What to do When Your Car Battery Dies: The Right and Safe Technique

how to jump-start a car

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A dead battery situation can be one of those annoying moments that inevitably happens to every car users. Sitting in your car and ready to attend that important meeting after turning on the ignition, nothing happens. After a few clicks, you start wondering what might have gone wrong. Finally, it’s another dead car battery situation you need to fix and get going as fast as possible.

There are several reasons why your car battery may be dead. Whether it’s a normal self-discharge, parasitic drain or a merely wearing out. Luckily, there are several things to do when your battery dies. In this article, we will teach you how to jump-start your car battery.


Why Do Car Batteries Die?

There are some reasons a battery could die, the most common are:

  • Leaving your headlights, radio and interior light on for an extended period while your car is stationary
  • Leaving your radio on overnight or for a long period while the vehicle is stationary
  • If the vehicle is inactive for an extended period, the battery will begin to drain out
  • Failure from the alternator or diode bridge. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery when the car is working so if it’s not working properly, the battery will die
  • The battery could freeze and drain out due to low temperature or the temperature drops below zero
  • Leaving your car air-conditional on for an extended period with the car not fully on

Just in case you are experiencing or your battery just died, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a replacement. The next step is to find a way on how to get back on them as soon as possible. The best answer is to jumpstart your battery and get it charged.


The Right and Safe Technique

One of the most effective ways of charging your battery is to use a jump start the battery. Luckily this process does not require a lot of tools. All you need is a jumper cable and a running battery (you will probably have to call a friend or ask the other drivers for help).

You should always carry a pair of jumper cables in your car, and you should know how to use them correctly.
Can one person alone jump start a car? – Sure, only if you have two cars and a jump start cable.


How to jump-start a car

Jump-starting a car is very easy and straightforward, but you should apply caution. Since car batteries are located where wires and flammable gases may be present, extra care must be taken. Jumper cables are usually inexpensive and come in a variety of lengths. While purchasing the jumper cables, the length of the wire and the gauge which determine power must be taken into consideration.

The length usually ranges between 10 to 20 feet while ten should be enough to power your battery. Getting a longer wire may be more convenient, but also there may be a potential power loss while the standard gauge should be size six which is appropriate for most cars.

The simple steps

  1. Park the two cars close to one another, but never let the two cars touch. Just make sure they are close enough for the cables to reach the other car.
  2. Shut the ignition and every electronic in both cars. Be sure the car is in the park for an automatic transmission or neutral for the manual transmission and the handbrake is set in both cars.
  3. This is the most important aspect as you do not want to connect the cable wrong. Open the hood and identify the negative “–” and positive “+” terminals of both batteries. Also,
  4. be sure there is enough space to clamp the cables to the terminals.
  5. Clamp the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive dead battery terminal. Make sure the clamp fix appropriately on the battery terminal to provide a strong electrical connection. Be sure the negative (black) cable is not touching the positive wire or any metal surface of your car.
  6. Now, clamp the other positive jumper cable to the booster car positive battery terminal. Make sure you confirm before connecting these cables. Clamp the negative cable to the negative battery terminal in the working car. Now that there is a connection to the battery terminal, you can now attach the other end to an unpainted metal surface in the dead battery car.
  7. Make your final check and confirm all the jumper cables are well connected. Be sure the cables are not close to any moving parts in the engine.
  8. Start the booster car, leave for some minutes to build sufficient charge to start the other car’s dead battery. If lights and other electronics drained the dead battery after leaving for a long time, the battery would likely to start almost immediately. But if the battery is old and it has been idle for a long period, then it may take some time before the battery charge and start.

Once the dead battery car starts working, remove all the connections carefully. Leave your car for some time or drive around to gain enough charge.



Dealing with a dead battery situation can be tough. Luckily, getting out of this terrible situation is not as difficult as it seems. By following the procedure of using a jumper cable, you will be able to get back on the road as soon as possible and your car battery will work and last for an extended period.

Last update on 2021-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dan Hoffman

Dan is a co-founder of Engineswork. He knows everything about internal combustion engines. Ask your questions in comments down below this article - he will be glad to help you anytime.

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