Is your car feeling blue? Here’s expert advice on what to do when your engine won’t start

Dear Mike,

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to seek your expert advice on my car. Recently, when I turn the key, instead of starting up, my car just clicks. I have tried jumpstarting it, but it doesn’t seem to help. Could you please tell me what the most likely issue could be?

Your prompt response would be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and expertise.

Best regards,


Dear Ainsley,

Thanks for dropping me a message. It seems like your car is feeling a bit down and out of energy. Just like us humans, sometimes our trusty vehicles need a boost. But if jumpstarting didn’t work, it’s time to investigate a bit further.

Based on your description, it sounds like there could be an issue with your starter motor. This is the gizmo responsible for getting your engine going – turning the crankshaft and starting your engine. As you already mentioned, when you turn the key, instead of hearing your engine roar to life, all you hear is a click. That’s your starter motor making a valiant effort to fire up your engine but failing to do so.

As I mentioned before, it’s always important to test your battery as a significant percentage of starter motor problems are battery-related. However, you’ve already ruled out the battery by jumpstarting the car, and it still didn’t help. So now it’s time to dive deeper into the starter motor.

Let’s get technical for a minute. There are two main parts to the starter motor: the primary motor and the solenoid. The primary motor turns the crankshaft and starts your engine, while the solenoid engages the drive gear and closes the primary motor’s electrical contacts. So when you turn the key, or press the start button, the solenoid engages the drive gear with the flywheel, which then spins the engine over and starts it up.

Now, the most common sign of a starter motor problem is when you press the start button and nothing happens. No noise, no nothing. Nada. Zilch. If the engine doesn’t turn over – and your battery is working fine – it is possible that the primary motor or solenoid has burned out. This could be causing your problem with the car not starting up.

Another symptom of a faulty starter motor is hearing a clicking noise when you turn the key but the car doesn’t start. This sound can often be attributed to a damaged starter relay. And if you hear a whirring sound and the starter is “freewheeling”, it means the starter motor is incorrectly engaging the flywheel. When this happens, it’s best to bring your car into your local garage as soon as possible to investigate.

So, in summary, it seems likely that your starter motor is on the fritz. The only way to know for sure is to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop. Our team here at Urban Automotive in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, would be more than happy to take a look at it for you. Our Google reviews speak for themselves – we’re a top-rated shop for a reason!

Don’t worry too much, Ainsley. We’ll get you back on the road in no time. Remember, cars need love and attention too, and we’re here to help.

Yours in car wisdom,

Mike Urban