Jump Start a Car: What to Do If Your Car Battery Is Completely Drained

May 14th, 2020 by

It’s early in the morning, and you’re about to leave for work. You get in your car and put the key in the ignition, but with the swift turn of the key, all you hear is … nothing.

The battery is dead. You’re hesitant to trade in your old beater for a new car.

For the time being, you need to jump-start a car.

Common as it may seem, some people may not know how to jump-start a car or how to use jumper cables. While jumping a dead battery is simple, and you might have done it in the past, you also might forget how to jump-start a car.

Positive this, negative that. Where do I place the ground cables? Which is which? So many questions have so many answers.

If you’re in a bind, don’t go into jumping a car looking like a klutz. Most important, avoid shocking yourself into oblivion. Jump starting a car happens in a few simple steps, but first, we need to start at square one.


Determine if Your Battery is Dead

The telltale sign of a dead battery is, as mentioned above, nothing.

When you turn your key into the ignition and the car isn’t reacting at all, the battery is likely the issue. Some individuals confuse the turning over and engine cranking of a vehicle that there is still “life in the battery.”

In this case, planning to jump-start, a car won’t do anything.


Use Caution Before Jumping

If you’re in the dark when it comes to jump-starting a car, here are some warnings.

Whatever you do, DO NOT touch the clips together. Although it’s most important to know this when one is connected to a power source or immediately after, get in the habit of never doing it.

Don’t jump your car if the battery is damaged, corroded or leaking. Avoid trying to use jumper cables with frozen or dry battery’s as well.

The final tip comes with reading the Owner’s Manual. This isn’t always necessary, but some vehicles are not recommended to be jumped due to their sensitive circuitry.


Gather Some Materials

Before you can jump-start a car, you need to gather materials.

  • Jumper cables
  • Power source (portable jump box or another vehicle)

Jumper cables are simple insulated cables donned with a clip on one or both ends. Named for their appearance, these clips are known as “alligator clips.” Each clip is distinguished by colour, usually black or red.

Ten times out of ten, the black clip is negative, and the red clip is positive. And thank God it is because you wouldn’t want to get confused.


Locating Each Car Terminal

This is where most individuals get stumped in the process of how to jump-start a car.

Car batteries have two nubs, one positive and the other negative. These terminals should be marked, but if they’re not, here are a few indicators.

Positive terminals are the bigger of the two and are marked red with a “POS” or “+” sign. This will be the terminal you connect the red jumper cable to. Simple enough red to red.

Negative terminals are the smaller of the terminals and marked black or with “NEG/-. “ If you’re catching on, this will attach to the black jumper cable.


Let’s Jump Start a Car

You’ve followed all the pre-check and management steps before you jump start a car, and now it’s time to make it happen.

First things, first park the vehicles next to each other. Hopefully, your battery sources are both located at the front of the vehicle so you can face the vehicles toward one another.

Both vehicles should be off and with their keys removed before attaching the jumper cables. Once you’ve attached the clips to their respective parts of each vehicle’s battery, go back to your vehicles.

Start with the working vehicle first. Turn on the ignition and let your car run for a minute to build up power to the other car. If you’re driving an automatic vehicle, feel free to place it in park, but for manual vehicles, set your gear shift to neutral.

Now’s the time for the dead vehicle to come back to life. Try starting the “dead” vehicle. If nothing happens, give it a few more minutes of “charging” before you try again or give up.

Another helpful tip to help jump-start a car is pressing the gas pedal during the ignition process. Slightly revving the engine might help the process along.

Once you’re done, remove the jumper cables starting with the black cables on both cars. This is when you need to be paying attention to not letting the alligator clips touch one another.


Failed Jump Starts

If your car fails during its attempt to jump-start, you’ll likely have to replace the battery. Most battery’s last four to six years, and if it’s older than that, your issue likely stemmed from age.

Of course, there can be other issues with fuses, battery corrosion, ignition switch, faulty alternator, starter connection, etc.

Take your vehicle to an auto body shop of your choice and get the problem fixed. Unfortunately, you may need a tow service if your car is too far gone.


Vehicles You Can Rely On

At Vikings Motors, skip the need to jump-start a car and find your new certified Buick, Chevrolet, or GMC in our lot. At our dealership, you’ll find a wide selection of new vehicles you can drive off the lot with.

Our commitment to our customers runs deeper than the day of purchase. We can handle all maintenance and repairs needed for your vehicle. If you’re a mechanic by trade, we also have a wide selection of authentic parts in stock.

If you have any questions or want to look around for your new vehicle, swing by today. Viking Motors will have you on the road and styling in no time.

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