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Can a Car Battery Be Too Dead to Jump Start?

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Your car battery dying is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to your car. Your car battery is charged by your car’s alternator. If your car battery dies completely, this is likely due to an issue with the connection or with the alternator itself.

But, if your car battery dies and you’re nowhere near a garage, you can easily jump start it (with the help of someone else that is).

The best way to get your car going again is to jump start it. But, can a car battery be too dead to jump start? Luckily, the answer is, generally, no. It doesn’t matter how dead your car battery is, a jump start should give it a bit of extra life.

In fact, it’s better to jump start your car when it is completely dead. Read on or scroll down to find out why. Plus, check out our guide to jump starting your car battery.

How a Jump Start Works

As mentioned above, your car battery is charged by the alternator. If there is a problem with the alternator or the connection, then your car battery will run dead.

A jump start uses charging cables to connect the battery to another power source. Usually, this will be the car battery of a helpful driver you have managed to flag down.

The charging cables connect your car battery to the battery of another car. Then they transfer some of the power from the other battery to yours. This starts your battery up again.

How to Jump Start Your Car

Jump starting your car might be a little intimidating. But it is quite simple. Here are our simple steps to jump starting your car.

Step One: Get some Help

To jump start your car, you’re going to need another car with a full battery. If you can, flag down or call a friend to help you out.

Without another car battery, you’re not going to be able to connect the charge cables to anything. So you won’t be able to charge the battery.

Step Two: Locate the Batteries

This might seem obvious but how many of us could say that they know exactly where their car battery is? If you’re not sure, take a look through your car’s manual.

It’s better to double-check if you’re right than accidentally send a bolt of electricity through the wrong part of your car.

Step Three: Check for Leaks

This is an important step and shouldn’t be skipped. When your battery dies, it emits hydrogen gas. This is very dangerous.

If you think your car is leaking hydrogen, do not attempt to jump start it and call a professional.

Step Four: Attach the Cables

Once you’re sure that it is safe, you can connect the jumper cables to the car batteries. Your car should be turned off for the entire process.

When attaching the cables, make sure that no part of the cables is touching any part of the car, other than the battery. The clasps of the jumper cables should also not touch each other.

Step Five: Charge the Battery

Now it’s time to actually charge the battery of your car. The other driver should turn their car on. They should then rev the engine for a minute or two.

After this, try turning on your own car. Do this carefully and slowly. Your car should come back to life. Once it has turned on again, remove the jumper cables and safely put them away.

If, after 10 minutes or so, your car doesn’t start, then you may have bigger problems. This is when you need to call a professional.

Safety Tips

As you can imagine, doing anything to your car can be dangerous. Not only to your car but also to you.

So, make sure to read through and follow these safety tips to make sure you damage your car (or yourself).

  • If in doubt, don’t. If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to jump start your car properly, then don’t. If you don’t feel confident jump starting a car yourself, then it’s definitely a good idea to call a mechanic. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing damage to your car which will cost you more time and money in the long run.
  • Go to the garage. Even if jump starting your car seems to have completely fixed everything, it’s still a good idea to get your car checked out. Having your car battery die is infuriating and you don’t want to have to repeatedly jump start it. So, to avoid further issues, it’s definitely a good idea to get it checked out.
  • Make sure that the battery is completely dead. If you try to jump start your car when the battery isn’t completely dead it can become permanently damaged.

Causes of a Dead Battery

Your car battery can die for a number of reasons. Very rarely do they just stop and die. The problems are usually gradual.

Here are just a few reasons why your car battery might have died:

  • Age. If you haven’t changed your car battery in a good few years, it could just be worn out. You should have your car battery replaced every 3 to 4 years.
  • Extreme temperatures. If you live somewhere very cold or very hot, your car battery might not be able to cope. If the temperature goes over 100°F or under 10°F, this can cause sulfate crystals to build-up and damage the battery.
  • Defective alternator. As mentioned above, your car battery could die due to a problem with the alternator that charges it. If there is a problem with the alternator, then this will persist and cause other problems as well. This is because the alternator also powers other electrical systems in your car. So you might begin having problems with the radio, air-conditioning, windows, and lights. So, it’s best to get your car checked out before anything else goes wrong.
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