My Auto Start/Stop Makes A Clicking Noise – Why? What To Do?

The auto start/stop system is a great solution to saving on fuel when stuck in the middle of traffic. However, if you suddenly hear a clicking noise from your car when you start the engine, it's a sign that something is wrong. Luckily, we scoured the internet and have the answer below!

Here's why your car's auto start/stop system makes a clicking noise and some steps to resolve them:

  • Battery Issue: Jumpstart the engine and if it starts, drive to the nearest auto shop for a battery recharge or replacement.
  • Loose Cables: Check for any loose connections and tighten them securely.
  • Corrosion: Clean the affected area and check with a multimeter before firing up the engine.
  • Faulty Starter Relay: Call for a professional to determine if it is defective. Purchase a replacement if needed.
  • Engine Failure: Call an auto shop to tow your car and have it undergo inspection and repair.

In this article, you will learn what you can do after hearing your car make those clicking noises. You'll also find out whether or not the auto start/stop system does more harm than good and vice-versa. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

Why Does My Auto Start/Stop Make A Clicking Noise?

You should not ignore such noise, whether it's a singular audible click or multiple clicks at once. This is your car's way of telling you that something is wrong.

Below are just some of the most common reasons:

Luxury car engine start and stop button, My Auto Start/Stop Makes A Clicking Noise - Why What To Do

Battery Issue

The first thing that comes to mind when your car starts producing a clicking noise is something wrong with the battery. Among other reasons, this is quite obvious since your car can't fire up the engine.

This happens when you forget to turn off or disconnect a device inside your car. It will drain your battery until empty.

So, if you notice that your car is difficult to start first thing in the morning, it can easily die in the middle of traffic with your auto start/stop system enabled.

Luckily, this is a fairly common issue, and as such, it's not too difficult to resolve.

Jumpstarting the engine is enough to give your car the extra juice it needs to start moving. Then, drive it to the nearest auto shop to have a professional inspect whether your vehicle needs a battery recharge or a battery replacement.

Check out this battery on Amazon here.

Loose Cables

Sometimes, the battery is completely fine. Instead, the clamps connected to the battery could have loosened up. This could happen when you're driving down a particularly bumpy road.

Tangled car wiring and connectors

Or, if you just had a new battery placed inside your car, the installation was spotty. Always check if the clamps and wires are tight and secure to ensure everything is in working order.

Without the proper connections, your engine won't start.


Another common issue that results in producing a clicking noise is corrosion. Generally, this occurs in batteries two years old and higher.

The battery acid starts leaking into the metal terminals, corroding them. When that occurs, it weakens the current flow, reducing the power needed to start your car.

Typically, disconnecting the cables and cleaning out the much is more than enough to resolve this issue. For more stubborn cases, sandpaper can help remove impurities. Use a multimeter to check afterward.

Check out this multimeter on Amazon.

Faulty Starter Relay

One of the more commonly replaced parts of a car is the starter relay. And for a good reason, as its purpose is to keep the engine running.

As such, it goes through a lot of wear and stress with each engine's ignition. So if you hear multiple clicks, it's a sign of something wrong with your car's starter if everything else checks out.

When that happens, immediately call a professional to help you inspect the problem further. In some cases, it's just a defective battery that needs replacing.

But in most cases, you will need to replace your car's starter relay.

Engine Failure

Picture showing muscular car service worker repairing vehicle.

Last but not least, if you keep hearing a single loud clicking noise each time you start up the engine, it's a sign of something much bigger. Not enough lubrication is this scenario's most common cause of engine failure.

However, if there are other symptoms like an oil leak and overheating, this could immediately become a serious issue. As such, it's always best to take your car to a professional immediately to avoid having a seized engine.

So, if you're in the middle of the road, call a nearby auto shop to tow your engine and have your car engine undergo a check-up.

See this lubricant on Amazon here.

What To Do When Auto Start/Stop Makes A Clicking Noise

The first thing you need to do is not panic and assess the situation calmly. Then, listen carefully to the clicking noises your car produces every time you start the engine.

If you can hear multiple clicks, the issue lies mainly with the battery and its connection to the rest of the cables and clamps.

But if all you can hear is a singular click each time you start up the engine, you're either looking at a faulty starter or an engine failure.

For the former, you can easily change recharge the battery and change it out to help resolve the issue. Clean out any gunk from the cables and clamps as well. As for the latter, it's best to take your car to a professional.

Can Auto Start/Stop Systems Damage A Starter Relay?

Mechanic man holding standard relay switch of the car for checked, repair and maintenance

As mentioned earlier, the starter relay is responsible for firing up the engine and keeping it moving. Because of that, they go through a lot of wear and tear.

And with the constant ignition caused by a car's auto start/stop system, you might think that it does more harm than good.

However, car manufacturers have already thought this through. Their solution is to create a sturdier and more robust starter that can withstand the constant ignition of the engine.

As such, the damage done by the auto start/stop system is roughly the same as any other car due to its enhanced starter. With proper yearly maintenance, it's not something you need to worry about.

How Much Gas Does An Auto Start/Stop System Save?

With the auto start/stop system, you can achieve between eight and fifteen percent in fuel savings. However, this number fluctuates based on several different factors.

For one, you need to consider the area where you live. If traffic jams are an everyday occurrence, you'll save money on fuel every year.

But if you barely experience any traffic during your everyday drive, you can barely feel the benefits of the auto start/stop system.

So, if you live in a highly urbanized area where you often leave your car engine idling in the middle of a traffic jam, consider keeping the auto start/stop system active.

Those few minutes will eventually add up to bigger fuel savings.

Does An Auto Start/Stop System Decrease An Engine's Lifespan?

In most cases, it does not. Your car's engine is warm enough to handle the constant ignition.

You'll only have to worry about the engine wearing out if you're in traffic for an extended period.

If enough time passes by the point where your car's engine goes cold, it's possible to accumulate enough wear and tear through the auto start/stop system to decrease the engine's lifespan.

But if you can't handle the constant engine ignition each time you come to a complete stop in traffic, you can permanently and temporarily disable the feature.

Most manufacturers included the disable function for drivers who aren't too keen on their engine shutting down every time they come to a stop.

Can You Permanently Disable An Auto Start/Stop System?

Car start stop system with finger pressing the button, horizontal image

While the auto start/stop system is a huge boon regarding fuel savings on highly congested highways, that's not always the case for everyone. Therefore, those rarely encountering traffic jams see this feature as more of an annoyance than a benefit.

And add in the fact that you need to disable this feature each time you get inside your car can get pretty frustrating. Currently, car companies do not include a permanent disable feature on this system.

However, there are third-party products that allow this to happen.

They are usually plug-in devices that send an electronic signal to your car's system. By doing this, you can turn off your auto start/stop feature and keep it that way unless otherwise.

So, if you're not a fan of the auto start/stop feature, you can easily buy an eliminator online. And, they're not an expensive buy as well.

If your auto start/stop button starts flashing on its own, then it's something that you need to look into immediately.

Luckily, this post will tell you all about it and more: Why Is My Start/Stop Light Flashing?

To Wrap It Up

If your car's auto start/stop is working and you suddenly hear clicking noises, don't fret.

Instead, take a deep breath and check under the hood first to see if the connections to the battery came loose or if something went wrong with the engine.

Then, take it straight to the nearest auto shop to have the issue resolved so as not to cause any further damage to your car.

And while we have your attention, check out these related articles below:

Ford F150 Auto Start Stop Not Working; What To Do?

How To Disable Auto Start/Stop In A Toyota Highlander

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