA visits and buying a brand new battery, come to find out it’s the battery CABLE… Make sure they tighten it up well, too; the wires slipped out on me after this and brought my car to a dead halt on a two-lane country road (with no AAA visits left)… Thank heavens I was within cell-phoning distance of a friend willing to come rescue me…

Please Let Us Know What Has Happened

Did it get checked out? What were the results?