Car Basics: How to Jump-start Your Car Battery
Coffee is poured, teeth are brushed, you’re ready to get this day started. You hop in your car and try to start it, just like you do every morning. Only this time, your car isn’t sharing in your “ready to start the day” energy.
We know sometimes a light accidentally gets left on, or that recommendation you got for a battery change a few months back might have fallen off your busy to-do list. Life happens! Thankfully, when it comes to a dead battery, there is often an easy solution to get your day up and running again.
Let’s talk about three common reasons your engine won’t start and what you can do yourself about one of the most common ones.
- There is silence when you turn the key, or your car makes a clicking noise but won’t actually start. Your battery is dead or you have bad battery connection. You can look under the hood to see if the connecting wires are corroded which can cause your battery to not give your car the power it needs to start. Another way to confirm it’s your battery is to try turning on an interior light. If it goes dim or won’t stay on, your battery needs to be recharged or replaced. This is where a simple jump-start outlined below will be your best friend.
- Your car cranks over but won’t start. This could be an issue with your fuel injector or spark plugs.
- Your engine starts but dies. Most likely your fuel injector is to blame.
While fuel injector and spark plug issues will probably require a professional’s help, if the issue really is just a standard dead battery that’s still in good shape, a jump-start may be all you need to get back on the road.
We are huge fans of new car technology- but be sure to double check that neither car has an electronic ignition system or uses alternative fuels. If so, the use of jumper cables could damage either car.
When it comes to jumpstarting your car, you have two options for an energy source. The first option is a portable jumpstart battery easily found at any online retailers that you can store in your car for emergencies. The second option in a pinch is to ask another driver if they can help jump start your car off of their car’s battery. All you’ll need is a set of jumper cables.
- Place both cars in Park. Turn off the ignitions.
- Remove the caps from both batteries if they have them.
- Next you’re going to connect the cables in a specific order. But first, identify your positive cable which has red clips at each end, and your negative cable which has black clips at each end.
- First attach a positive cable (red) to the positive terminal of your dead battery. It should say POS or show a “+” sign and often is slightly bigger.
- Next, attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other person’s car battery.
- Attach a black clip to the negative terminal on the other person’s battery.
- Attach the final black clip to an unpainted metal surface of your car that isn’t near your battery.
- Ask the other driver to start the car that is working and let it run for a few minutes.
- At this point you can try to start your vehicle. If it doesn’t start, ask the other driver to run theirs for about five minutes and then try yours again. If it still won’t start, you may need a new battery or there is another problem preventing your car from starting.
- If it does start, don’t get so excited to thank that good samaritan driver that you turn off your engine in the process. Leave your car running for at least 15 minutes and drive it around for a while to recharge your battery. If your car won’t start the next time you turn it off after you’ve given it some time to recharge, this means your battery is not holding a charge and needs to be replaced.
If your attempt to jump-start your car battery doesn’t work, don’t worry. We’ve got your back! We want to get you back on the road safely. Our ASE-certified technicians will diagnose exactly what is wrong with your car, explain your options to you, and let you decide what’s best for your car.
We also know that life doesn’t pause for a car that won’t start. That’s why we offer free Wi-Fi in our clean and comfortable lobby, as well as a courtesy shuttle that’s ready and available to get you where you need to go.
Whether it’s a simple dead battery or something more major, Christian Brothers Round Rock is here to help. Give us a call at 512-920-6658 or schedule an appointment online by clicking the link below and we’ll get you taken care of.