How to Start a Car with a Dead Battery

Have you ever been left stranded after your car’s battery fails to start when leaving for work or attending an occasion? A car’s failure to start could be a result of a dead battery. A dead battery is very frustrating. A dead battery is a result of leaving the car parked for an extended period, usually several days or weeks. Various electronic systems in the vehicle consume energy even when the engine is off hence draining the battery.

The most common solution for a dead battery is jumpstarting using a jumper cable or another vehicle. Questions about how to start a car with a dead battery have been asked several times. Jumpstarting a car with a dead battery is a simple task that only takes a few minutes to complete. However, with the increased complexity in the automobile industry, new risks have emerged hence a need to practice precautions at all cost.

Safety Precautions When Starting a Car with a Dead Battery

Experts warn that although starting a car with a dead battery is easy, it can also be dangerous. Some of the dangers include:

  • Shocks from electricity
  • Explosions by damaged batteries
  • Emission of harmful vapors emitted batteries. Car batteries contain sulphuric acid, which is likely to leak out through the vents.
  • The sulphuric acid vapors from car batteries are highly flammable. Sparks caused by jumper cables could cause fires that could injure you badly.
  • Jump starting a car in the rain is dangerous. Water is a good conductor of electricity. Your vehicle is likely to suffer more damage if jumpstarted in the rain.

Before jumpstarting your car, you need to consult the manual for a step-by-step guide to jump a car with a dead battery correctly. The manual also warns of any possible disclaimers that could arise when jumpstarting your car. Suppose you have a new vehicle; avoid the risk of trying computers or other complex electronics that could cause more damage to your vehicle, which could be more expensive to fix. Consider acquiring a start jump-box that you can use to protect your car from power surges that occur during jumpstarting.

Taking safety precautions when starting a car with a dead battery helps you minimize risks. To ensure that you are safe when jumpstarting a car ensure that you adhere to the precautions below:

  • Put on good mechanic gloves. The mechanic gloves worn must be made from a non-conductive material.
  • Wear protective goggles to protect your eyes from sparks.
  • Ensure that the ignition is turned off. The key should be put in a safe place in the garage out of the car.
  • When attaching the clamps of the jumper cable to your car’s battery terminals, do it in a single motion lest you will cause sparks.
  • Clean any gasoline or oil spills near the battery.
  • Before attaching the cable clamps to the battery terminals, you must wipe out any grime to see the terminal’s markings.
  • Remove any jewelry and dangle clothes such as scarves that may come in contact with the battery during the process of jumpstarting.

It is always advisable to let a professional jump you. In unavoidable cases where you can not access the services of a professional, always adhere to all the necessary precautions.

A Step-by-step Guide on How to Start a Car with a Dead Battery

Once you have adhered to all the safety precautions, you need to prepare to start your car. The first step is organizing all the tools required to jumpstart your car. The tools needed to jump a car include:

  • A set of jumper cables
  • A car with a live battery or a jump starter. The battery of the car used should be of the same voltage as the dead battery.

To jump your car, you need to park on a flat surface, preferably the floor of a garage, driveway or street parking. If you are jumping your car in street parking, check with the local laws to ensure that you do not violate any codes.

Before commencing, arrange your workspace by organizing all the tools and the gear. An organized workspace ensures the tools can be reached easily hence saving time. You can jumpstart a car using a jump starter or another car with a live battery.

How to Jump a Car with Another Car

  1. Park the cars close enough, usually nose-to-nose, for the jumper cables to reach the terminals of each battery. Make sure that as you position the cars, they are not touching.
  2. Pop the hoods of both cars.
  3. Check the car’s ignition with the live battery to confirm it is not running.
  4. The clamp of jumper cables painted in red is connected to the positive terminal of the battery of the dead car. Before attaching, check to confirm that the battery’s terminal has a positive symbol on it.
  5. Connect the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the live car battery.
  6. The black clamp of the jumper cables is connected to the negative terminal of the car with a live battery. Before attaching, check to confirm that the battery’s terminal has a negative symbol. In some other batteries, the negative terminal is covered in a black lid.
  7. The other black clamp of jumper cables is connected to a grounded metallic part of the car with a dead battery, such as the car’s frames. The part or surface attached to the car must be unpainted.
  8. Turn on the ignition of the car with a live battery.
  9. Let the engine run for a few minutes, usually two to three minutes. As the engine of the live car runs, the battery of the dead car is recharged.
  10. Turn on the ignition of the car with a dead battery
  11. In case the engine fails to ignite, let the live-battery car’s engine for a couple more minutes before igniting the dead-battery car’s engine again.
  12. Detach the clamps. When detaching the clamps, ensure you adhere to reverse order. The order should be; removing the black clamp from the grounded metal, detaching the other black clamp from the negative terminal of the assisting car and detaching the red clamp from the positive terminal of the other battery. Then finally, the other red clamp from the positive terminal of the battery of the assisting car.
  13. Close the hoods of both vehicles.

How to Jump a Car with a Jump Starter

Jumpstarters are an easy way to jump-start your car if you don’t have another car to use. Nowadays, they can even be charged via USB and used as portable phone chargers as well. We recommend this USB jump starter.

  1. Pop the hood of the car with a dead battery.
  2. Ensure the jump starter is fully charged or plugged incorrectly.
  3. Place the jump starter in a place on the engine bay to ensure the clamps of the jumper cable reach the terminals of the battery easily.
  4. Connect the red clamp of the jumper cable to the jump starter’s positive side and the black clamp to the negative post. New jump starters come with integral cables.
  5. Connect the other red clamp of the jumper cables to the battery’s positive terminal. The positive terminal is marked with a positive symbol and covered with a black lid.
  6. Connect the other black clamp of the jumper cables to an unpainted grounded metal or surface of the car with a dead battery such as the car’s frame.
  7. Ensure that everything is connected properly and switch on the jump starter.
  8. Wait for a couple of minutes while the jump starter is still turned on to allow the recharging of your battery.
  9. Turn on the engine of your car.
  10. If the engine does not start, wait for a couple more minutes for the battery to recharge, then try igniting the engine again.
  11. Switch off the power button of your jump starter.
  12. Detach the clamps of your jumper cables adhering to the reverse order rule. The order followed should be; the black clamp is first detached from the grounded metallic part of the car, the other black clamp from the jump starter, the red clamp from the battery, and finally, the other red clamp from the jump starter.
  13. Close the hood of your car.
  14. It is always advisable to recharge your jump starter in readiness for any upcoming ignition failure due to a dead battery.

If your car’s battery does not start after several attempts, consider reconnecting the jumper cables’ clamps to the battery terminals as it could be a result of a loose connection. If still, after reconnecting, the engine of your car fails to ignite after several attempts, consider inspecting your jumper cables for cuts and splits. Once the engine has ignited, let the car run for up to thirty minutes to recharge the battery and prevent it from dying again.

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