The clicking sound you hear while trying to start your Fiat is a common occurrence that frustrates many Fiat drivers. It is an indication that your car needs some attention. Usually, you will hear a single click or multiple clicks when your engine fails to start. There are various causes for this, some that you can temporarily fix to get you started and others that will require you to call for immediate assistance from professional mechanics familiar with Fiat.
Before we delve deep into discussing what causes the clicking sound, let’s understand the basics of how ignition works.
Your Fiat’s Ignition
The ignition switch allows low battery power to flow to the starter relay/solenoid and to the engine control module. The relay then sends full battery power to the starter motor. This engages the pinion gear that spins the flywheel. The flywheel turns the crankshaft, causing the pistons to move and compress the air-fuel mixture.
The engine control module meters the right amount of air and fuel into the cylinder and prompts the spark plugs to fire, igniting and starting your engine.
The Usual Causes of clicking Sounds
Low or dead battery
A low or dead battery is the most common reason there’s a clicking sound during ignition in your Fiat. Typically, your car’s battery should read 12.65 volts or at least 12.45 for it to start. When you hear a rapidly repeating clicking sound, your battery has just enough to run the starter motor but not enough to crank the engine.
The low voltage causes the starter motor to turn on and off. As the starter motor does that, the teeth of the pinion gear clatter against the flywheel and produce the clicking sound. If you experience this, call for help to jumpstart your Fiat and head to a repair shop immediately for further inspection. If your car won’t jump start, call for assistance or to tow it to our repair shop.
The alternator provides electrical power to the battery. If it fails to provide the necessary voltage output, it can cause a clicking sound every time you start the car. The only solution to a faulty alternator is to replace it.
Corroded or loose terminals
Another reason your Fiat makes a clicking sound when you turn the ignition key could be that the battery terminals are corroded or loose. In this case, the power from the battery is restricted and is not enough to crank the engine. You can always look for any loose connections and retighten them. Similarly, clean any corrosion on the terminals. However, remember that you might not get everything right if you are not a trained mechanic. Therefore, it is best to get your Fiat inspected by qualified mechanics.
Faulty starter motor
When the starter motor in your Fiat is faulty, it will not crank the engine. What you will hear is a clicking sound without the engine turning up. Your Fiat’s starter can last anywhere from 30,000 to 200,000 miles. However, it can be damaged prematurely by a faulty triggering mechanism or due to factors like harsh weather and engine conditions. In this case, the starter motor will have to be inspected by a professional and replaced.
A faulty solenoid will cause your car to produce a single click due to high electrical contacts within the starter portion. This interferes with the ignition circuit.
Various causes can lead your Fiat’s engine to seize up. It could be that the engine has been sitting for too long, it is hydro-locked, or even vapor locked. A seized engine may need a rebuild. This can only be handled by experienced mechanics well versed with Fiats.
Corpus Auto Service is Your One-Stop Shop
Now that you know what causes that frustrating clicking sound when turning your ignition key, it is time to reach out to Corpus Auto service. For more than 35 years, Corpus Auto Service has been servicing European vehicles around Portland, Rockport, Aransas Pass, Calallen, and Corpus Christi areas of Texas. Our experienced technicians are determined to return your Fiat to its perfect functioning glory and provide you with tactics to avoid future problems. Call us today!
* Fiat Car image credit goes to: Multiart.