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Starting problem: Battery, Starter, or Solenoid?

The car, a 2007 Corolla CE, was purchased brand-new and driven off the lot on december of 2006. It now has 53,000 miles. The battery is the original OEM and according to the label, was made by Johnson Controls.

Today I had some trouble starting the car. The first time, it made a rapid clicking sound, it sounded electrical. I thought, “maybe it’s the battery,” so I turn the key towards ‘ACC’ and then turn on the fan at full power. It works fine, didn’t feel weak at all. The dashboard lights were at full brightness, did not seem dim at all! I try to start the car again, it made the rapid clicking sound again for about 10 seconds, but eventually I hear the engine cranking but VERY SLOWLY, it sounded like it was struggling but finally the car starts!!!

I drive the car home with the intention to research the topic further.

Some hours later, I try to start the car again. This time, no rapid clicking but it would struggle to crank and it cranks very slowly, taking perhaps 15 seconds for the car to finally start but it does!

So, is it the battery?

Why it might NOT be the battery:

1. Car started just fine yesterday. Do batteries just fall off the cliff? Wouldn’t deterioration be gradual rather than sudden?

2. After struggling to start the car, I turned on the fan and the radio and both worked fine–at full strength! The dashboard lights appear bright and vivid. Dim dashboard lights often indicate a depleted battery.

3. Battery is not that old.

So, is it possible for a battery to be able to power the fan and other accessories perfectly well but NOT be able to crank the engine? Or, is that a paradox?

Battery is old enough to consider it normal life. Batteries can fail in a number of ways.

So, is it possible for a battery to be able to power the fan and other accessories perfectly well but NOT be able to crank the engine?

Certainly. Starting is very high amps, much more than anything else the battery must handle. OEM batteries are seldom bad, but they are seldom top line. How many people think about the battery when they buy a new car.

My guess

  1. Battery
  2. contacts need cleaning - Both at the battery and at the other end of all the battery cables.

A bad battery can certainly be the source for your symptoms. Get a jump start if needed and stop by a parts store that does free battery tests. If you have a gauge on the dash you can tell if the charging system is operating properly.

Johnson controls are the best batteries, walmart, sears, and batteries plus carry them. Does sound like a bad battery. Time for a new one

Try turning on the headlights while you run the starter. If the lights get really dim, this is a good indication that the battery is on its way out. The fan requires much less power than the starter motor as do the other accessories. The fan may require 10 amperes where the starter motor requires 150 hours. The battery may have no problem in providing 10 amperes at 12.6 volts, but is unable to provide 150 amperes at 12.6 volts.

I replaced the battery with a Costco group 35 battery produced on 10/10…

the car now starts fine but unfotunately it now idles low (at around 400rpm when normal = 800rpm) and the car shakes and shudders…

any ideas??

thinking back, I may have reinstalled it by putting the negative terminal first THEN the positive, when i’m told it should be the reverse, could this have caused damage?

Shaking and shuddering! :frowning:

I am sure the shuddering is from connecting the battery in the wrong order. You now will have to find a postive ground car and slowly crash your car into it (10mph will be fine) this will fix all the damage you did by connecting the cables in the wrong order, not so sure about getting the bodywork repaired though.

you kid, you kid…

You computer lost it’s programing when you took out the battery. You may just need to drive it so it can re-learn.

that makes sense but i’m quite surprised that the engine idle speed isn’t already-set and needs to be “learned.”

any idea why such a design?