New car battery, Ford Taurus

We have a 2005 Taurus that wouldn’t start around Thanksgiving. Tried to jump it, still wouldn’t start. It had a fast click after trying to turn over the motor. The roadside service guy said it definitely seemed like battery was just too dead to even jump. It’d also been very cold in 20s for a few days, if that matters. Ok, so we bought a new battery but haven’t installed it. Question is, if indeed the problem was battery, should it start right up with new battery or is it an issue that car has sat about a month without being started? I know this may be a very basic question, so please be gentle with someone who’s never dealt with much car stuff!

Eta: if not clear, we will be putting in new battery on Saturday, haven’t yet… just trying to anticipate if it still doesn’t start whether it’ll have anything to do with the car sitting unproven for a month. Thanks!

if you have a voltmeter, check the new battery to make sure its state of charge is at last 12.5-12.6 volts. if its lower, it’s best to charge it before installing; it’ll likely start the car but it’s not nice to the alternator to make it charge up the battery.

if all that is good and you still have the same problem, the battery cable(s) are the likely culprit.

Usually, a fresh battery has enough charge to start a car when newly installed. I’ve never had one not deliver if the battery was the problem.

An open cell battery can be too dead to jump without disconnecting it from the system, which can yield unpredictable results when you remove the jumper cables.

Long and short of my opinion: I imagine the battery will probably start the car when you install it. From the symptoms you describe, and my experience with Ford cars (all slightly older than yours), that chattering solenoid seems to indicate not enough electrical oomph to keep it closed.

ETA: Check for an electrical system indicator light after you start the car (I think this car has lights, not gauges for the electrics). If it has a battery symbol that lasts for more than a few minutes after starting, it’s probably a charging system issue.

If the battery went dead and the car had not been setting for a long time or something was left on chances are you need a new battery. Age is a pretty good indicator to start with. The car should start right up with the new battery. If it doesn’t check the state of charge on the new battery.

Do yourself a favor and get a battery charger. A 1 or 2 amp charger with a maintainer circuit is a good choice. If you are going to be driving a car that is over 5 years old, you will likely encounter a electrical problem with your car. It is nearly impossible to troubleshoot a battery/charging problem without a fully charged battery. In addition, as jz78817 has mentioned, it is not nice to your alternator to ask it to charge a discharged battery.

Non-expert opinion here (but I do have a Taurus): If a car has been sitting for about a month without being driven, usually your biggest worry is that the battery has lost enough charge that the car won’t start; but putting in a new battery means this won’t be an issue here. So I’m guessing it’ll start right up. You probably ought to check the tire pressure though.

Thanks for the replies, all! (Don’t know how to do multi-quotes.) Regarding specific suggestions: I do know to check tire pressure since the car hasn’t been moved in a while. Do not have a voltmeter but may be able to have someone who does check the new battery’s charged state, since a couple of you mentioned this and also the extra work for the alternator, if I understand correctly, if the new battery isn’t itself fully charged. I’ll also consider getting my own charger for future use since I do plan on driving this car until it’s undriveable, in no hurry to get a new one. I really appreciate the responses. I’m thinking it should start right up based on what you guys have indicated. Thanks again everyone!

If you know the battery is say, 5 years old, a new battery is probably a good choice and it will have enough charge to start right up.
But many pretty good batteries will not survive a month of dis-use. In terms of pure economics why not jump start it, run it a half hour and see if it starts the next day? A charger and your old battery is cheaper than the new battery. If you plan to continue waiting weeks between starts a trickle charger may still be needed with your new battery.