What to Do When Your Car Battery is Dead?

There are several factors that lead to a car battery’s death.

For one, you battery might be too old and it has reached the end of its life span. Most car batteries last for about 2-3 years. If you take care of it well, you may be able to extend the life of your battery for another year or two.

On top of that, other factors may also come into play when it comes to the demise of a battery:

what to do when your car battery is dead

  • You might have stored your car for long without starting it. If you are going away for a vacation or if you will not use your car for an extended period, it’s wise to ask a member of the family or a friend to get your car running occasionally. That will prevent the battery from deteriorating.
  • You frequently leave the headlights, the radio, flashers, and interior lights when the car is not running. The interior lights, in particular could be left on if you do not close your car doors properly.
  • Using the air conditioner while the car is not running.
  • Extremely low temperatures can freeze your battery. This may be especially true for diesel engines that use glow plugs. This is also true for cars that are left in the open during the winter. I, myself, live in an apartment complex and I don’t have a garage, so this could be a more common occurrence.

What to do when your car battery is dead

When your car battery dies, what you really need to do is to jump start the battery. That simply means supplying power from the outside to help your battery start the process of igniting the engine.

Most of the time, you will need other people to help you with this process, unless you have a device like a car battery jump starter.

Jump Starting Your Car

1. Manual Transmission Jump Start

For manual transmission vehicles, put the transmission stick to the second gear, step on the clutch, and ask some good Samaritans to push your car. When it has achieved a good speed, release the clutch and pump some gas. In most cases, that should be enough to get your car going. But if you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere and nobody is willing to help you, you will need to call for roadside assistance.

2. Jumpstart your car with another car.

If you have another car, you can do this by yourself. You will need jumper cables to connect the dead battery to the working battery. Remember to connect the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of both batteries. Connect one end of the black jumper cable to the negative terminal of the working battery, then connect the other end to an unpainted metal surface in the engine–something like a bolt. While you can do this alone, it helps to have the assistance of a friend.

what-to-do-when-your-car-battery-dies
image: Stephen via Flickr

3. Use a car battery jump starter.

This is probably the best option in cases of an emergency. If your battery dies while you’re at home, you can just leave your car home and then take a taxi, use Uber, or ask to ride with a friend. But what if you’re on a trip or in the middle of nowhere? And help is not easy to come by?

Then owning one of these portable jump starters will be your life saver.

These devices are easy to store, they are not too expensive. In fact, you can get one for less than $100. You also have the option to buy one with other features such as an air compressor, or get one that doubles as a power source for your gadgets when you’re out in the great outdoors.

Lastly, don’t forget to have your battery checked.

A jump starter is but a temporary measure to bring your battery back from the dead. The truth of the matter is, it may be time for you to buy a new battery. Winter is probably the worst time to have your battery replaced. By the end of summer, you should be checking your battery to avoid it from dying on you.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? How did you deal with it?

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