Can't jumpstart my car!
January 16, 2012 12:09 PM Subscribe
Why can't I jump start my 2004 Ford Focus?
I don't think the battery has been changed since it was built
It's been really cold up here and now, I can't seem to start my 2004 Ford Focus. It's probably the battery, but when I try to jump start it, nothing happens. So maybe it isn't the battery, but rather the battery connectors, cables or even the starter?
So here are the symptoms:
the battery's hydrometer (i.e. the colored "eye") is showing a red dot. According to Ford's TSB 06-4-2, the battery charge is 40% or less
When I connect a multimeter to the battery, the reading is about 12 volts. While I know there's a difference between 12.1 and, say, 12.4, at least I know that the voltage isn't really, really low either.
When I turn the key, there is no cranking, but I do hear a rapid click, click, click, click in succession. Could this be the starter being activated?
When I turn the key, I also hear a short hum for about a second. Could this be the alternator?
Headlights shine brightly when I turn them on, but flash in sync with the clicking of the starter when I turn the key
It seems that these symptoms seem to contradict what could be the problem. For example, if it is the battery, why are the headlights shining brightly? If it is the starter, why do I hear the click, click, click?
So maybe it's the cables/connection?
And none of this answers why I can't jump start the car - if the battery is at 12 V, even if it is pretty discharged, shouldn't I be able to jump start it?
Could I be making insufficient connections? Because of how the battery posts are placed and the size of my cables, the connection is not made directly on the round part (like you see in all the how-to diagrams), but rather as close as I can, but on the metal parts of the post nonetheless.
And for what it's worth, when I make the final connection (i.e. the black clamp to the ground on the dead car, I see a little spark)
So - should I technically be able to jump start this dead car, or if the problem is indeed with the cables or starter, does this explain why I cannot jump start it?
posted by bitteroldman to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite