Have you ever experienced this? In a hurry to get your kids off to school and yourself to work, you rush into the driver’s seat of your automobile.
As you turn the ignition, nothing happens as you prepare to go off quickly. Maybe a few clicks or errant sputters from your engine. What else, though? Nothing.
You are presumably fully aware of what has taken place. A dead battery results in an automatic call to your roadside assistance provider for some drivers.
However, if you have the correct tools and a little bit of knowledge, you can really solve this issue on your own, jump-starting your engine and putting you out on the road in no time.
You have probably experienced it before. When you try to start your car, nothing happens. You could notice a few clicks. Another automobile battery that’s dead? You must quickly fix this and put your car back on the road.
You probably already have a reliable set of jumper wires in your car if you were prepared. You just need to learn how to jump-start a car battery at this point.
How to Choose the Best Jumper Cables
To jump-start a car battery, not many tools are required. You must first locate a running vehicle to serve as a jumper.
Ensure that both drivers of the vehicles are confident in their ability to open the hood and recognize the battery and battery terminals.
Due to their low cost and ease of storage, jumper cables are the most common instrument used to jump-start autos. Typically, jumper cables are available in lengths between 10 and 20 feet.
Some individuals believe that longer cables are preferable in order to avoid having to transfer a car with a dead battery. Longer cables might be more convenient, but because of the increased distance that the energy must go, they run the risk of losing power.
The strength of the cables is indicated by the cable’s gauge. The thickness and strength of the cables increase with decreasing gauge.
Jumper cables are typically made of gauge six-wire.
Before carrying out any routine upkeep or repair on your car, you should weigh all potential safety concerns. First, while you figure out how to jump a dead car battery, make sure that young children are in a secure area away from the engine.
Read through your car’s manual for a moment. Some vehicles need to take extra precautions in order to successfully leap. Ask for guidance from your nearby Meineke Car Care Center if you’re unclear about what to do.
If your car will allow a jump, you need to be cautious to avoid potentially harmful electric shocks. Keep in mind that the jumper cables’ purpose is to transfer electrical current from one car to another when using them.
Do not touch the metal clamps to anything other than the intended target after connecting one end of the jumper wires to an automobile. You should also consider donning safety glasses in case sparks start shooting into the air.
Locate the batteries and battery terminals by opening the hoods of both vehicles (the owner’s manual will tell you where the batteries are located).
Each battery’s two terminals will often be marked with a + or – sign on top and be covered in either red or black paint. Make sure you can tell which batteries are positive and which are negative by taking a look at them.
This differentiation is essential for your jump to be successful. Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush or rag if necessary.
To prepare for the jump:
Park the vehicles next to each other.
Parking the working car should be done such that the two cars are facing each other, ideally only 18 inches apart, but never touching.
Put the automobile in the park if it has an automatic transmission; in the case of a manual transmission, put it in neutral. Put the parking brakes on both vehicles to prevent sudden movement.
Turn off both vehicles. Put your parking brakes on.
The keys should be removed and the cars should be off. Make sure the clamps on the jumper cables don’t touch as you place them on the ground.
Connect the dead battery’s positive (+) battery terminal to the red, positive cable clamp. You want a strong connection to the battery terminal, so you might need to jiggle the clamps at first.
Connect the other red clamp to the active battery’s positive terminal.
Connect the red, positive cable clamp on the opposite end of the jumper cables to the positive (+) battery connection of the operating car.
Connect the black clamp to the functional battery’s negative terminal.
Connect the working battery’s negative (-) battery connector to the black negative cable clamp.
Fasten the black clamp that goes with it to a pristine nut or bolt on the engine block.
Go to the car with the dead battery by yourself. The dead battery should not be connected to the black, negative cable clamp.
Instead, fasten that clamp to a metal, unpainted component of the vehicle, like a nut that is spotless and clean on the engine block. This will make the jump safer.
How Long a Dead Car Battery Should Be Charged?
