I have a 2005 Toyota Matrix XR, 2 wheel drive automatic, with the ZZFE motor. I replaced my battery a couple of months ago when it failed to start. Everything was fine until last night when it started a rapid clicking sound when turning the key in the ignition. The new battery seems to be okay–the lights and radio all seem to work. We finally got it started by putting it into neutral and rolling it, then starting. Does this sound like a bad starter?
Before we condem the starter motor there is a few things we need to checkthe rapid mechanical clicking you describe could quite probably be the starter solenoid shuttling back and forth this is because for some reason it is not getting enough power.there is enough to activate it but not enough to hold it on and start the car so it releasesthis happens very quickly many times as you turn the key hence the rapid clicking.So the fist thing is to check the battery is fully charged & that when the vehicle is running the alternator is charging okthen check both the battery terminals are both tight and good electrical connectionsthe other connections which are often missed with this type of problemis the engine earth connection from the battery this may look a solid connection but the corrosion between the cable joint and the motor is electrically no good so remove this clean it up with a wire brush or some abrasive paper and reconnect
The othe reconnection to check is the main power terminal to the solenoid for security and a good electrical connection