What to do when car battery dead

A car battery that is dead or has insufficient power can be a frustrating situation for any driver. It can happen unexpectedly and at the most inconvenient times. In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix a dead car battery.

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When your car battery is dead, the first thing to do is to determine the reason why. It could be due to a number of factors such as leaving your headlights on, failing alternator, or simply old age. Knowing the reason will help you determine the best course of action to take.

One option is to jumpstart the battery using jumper cables and another 12-volt battery. This is a simple process that can get your car back on the road in a matter of minutes. However, if the battery is completely drained, it may take longer to fully charge it.

Alternatively, if the battery is too old or damaged, you may need to replace it entirely. This can be easily done at a local auto parts store or mechanic. Make sure to choose the right battery for your car’s make and model.

Call for jump-start assistance

Call for jump-start assistance

What is jump-start assistance?

What is jump-start assistance?

Jump-start assistance can help you kick start your car battery if it’s dead or has insufficient power to start the engine. This is done by connecting your car battery to another car’s battery or an appropriate external power source.

How can you get jump-start assistance?

How can you get jump-start assistance?

If your car battery is dead, you can call for jump-start assistance from a professional service provider or utilize the help of a passerby when available. Make sure you have jumper cables with you, so the other driver can connect to your battery.

Many countries, states, and cities across the globe offer jump-start assistance as a public service on specific highways, streets, and public areas for free or a fee. It’s always helpful to have a list of service providers available in your area, so you’re equipped with the right information when you need help.

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Things to remember before jump-starting your car

Things to remember before jump-starting your car

  • Make sure the other car’s battery is not damaged and is adequate enough to jump-start yours.
  • Ensure that both vehicles are in the right position and their batteries are close enough to connect with jumper cables.
  • Turn their engine off before connecting jumper cables and start with the positive cable on the dead battery and the other end of the positive cable on the live battery.
  • Attach the negative cable to the live battery before attaching it to an unpainted metal surface on the dead car
  • Start the engine of the rescue vehicle and let it run for a few minutes before trying to start your car. If your car doesn’t start when you turn the key, you may need to let the jumped vehicle run for a few more minutes to receive an adequate charge.

By following these precautions and reaching out to jump-start assistance when needed, you can save time and avoid headaches caused by a dead battery.

Use a portable jump-start kit

What is a portable jump-start kit?

What is a portable jump-start kit?

A portable jump-start kit is a handy device that can help you start a dead battery in your car without the need of another vehicle or a power source. It contains a battery and booster cables that can jump-start your car’s battery and get it back to life.

How to use a portable jump-start kit?

How to use a portable jump-start kit?

To use a portable jump-start kit, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off all the electrical appliances in your car, including the headlights, radio, and air conditioning.
  2. Connect the portable jump-start kit to your car’s battery. Make sure to connect the positive cable (red) to the positive terminal of your car’s battery, and the negative cable (black) to a metal part of your car’s frame.
  3. Turn on the portable jump-start kit and let it charge your car’s battery for a few minutes.
  4. Try to start your car. If it doesn’t start, wait for a few more minutes and try again.
  5. Disconnect the portable jump-start kit from your car’s battery. Make sure to disconnect the negative cable first, and then the positive cable.
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What to consider when buying a portable jump-start kit?

When buying a portable jump-start kit, consider the following factors:

  • The size and weight of the kit. Make sure it is easy to carry and store in your car.
  • The cranking Amps (CA) and cold cranking Amps (CCA) of the kit, which determine how powerful it is and how well it can jump-start your car’s battery.
  • The compatibility of the kit with your car’s battery.
  • The features of the kit, such as built-in lights, USB ports, and reverse-polarity protection.

Using a portable jump-start kit is a quick, safe, and convenient way to start a dead battery in your car. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions when using the kit, and always keep it fully charged and ready to use in case of an emergency.

Check and clean battery terminals

Check and clean battery terminals

Step 1: Turn off the engine and safety precautions

Before getting started, make sure to turn off your car engine, set the parking brake, and wear protective gloves and glasses. Battery terminals might have a white powdery substance, also known as corrosion, which can be harmful to eyes and skin.

Step 2: Check battery terminals

Open up the car hood and locate the battery. Check the terminals for any signs of corrosion, dirt, or grime. The battery terminals consist of two metal posts, positive and negative, which are usually marked with a plus (+) and a minus (-) sign.