You are now prepared to try the jump-start. To learn how to and for how long to charge the dead battery in your automobile, read the directions below:
Start the functional car, then let it run for a little while.
Launch the functional vehicle.
Wait for a few seconds. You might need to let the car run for a minute or two for the jump to take effect, depending on the age of the battery and how recently it died.
Start the dead vehicle. It should turn on.
Try to restart the dead vehicle. If the automobile won’t start, wait for a minute or two for the working vehicle to finish charging the battery before trying again.
Try revving the engine of the functional vehicle if it still won’t switch on.
In rare cases, it may be beneficial to slightly rev the engine of the running vehicle while the dead battery is being charged.
Disconnect the red jumper cables after the black ones have been disconnected.
You can unhook the jumper wires once the dead car has started, starting with the clamps on the black, negative cable. While any portion of the wires is still fastened to an automobile, do not allow the clamps to come into contact.
Take a short drive to help recharge the battery.
Now drive a short distance. This will enable the battery to charge up. This ensures that your car won’t die again when you turn it off and enables the alternator to recharge the battery.
Failure of the Jump-Start
After a few brief tries, if the jump doesn’t work to start your automobile, or if it starts but then dies again, there may be other problems that need to be resolved.
The average battery is designed to last 4-6 years. You might need to change your battery if it is outdated. If the battery appears to be functioning well, you should look into other potential issues with other parts, such as:
- Corrosion of the battery
- defective alternator
- ignition switch
- starter connection
Your greatest option when you don’t know what’s wrong is to bring the car to your neighborhood mechanic shop for service and repair.
Numerous local locations provide free battery checkups and diagnostic scans that will explain any problems with your car to you.
A dead automobile battery is a hassle to deal with. Fortunately, repairing your car is not that complicated.
Your automobile will operate better, be safer, and last longer if you adhere to these recommendations, use your jumper cables properly, practice safety, and take care of any other potential issues.
Speak to your local mechanic at your local Mechanic Center for qualified assistance and guidance.
What Should You Do If Your Car Battery Keeps Dying or Won’t Hold a Charge?
Let’s suppose for a moment that you are able to make it to your destination after successfully jumping your automobile battery.
Then again, whenever you attempt to start your engine again, you have the same issues—clicks and sputters, which are all obvious signs of a dead battery.
It simply signifies that your battery wasn’t able to successfully maintain its charge the first time if it “dies” twice in a row like that. There are numerous possible causes to take into account.
The Reasons Why a Charge Fails
The following are some of the most typical causes of batteries that won’t maintain their charge:
Even if the automobile wasn’t operating, you left your lights on or another item that consumes battery power.
The battery was not recharging even when you were driving the automobile. You should consult a professional about this technical issue because it is one of them.
Simply put, after you jumped the car, you didn’t drive it around for very long. To make sure the battery gets a good charge, you should leave the engine running for at least a few minutes. It’s best to drive about town for around 20 minutes.
The battery is experiencing some kind of parasitic electrical drain, which is almost certainly the result of a malfunctioning alternator.
Simply said, the battery is quite old and can no longer maintain a charge for very long. In this situation, a replacement is required.
Identifying the Issue
Here are some troubleshooting suggestions to help you identify which of these instances you’re facing.
- Just switch on your headlights first. If they turn on at their typical brightness, the starter or wiring is most likely the cause of the issue rather than the battery.
The battery is more likely to be the issue if the lights don’t turn on at all or if they do so dimly.
- Next, check your battery’s voltage. The red lead should be connected to the positive terminal of the voltmeter, and the black lead should be connected to the negative terminal.
The battery should read over 12.6 volts, indicating that it is fully charged; otherwise, there is undoubtedly a problem with how the battery was charged.
- Next, think about the battery’s state of health. Does it appear visibly rusted or beaten down? Is this item older than four years? If so, changing the battery might be the simplest option.
