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Daniel, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 5064
Experience:  Ford Technician
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What is wrong when my car? Dash lights come on but won't start

Resolved Question:

What is wrong when my car won't start and the key turns and the lights on the dash come on but it wont turn over and actually start?

Year: 2000
Make: Ford
Model: Focus

Already Tried:
Battery fuses, pouring coke on corroded battery terminal connector.

Submitted: 7 years ago via OnlineAutoRepair.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Daniel replied 7 years ago.

Is engine turning over with starter but not running or is it just clicking or not doing anything at all?

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
Its clicking and the meters on the dash go a little crazy when I turn the key

danny :
Fast click or just one click?
And has jumping with battery cable to another car helped?

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
Multiple fast clicks, its trying to start but won't finish so to say

danny :
Then battery is down how good are you with mechanics?
working on changing parts

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
not good at all, what do you think it is?

danny :
I think this is the battery if you can find someone with jumper cables to give you a jump let it run for a bit. if it doesn't die then your alternator is good and you can go to the auto zone for a free charging test. if it is the battery they will probably change it for you.

If it dies after you take cables off of it could be a bad alternator or fuse to charging alternator.

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
But my car's air wouldn't turn on at all or the dash wouldn't light up if it was a battery problem?

I just replaced the alternator

danny :
If they put new alternator in with a low battery and didn't charge it up it could have ruined new alternator. but lets say it is good. I would worry about starter connections if you are sure battery is good, which those things can still work but not be strong enough to turn motor over. Make sure all connections are taken off and cleaned and tighten back up nice and tight. from battery to battery ground and starter cables and alternator wiring. something may have come loose. If you get a jump and car stays running then your alternator is still good to go. if you go to auto zone they wont leave you stranded they can test battery and see if its good. if it is still good then its the wiring or cables dirty. they can jump you again if you need to and you can take it to a garage or try to clean these cables and connections your self.

lots of clicks means not enough power to turn starter over. one click means starter is bad. Starter can still be bad but not likely. If motor is worn then it could take to many amps to turn it. but usually its the solonoid on the starter. that's the one click you here and nothing

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
Its multiple fast clicks, the dash and air would stay on if I kept the key in and I noticed if I turned on the headlights everything dims in the car including headlights. So I'm sure the battery is not the problem?

danny :
Then it is probably connections needing cleaning - from battery terminals to starter cables.

when is the last battery you put in it?

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
Its done it before but I would just nudge the wires around at the battery terminals and it would work. I have one connection to the battery terminal that is corroded a bit, so I poured a little coke on it.

its from may or june

danny :
ok good you will need to take battery cables off and use sand paper on post and terminals that should get you going for now but you may need a jump after ward still because with loose and dirty connections the battery may have gone down to much not charging like it should. they should be so tight you cant move them

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
I can't move them now, and I mean my car has been working with a semi corroded battery terminal connector for over a year

danny :
Somewhere from battery posts to terminals to wire going into terminals to starter there is a fouled connection that can be tight but they have to be clean also they can get fouled on there own just tarnishing.

get those clean and tight and you will be good to go

JACUSTOMER-miavc101- :
Thank you. I just need to learn more about cars, and maybe I wouldn't get stuck like this

danny :
wires going into terminals may be bad also may need new terminals on battery cables

you're very welcome

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