If you drive any type of vehicle then one day you will have to face the annoying, and inconvenient reality of a dead car battery. Car batteries can go dead because an accessory like the radio, the interior lights, or other gadgets was left on so that they drained the battery. These items can also go dead because the external temperature is very low and the battery gets depleted, or because of age.
If you do have to face the dead car battery issue there are a few tricks you can try before you give up and call a service technician.
Dead Car Battery Tricks
One of the first tricks to use when you have a dead car battery is to turn off all accessories in the car. Turn the radio off, the air conditioner or heater off, turn off headlights, and turn off anything that is powered by the battery. Sometimes your battery is not completely dead so when you lessen the demand for the power you may have enough power to crank the car.
Inspect the battery and see if corrosion or a loose battery cable could be the problem. Battery terminals can become corroded over time. If you see any signs of corrosion you can loosen the battery clamp, then use a wire brush to brush away some of the corrosion, and then reconnect your battery clamps. Make certain that you connect the positive clamp to the positive terminal on the battery, and make sure that the clamp is fastened down tight so that it cannot be turned by your hand.
You should feel the battery clamp and see if it is loose. If you can move this clamp with your hand then it may need to be tightened so that it makes a good connection with the post. You can tap on the clamp but do not strike the clamp hard or you could damage the clamp or the battery.
If you have jumper cables and another battery that you can use to provide a boost of energy to your car battery then you can connect your dead battery to a hot battery with the booster cables. You need to remember the following things about using booster cables to jump start a car.
- Both cars need to be turned off when you are connecting the cables and the vehicles need to be in the park during this process.
- The red cables connect to the positive terminals and the black cables connect to the negative terminals. Do not cross these cables to the wrong terminals or you will cause a spark and possible damage.
- You need to be connecting your battery to a battery of the same voltage. Do not connect a 12 volt battery to a 24 volt battery.
- It may take some time for the battery to get enough of a charge to crank your engine. Do not rev up the engine on the running vehicle to try and speed up the process.
- Never let the ends of the battery cables come into contact with each other, or with any metal such as portions of the vehicle.
- When you disconnect the booster cables you should disconnect the positive cable from both vehicles and then disconnect the negative cables from both vehicles.
If you drive a vehicle with a standard transmission you can push start the car. You can do this by manually pushing the car, or by pushing the car to a slope or incline so it can freely roll, or by using another vehicle to push the car.
When you are going to push start standard vehicles to remember the following things:
- The vehicle needs to be in second gear
- Someone needs to be in the driver’s seat so they can depress the clutch and the brake
- The car needs to reach a rolling speed of at least five miles per hour before it will be able to crank in this method
- When the car reaches a speed of five miles an hour the person in the driver’s seat will quickly take their foot off of the clutch to engage the engine
- Once the engine cranks the clutch should be depressed so that the person in the driver’s seat has complete control of the vehicle
The biggest problem with booster cables is that they require another battery that is hot to connect the dead battery to. When your car battery goes dead it is usually when you are nowhere near another car to perform this action with.
If you have a car jump starter then you can simply take your jump starter out and connect it to your battery. The jump starter should be in the off position when you make the connection. Once the battery is connected to the jump starter you will switch the jump starter on and within a few minutes, your battery should have enough of a power boost to crank your vehicle.
You can call a roadside assistance service when your car battery is dead. The service will send someone to assist you, but it could take several hours for this service rep to reach you if you are in a remote location, or if it is a holiday, or if it is late at night.
Your best option for dealing with a dead car battery is to be prepared for this to happen. Buying a jump starter will allow you to always be prepared just in case your battery goes dead. If you camp, hike, or do outdoor things like this then you will have no worries about your battery going dead and you get stranded.
A jump starter will also provide you with an external power source that will charge your electronic devices like your cell phones and tablets. This feature will allow you to stay connected to all of your friends and family and not deplete your car battery while you are doing so. If your battery goes dead and your cell phone goes dead, then you could be stranded until someone comes to look for you. It is better to have a jump starter and not need it than to need one and not have it.