Anyone who drives would be wise to gain even a small understanding of how their vehicle works and how to combat some of the more common automobile ailments. Like any machine, a car is made up of moving parts all working in unison to achieve an end. As you can imagine, the majority of car issues arise as a result of a fault somewhere along the line; in which case you are best off heading to a mechanic’s, as it can be challenging to discover where the problem has originated.

Fortunately not all car issues are such a conundrum. There are some issues that can be diagnosed easily and addressed, with the right know-how, immediately upon discovery. One example of such is a depleted (or ‘dead’) battery, the tell-tale sign of which is nothing; you insert the key, give it a twist and nothing happens. Just to clarify, if you turn the key and there is a sound or some sort of movement then your battery is not dead and the problem lies elsewhere.

There are several causes that can lead to a dead battery, the most common of which is some of the electrics, such as the headlights, A/C or radio, being left on over night or whilst the car is not running. Your battery could also die as a result of long periods of inactivity, poor battery upkeeps (low water levels, unclean terminals, etc.) old age, parasitic draw and extremely cold temperatures.

It the moment however the why is not essential, you need to get your car up and running. There are several ways of doing this, but the most simple is to get a jump start (or ‘Boost’) from a fellow driver. Knowing how to jump start a car is irrelevant however if, between you and your rescuer, you have no jump cables; which is why, and we cannot stress this enough, every car should have a set of jumper cables in it. Just to be safe.

To start with you need to find some kind soul who is willing to give you a boost, which is by far the most difficult part of the process; however once you have caught the attention of a Good Samaritan and they have pulled over to help you, you can begin.

  1. First things first, ensure both parties are safe from potential shocks and possible electrocution by making sure both cars are off.
  2. The jump cables will come with red and black clamps; the red being positive (+) and the black being negative (-). You will want to attach the positive, red clamps to the positive terminals of both car batteries, starting with the dead one.
  3. The negative black clamps on the other hand have to be done differently. On the battery of the working vehicle, attach the clamp to the negative port.
  4. The other clamp however is not attached to the negative terminal of the disabled car, and should instead be attached to any clean, unpainted, metallic surface on the engine block*.
  5. Start the car which is able to and allow it to run for around a couple of minutes before tying to start the dead car.
  6. Remove the negative, black jump cables, starting with the one attached to the engine block and the remove the positive, red cables starting with the one attached to the rescuer’s battery.
  7. To ensure that your car will not have the same issue next time you try to start it keep your car running for at least half an hour. If the problem persists despite your best efforts go to see a mechanic, as your battery may be experiencing issues, which need to be addressed professionally.

*Just as a side note, if you do connect the two negative terminals you will create a loop, which will cause sparks to flying and may result in an explosion. It is probably a good idea to avoid this.

There are alternative methods of starting your car without jump cables, but they are a little more difficult and only work with manual cars. The first method is quite simple and all you need is to be at the top of a hill, or some other sort of incline.

  1. Fully engage the clutch pedal, put the car in first gear and turn on the ignition.
  2. Take your foot of the break and allow the car to start rolling down the hill.
  3. Allow the car to coast until it reaches around 6 miles an hour.
  4. Release the clutch and the engine should start up. If it does not, then simply push the clutch back down and repeat the process.

If your battery has dies on a flat surface then you are going to need to replace gravity with a small group of people, who will push your car whilst you follow the steps listed above.

Post By Alem