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Ford Ranger, the block-buster off-roader, is designed especially for the new generation — it comes with a powerful engine, exceptional handling, and solid hauling capacities.
However, Ford Ranger not starting issues are not unheard of like any other vehicle. Ford ranger has many interconnected electrical sensors, plugs, and other components; if any of these malfunctions, things can go sideways.
We understand how infuriating it can be when your Ford Ranger won’t start and instead produces clicking noises, and it always seems to happen at the most inopportune times.
Common reasons why your Ford Ranger won’t start & makes a clicking noise include battery problems like (drained battery, battery corrosion), alternator issues, faulty starter motor, fuel pump failure, and bad ignition switch.
In this article, we’ll be discussing a common issue with Ford Rangers — a clicking noise when attempting to start the engine. We’ll also provide some tips on troubleshooting this issue.
Ford Ranger Won’t Start & Makes Clicking Noise – Causes and Solutions
Let’s narrow down all the causes and solutions to get your Ford Ranger up and running:
1. Dead Or Drained Battery
Problem: If you’re getting a clicking noise when trying to start your Ford Ranger, it could be due to a dead or drained battery. Also, if you turn your key and no lights on the dashboard come on, it’s another sign that your battery may be the issue.
The battery must provide a certain voltage output level to run the starter. The starter needs it to crank up the engine. The battery might hold enough charge to trigger the starter but not enough to get the engine running. This will result in rapid clicking noise as the teeth of the pinion gear clatter against the teeth of the flywheel. Make sure you don’t confuse this with the clunking noise due to engine lock-up.
Also, your Ranger’s battery can’t charge itself if there is loose or damaged wiring. If any battery terminals or wires are loose, it can cause a clicking noise when you try to start your engine.
Solution: Check the electrolyte level first. If it’s low, you’ll need to add distilled water. To check for battery output voltage, grab a multimeter, connect it to the poles of the battery, and see if it reads 12 to 13 volts or not.
Once you’ve done that, check the terminals for corrosion and clean them if necessary. Check all the wiring and terminals to see if they are loose or damaged. If they are, you’ll need to repair or replace them. However, if the battery is completely dead, you’ll need to jumpstart your car or charge the battery.
2. Faulty Starter Motor/Starter Solenoid
Problem: A clicking noise when trying to start your car can also be caused by a broken starter motor. The starter motor is responsible for turning over the engine and has a limited lifespan.
A starter needs a good ground connection to turn on the engine. The ground comes through the transmission bell housing, so if any connections are loose or corroded, it will keep the engine from cranking up and produce a rapid clicking noise instead.
If the battery is up and running, the starter solenoid could also be the reason behind this fiasco. The starter solenoid signals the starter motor to turn the flywheel. In case of a faulty solenoid, it will produce a single click indicating an unsuccessful attempt to engage the starter motor.
Sometimes no power is delivered to the starter solenoid, and the engine does not crank up. To check this, attach one probe of a multimeter to the negative battery terminal and the other to the control terminal on the starter solenoid. Ask someone to turn the ignition key and see if there is any reading on the multimeter. If it reads 0, there’s a problem with the starter control circuit.
A defective starter relay under the hood’s fuse box might also keep your truck from starting. You can use a screwdriver to touch both the terminals and see if the engine cranks up. If it does, your solenoid/starter relay is bad.
Solution: If the brushes inside the starter motor are worn out, you’ll need to replace the motor. This job is best left to a certified mechanic as it can be tricky to replace it yourself.
Although, you can try hitting it with the handle of a hammer as the electrical contacts in the starter motor can get stuck sometimes.
3. Bad Ignition Switch
Problem: A faulty ignition switch can cause your Ford Ranger to click when you turn the key. The ignition switch is responsible for supplying power to your car’s starter motor and other electrical components. It can cause electrical problems if damaged, including a single clicking noise.
Solution: In most cases, a bad ignition switch can’t be fixed, and you need to replace it. Take your car to the certified Ford mechanic to get it fixed.
5. Alternator Issues
Problem: The alternator is responsible for charging the battery, and if it’s not working properly, it can cause a clicking noise when you try to start your Ranger. A failing alternator can also cause electrical problems like dim headlights and dashboard lights flickering.
The bottom line is that if the alternator goes bad, your truck’s battery won’t be recharged when the engine is running. The battery will eventually run out of juice, and the starter will start clicking when you try to turn on the engine.
Besides the alternator, a weak/loose belt tensioner or a worn-out drive belt can also keep the battery from charging properly.
Solution: You can’t possibly repair the alternator on your own, and you need to take it to the nearest Ford service center to get it checked and replaced if necessary.
However, here are a few things that’ll indicate if the alternator is the root cause:
- Drained or dead car battery.
- Stereo, power windows, dashboard lights, and other electrical components start acting funny.
- The battery warning light on the dashboard.
- Stalling engine as there is not enough power to keep it running.
6. Fuel Pump Failure
Problem: If the clicking noise comes from the engine bay, it could be the fuel pump. The fuel pump’s job is to supply fuel to the engine; if it’s not working properly, the engine won’t start.
Fuel pump failure symptoms include:
- The engine breaks down more frequently
- Difficulty in starting the engine
- Declining engine performance
Solution: Contamination and water damage are the top two reasons for fuel pump failure. If you can hear the clicking noise clearly, the electric motor inside the fuel pump has failed. In this case, you need to replace the fuel pump.
There you have it.
We have discussed all the possible reasons why Ford Ranger won’t start & makes a clicking noise and how you can fix them.
If you are a car enthusiast, you can test each component to see what is causing the issue. However, if you are not mechanically inclined, it is best to take your Ford Ranger to a qualified mechanic or dealership to get it checked out.
What is the most common cause of a clicking noise when trying to start a Ford Ranger?
A dead or drained battery is the most common cause of clicking noise when trying to start a Ford Ranger. This can be caused by several factors, such as leaving your lights on overnight or not driving your Ford Ranger regularly.
Is there a difference between single clicks and rapid clicking?
Single clicks are heard when there’s a problem with the starter relay/solenoid, starter motor, or some other electrical component. Whereas rapid clicking occurs when there isn’t enough juice in the battery to crank the engine.
How to know if my Ford Ranger battery is dead?
If you are unsure whether or not your battery is dead, you can test it with a voltmeter or a DMM. Simply attach the positive lead to the positive terminal on the battery and the negative lead to the negative terminal. Your battery is fine if the voltmeter reading is 12-13 volts or higher.
What are the symptoms of a bad starter motor?
If your starter motor is going bad, you may notice that your car takes longer to start than usual. Additionally, you may hear a clicking noise when attempting to start the engine or see smoke coming from the starter motor area. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to take your Ford Ranger to a qualified mechanic or dealership as soon as possible.