Motorcycle Clicks But Doesn’t Start: Reasons And Fixes

Motorcycle Clicks But Doesn't Start

Here is a probable situation. You are ready to participate in a local racing event, or you are in a hurry to go somewhere. After getting fully dressed, you try to start your bike. But you see your motorcycle clicks but doesn’t start. You may wonder what is happening here and why is that? 

A motorcycle may click but doesn’t start because of many reasons. Don’t worry. I have come up with a complete guide that includes the reasons behind the problem along with specific fixes. 

I have gathered a handful of experiences during my years of driving a motorcycle. That is why you can trust my work without hesitating. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into the real thing. 

3 Reasons For A Motorcycle Clicking But Not Starting With Fixes

Mainly three reasons are responsible for your motorcycle to click but not start. Many reasons may cause the issue. But if you want to be specific, the following 3 are the main reasons for a situation where your motorcycle is clicking but yet not starting:

1. Faulty Battery: 

Yes, most motorcycle-related problems have their roots here. As a motorcycle is not as complex of a machine as a car, it has only a few major components. That is why in most cases the problem starts from the battery and you should also check the battery first. 

A faulty battery of a motorcycle may remain in two conditions. First, the battery is undercharged. And second, the battery is dead. You should count yourself lucky if you find out that the battery is merely undercharged. 

Well, how can you find that out? If your motorcycle battery gives a reading under 12.2 volts from a voltmeter reading, the battery is undercharged.

  • Fix Of Undercharged Battery:

What does your common sense say? You should normally charge an undercharged battery to solve these kinds of problems. Yes, it is also the same here. But you should take a little bit of precaution before doing so. 

You should charge the battery as per the specific guideline or instructions provided by the manufacturer. In most cases, the manufacturers recommend charging the batteries overnight. If that is the case, you may need 8-20 hours to get the job done. 

Once you have done the charging, it is time to do a test with the voltmeter to check whether everything is alright. Pick up a voltmeter and hook it with the bike. Remember to turn all the connections of your bike off. Although your motorcycle is not starting, safety is first always!

If you get a reading of 12.5 volts, you are okay to go. Normally, 12.6% means the battery is full. After you are assured that the battery is fully charged, you have to try and start the bike. If your motorcycle starts, you know that the issue was mainly of an undercharged battery. 

  • What To Do With A Dead Battery:

You have charged an undercharged battery. But while testing you may find out that the motorcycle is still not starting. So, what is the problem here? If the situation is like this, take your battery to a car mechanic’s store. They can run some more thorough tests. 

After getting the results of the test, you will get to know whether your battery has become dead or not. Your motorcycle’s battery may show a 12.6 percent reading but still may not be able to start the bike and only click. It means it has lost its power to hold current and is dead. 

2. Bad Starter:

Your motorcycle may click but doesn’t start because of a bad starter also. A starter of a motorcycle is responsible for starting it. If anything goes bad here, you will be in trouble getting it started. 

The ‘starting’ of a motorcycle process is very simple. First, the battery provides a charge for magnetization. Then the starter starts doing its job by applying the power and also systematically transferring such power. 

The starter may fail to do its job because of a fault within the starter relay, solenoid, and the starter motor. Because these three components are interrelated with each other. At first, the starter relay makes contact with the battery to get charged. Secondly, the solenoid activates the starter motor with an electromagnetic generator. 

And at the last phase, the starter motor starts its job. It brings movement to the engine flywheel by cranking it. Thus, it also kick-starts the piston process and eventually brings your motorcycle to life. 

Don’t blame the starter relay right away. Because you won’t even hear the clicking sound if a starter relay becomes faulty. That leaves us the remaining two parts of a starter; the solenoid and the starter motor. 

  • Fix Of Bad Starter Issue: 

You can either replace the parts of a bad starter one by one or the whole starter itself.  In the case of a solenoid, rearranging the connectors or making the corrosion go away may be enough. It can extend the life of a faulty solenoid by years. 

In the case of a starter motor, you have to replace the bad starter motor with a new one. Make sure to match the motorcycle’s model while buying a starter motor. 

My recommendation is that you should go for a full starter replacement. You never completely know whether only a specific component of a starter has gone bad or not. 

And in some cases, the new and old parts of a starter may not sync and work properly. That is why you should replace the starter itself even if it costs a few more dollars. 

3. Seized Engine:

Seized engine means the situation of an engine when the crankshaft is not able to turn bearings. If that happens, the motor parts are locked up. For this reason, due to a seized engine, you will hear a clicking sound instead of starting the motor with each try. 

The chances of facing a seized engine are very slim. Besides, fixing this issue is much more difficult than a faulty battery or a failed starter. Engine seizure may happen due to overheating of the rod bearings, piston, or some other important parts. 

The question at this point is, how do you find out your motorcycle has a seized engine? You may identify the engine seizure by completing a brief diagnosis.

Start the diagnosis by reaching the highest gear of your motorcycle. After that, advance your bike forward. If you are done here, it is time to inspect the wheels of your bike. 

