By October 29, 2006 2 Comments Read More →

Car Won’t Start but Battery Tests OK

Hi I hope you can help me. Here is the story. A few days ago I tried to start my car but when I turned the ignition nothing happened no clicks nothing. I did notice that only the oil and battery lights were on not the park light and when I turned the ignition all went off. I thought the battery was flat but it turned out to be fine after getting it tested. I put it back but still had the same problem so I called a mechanic who said he would come by the next day. I gave it another try before he came round and it started hmm. He took the car anyway and said he could find no fault.

I have since noticed that my headlights are a lot dimmer than they used to be and the wipers seem slow as well, in fact so is the air conditioner fan. Also noted that on first start up the rev counter jumps and revving the engine seems to make the lights and fans lose a little power for a moment. The mechanic and I are stumped and I am scared it s going to die when I’m away from home. The car is a 94 model Opel Kaddet carbureted version. It is mechanically in a good condition other than this strange electrical fault. I really hope you have an idea about what could cause this. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Hi there

My gut feeling says you probably have a bad connection at the battery, so check and clean the battery cables very good. You should not be able to move the battery cables on the battery with your bare hands. Sometimes corrosion builds up on the inside the cable, so you might have to take the cables off the battery to properly clean them.

Usually when the headlights go completely out when you turn the key to the start position it is because of a bad battery or a loose connection to the battery. If the lights are bright, but then dim as you turn the key, that is usually a bad starter motor issue, if the lights are bright and stay bright that is usually a security system or broken wiring somewhere kind of problem. You fit the bad battery/loose connection category.

Now, you MIGHT also have a charging issue with the alternator of the voltage regulator. Most U.S cars have the voltage regulator inside the alternator, so you just replace the alternator assembly. I am not familiar with your vehicle, so you will have to ask if the voltage regulator is internal or external of the alternator.

A weak or bad voltage regulator will usually produce the symptoms you describe with the slowness of wipers and dimming of headlights. The number one culprit of an alternator/voltage regulator is a bad battery, which causes the alternator to work twice as hard to keep the battery fully charged.

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Austin Davis

    Sorry for my delay, I have been SWAMPED with questions lately and can’t keep up :(

    Fist, I would rule out that original battery and honestly would just go ahead and replace it now if you can not be for sure how old it is and don’t have a way of testing it. Make sure the connections at the battery are good and tight and CLEAN of corrosion. A loose cable connection can cause this to happen as well.

    if the new battery and clean cables don’t solve the problem then I would get the starter motor checked out. The clicking noise could be due to low battery voltage to the starter, or just a bad starter. Start with the easy items, the battery, first.

  • Kristen Rydstrom

    I have a 2002 Chevy Malibu. A few days ago, I had been out doing errands and car was working fine. Got home and probably an hour or so later, got ready to go out to the store. Turned the ignition and nothing happened, not even a click. Someone checked the lights and said they were working (my car has automatic lights coming on when key is turned). Had someone boost my battery, but car still would not start. This time it did click. The person helping me checked fuses, and even set it up to something to somehow charge the battery overnight. Car still won’t start, but if I turn the ignition a 2nd time, it clicks then there is also another sound the sounds like something wants to start up. Is it possible that the battery just is not able to handle a charge anymore? I think it’s the original battery. I obviously am a woman who knows a little about cars but not something like this. And I am also out of work, have no money, and no way of getting it to a garage or have it fixed if it’s more than the battery. Any suggestions?