- Finally, think about whether your alternator is the cause of the issue. The alternator cables should not be frayed or cracked because that is a clear indication that something is wrong.
Additionally, if the automobile stalls after being jump-started and the battery quickly loses its charge, there may be a problem with the alternator.
These are some good techniques to identify the cause of your battery’s inability to maintain a charge, but what if it won’t kickstart at all? There may be a variety of possible causes if you followed our step-by-step instructions and your engine still won’t start.
- Why Is Your Engine Unable to Start?
- To start, it’s possible that your automobile battery’s terminals need to be thoroughly cleaned. Soon, we’ll provide some advice on this.
- It’s also possible that your battery is simply too old and can no longer be repaired, in which case it must be replaced.
- Finally, keep in mind that there might be another mechanical issue with the car, like blown fuses or a broken alternator. Any of these issues can be identified and fixed with the aid of a Meineke service expert.
- Battery Cleaning Techniques
If your vehicle has a mechanical issue or an outdated battery, an automotive expert will likely need to fix it. However, if the only issue is that your battery’s terminals need to be cleaned, you may take care of it yourself.
To make sure your battery terminals are immaculate, follow these instructions:
Turn off your engine first and foremost. Even while cleaning the terminals is a relatively simple DIY project, there is still a small chance of damage. By making sure the engine is off while you operate, you may easily reduce this risk.
The next step is to remove the nut holding your negative cable in place. A tool is probably necessary for this. The cable must be taken away from the post. The positive cable should then be connected in the same manner.
Examine your automobile battery visually for a brief period of time. Pay close attention to any fractures or cracks.
If you notice any, it signifies your car battery has an issue that you most likely won’t be able to solve yourself; more than likely, you’ll need to replace the batteries. You should also examine the cables and clamps directly.
Once more, you’re looking for blatant signs of wear and tear. Large rips or tears in your cables or clamps mean that you should probably replace them. These issues can’t really be fixed.
If none of these glaring indications of wear and tear are present, you should combine your cleaning agent—one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water. Mix them well, then dunk an old toothbrush in the concoction.
Scrub away any corrosion you notice on your battery terminals with the toothbrush. To get things spotlessly clean, don’t be scared to scour everything really well. As you continue to scrub, you might need to dip your toothbrush into the baking soda solution a few times.
After you’re done, rinse any leftovers with cool water from a spray bottle. Make sure to thoroughly wipe away any corrosion-causing baking soda.
After that, properly dry the battery and clamps with an old rag or towel.
Put some petroleum jelly on the terminals to lubricate them.
The cables should be reconnected to the proper terminals.
The fundamental instructions for cleaning your battery terminals are as follows, but here is an alternative method:
If you’re traveling and don’t have access to the aforementioned goods, try looking for a Pepsi or a Coca-Cola and pouring it over the terminals.
After allowing it to sit for two to three minutes, thoroughly clean your battery with cool water. Note: You should take the same fundamental safety precautions as we listed above, including shutting off your engine and disconnecting the wires.
If you’re having trouble starting your car, check out our step-by-step tutorial with illustrations on how to jump-start a car battery.
- Battery Preservation Techniques
Of course, preventing battery death altogether is ideal. There are several things you can do to extend your battery life as much as possible, albeit this isn’t always achievable because all batteries eventually run out of power.
To begin with, be sure to include routine battery testing in your maintenance schedule. Ask a Mechanic to evaluate the battery life and notify you when it’s time to consider a replacement when you bring your car in for an oil change and tire rotation.
Keep your battery safe against harsh weather. When it’s possible, store it inside during the winter or summer; if that’s not an option, think about using an insulated blanket to protect your battery.
See if a buddy can come to start the car and drive it around the block once or twice while you’re out of town if you won’t be using it for a few weeks. This will ensure that the battery stays charged.
Of course, you should check multiple times to make sure that no lights or appliances are left on when the car is not in use, as they are significant battery drains.
You may increase battery life by doing routine, preventative maintenance.