While doing the last part of the diagnosis, observe whether the wheels of your bike are moving or not. If they don’t move even after pulling the clutch, your motorcycle may have a seized engine. 

A seized engine is not possible to repair. For the clicking issue, you may go for a starter motor replacement. And if you want to go on offense, you may also replace the entire engine of your motorcycle. It will give your bike a huge boost in terms of performance. 

Besides, you can follow the below-mentioned tips to prevent your bike’s engine from seizure:

  • Change your motorcycle oil regularly. Keeping up the oil levels is the key to keeping your bike’s engine in a good shape. 
  • Do regular maintenance as per the motorcycle’s OEM’s suggestions. 
  • Try to use good quality engine oil. I recommend using the manufacturer-suggested oil. It will prevent your bike from major and minor engine issues. 

7 Tips To Follow To Prevent A Motorcycle From Having Starting Problems:

Are you worried that you may fall into a problem like your motorcycle engine is clicking but not starting? Don’t worry. I am here with 7 tips that you should follow. These tips will not only counter the ‘clicking and not starting’ issue but also the overall starting issue. 

Tip-1: Try Keeping The Battery Fully Charged

This should be your first and foremost priority if you don’t want to have starting issues. Keeping the battery charged will also keep your bike at a good overall stage in terms of performance. 

Tip-2: Watch Out For Bad Clutch

Before going for a trip, always inspect the clutch. If the clutch is not properly engaging, you may fall into a problem when going on a sudden trip. To keep things normal with the clutch, you can try again after bringing the transmission neutral. 

Tip-3: Watch Out For A Clogged Vent Of A Fuel Tank 

The fuel tank has a tiny vent to ensure a continuous supply of fuel to your engine’s intake system. If this vent becomes cloggy, there will be an interruption in the supply of fuel to the engine’s intake system. Eventually, you will face problems with starting the bike. That is why you should keep the vent of a fuel tank clean. 

Tip-4: Regularly Start The Engine

Due to the winter season or any other emergency, you may not use your motorcycle for a while. Not using your motorcycle for a long time may create some issues along with the starting issues. To prevent these issues from happening, start your bike at a regular interval, only for a couple of minutes. 

Tip-5: Do Regular Maintenance 

Doing regular maintenance of your things is always a good habit. Try applying this method to your motorcycle too. If you do regular maintenance, it will not only keep the starting issue at bay but also prevent some common problems from happening. 

Tip-6: Timely Change The Engine Oil

Just like doing regular maintenance, try to change the engine oil at a regular interval also. In this way, you will ensure that there won’t be any engine oil-related issues. In addition, starting issues emerging from bad engine oil will also be resolved. 

Tip-7: Try Using The Kick Starter

Most modern motorcycles don’t have a kick starter. But if your bike has a kick starter, count yourself lucky. Because, if your motorcycle’s start switch does not work, you have another option to try. 

Related Questions:

What Does It Mean When You Turn The Key And It Just Clicks?

It means your bike can’t complete the starting process and most likely the culprit is the starter motor. When you turn the key and it just clicks, it indicates that the starter motor is not engaging. This can be caused by a variety of things, including a worn or damaged starter motor, a weak or dead battery, or a seized engine. 

If the problem is with the starter motor, there are a few things that you can do to fix it. You can try to replace the starter motor, clean the battery, or fix the electric connection.

Can You Push Your Motorcycle For Driving When You Hear A Clicking Noise? 

If you are driving your motorcycle and you hear a clicking noise, it is not the best idea to continue driving. Instead, pull over as soon as possible and take a look at the problem. 

While it might not be ideal to push your motorcycle, it is important to remember that it could be much worse. The clicking noise may be the result of a broken gear or chain, and if you continue driving, you could end up injuring yourself or worse.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Motorcycle’s Clicking Problem? 

A motorcycle’s clicking problem is often caused by dirt, dust, or debris getting lodged in the motor’s moving parts. Other symptoms of a clicking motor can include reduced power, increased wear on the engine, and difficulty starting the bike. This can result in the motor becoming over-revved, which in turn, causes the bike to click. 

How Do You Start A Motorcycle That doesn’t Start After Clicking?

The most common issues are battery, starter, or engine problems. Here is how you can get the fixing done within no time-

If the symptoms indicate that the battery is the problem, the first thing to do is check the voltage. If it’s low, there may be a problem with the battery itself or the connections. Try to fix the connections in the right way and if the battery is dead, you have to replace the battery. 

If the starter is not kicking in, you can try replacing the starter motor. And at last, if there is a problem with the engine, you can check if there is fuel in the fuel tank and if the spark is working.


It can be frustrating when you hear just the clicking noise while attempting the starting. A motorcycle clicks but doesn’t start is not because of anything. And if there is a problem, there is always a solution. 

From my knowledge and experience, I tried to state all the reasons and the respective fixes to these specific issues. I hope my efforts were good enough to give you the perfect solution. If you want to know anything else in this regard, feel free to drop a comment in the comment box. 

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