Step 3: Remove cables and clean terminals

Safely remove the cables from the battery. Start with the negative cable, marked with a black insulation, and then the positive cable, marked with a red insulation. Use a wire brush or a battery terminal cleaning tool to clean the terminals and cable clamps. Make sure there is no corrosion or debris left on the terminals.

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Step 4: Reconnect cables and test

Step 4: Reconnect cables and test

Reconnect the cables in reverse order, starting with the positive cable first, and then the negative cable. Tighten the cable clamps securely. Close the hood and start the car. Check if the issue of a dead battery is resolved or not. A working battery should deliver a smooth start-up.

Note: If the battery terminals are severely corroded or damaged, consider getting them replaced. If the battery is too old or has gone through multiple dead cycles, it might be prudent to replace it with a new one. Regular inspection and maintenance can help avoid battery issues.

Replace the battery if necessary

Replace the battery if necessary

Assessing the battery

Assessing the battery

If your car battery is dead and you’ve tried to jump-start it but it still won’t hold a charge, it may be time to replace the battery. A car battery typically lasts about 4-5 years but can fail sooner if not properly maintained. You can assess the battery by checking the voltage with a multimeter or taking it to a mechanic to test. If the battery is below 12.4 volts, it may need to be replaced.

Choosing a replacement battery

When choosing a replacement battery, make sure to check the owner’s manual for the recommended type of battery. You can also choose a battery based on the cold cranking amps (CCA) and reserve capacity (RC) ratings. The CCA rating indicates the battery’s ability to start the engine in cold temperatures, while the RC rating indicates the battery’s ability to run the car’s electrical components if the alternator fails.

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It’s important to choose a battery that fits your car’s make and model and meets the specifications outlined in the manual. You can purchase a replacement battery at an auto parts store or online.

Installing the battery

Before installing the new battery, make sure to disconnect the negative cable from the old battery. Remove the old battery and clean the battery tray. Place the new battery in the tray and connect the positive cable first, then the negative cable. Make sure the cables are tightened securely and the battery is securely in place.

It’s important to dispose of the old battery properly by taking it to a recycling facility or auto parts store that accepts used batteries.

  • Tip: Consider purchasing a battery tender or trickle charger to maintain the new battery’s charge when the car is not in use.


What are the main causes of a dead car battery?

The main causes of a dead car battery can be leaving the headlights or other electronic components on, a faulty alternator, or a battery that has reached the end of its lifespan.

Can I jumpstart my car with another vehicle?

Yes, you can jumpstart your car with another vehicle by connecting the negative and positive terminals of the batteries with jumper cables. Make sure to follow the proper safety precautions and instructions.

What should I do if my car battery is dead and I don’t have another vehicle to jumpstart it?

You can try to use a portable battery charger or call for roadside assistance. You may also be able to find a nearby auto parts store that offers battery charging services.

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How long does it take to charge a car battery with a portable charger?

The time it takes to charge a car battery with a portable charger can vary depending on the charger and the battery’s condition. It may take several hours or more to fully charge the battery.

Is it safe to handle a car battery?

Car batteries contain sulfuric acid, which can be dangerous if it comes into contact with skin or eyes. It is important to wear gloves and eye protection when handling a car battery and to follow proper disposal procedures when replacing it.

What are some signs that my car battery is about to die?

Some signs that your car battery is about to die may include dimming headlights, difficulty starting the engine, or a clicking sound when you turn the key in the ignition. It is important to have your battery tested regularly to catch any potential issues before they become a problem.

Can extreme weather conditions affect my car battery?

Yes, extreme weather conditions can affect your car battery. Cold temperatures can make it more difficult for the battery to start the engine, while hot temperatures can cause the battery to lose power more quickly. It is important to take steps to protect your battery in extreme temperatures, such as keeping it well-maintained and parked in a garage or shady area.


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William Davis

As a male driver, I’ve experienced the frustrating scenario of a dead car battery. This article provided some helpful tips on what to do in such a situation. I appreciated the reminders to first check if the battery simply needs a jump, and if so, the proper steps to take to do so safely. Additionally, the suggestions on how to prevent future dead batteries such as regularly maintaining a proper charge and checking for corrosion were useful. Overall, this article was a good refresher and I’ll be sure to keep these tips in mind for any future car battery issues.

Robert Taylor

As a male driver, I found this article incredibly helpful in addressing the frustrating and often unexpected issue of a dead car battery. The step-by-step instructions provide a clear and concise guide on how to jump-start a car, and the explanations for why the battery died in the first place were informative. I also appreciated the list of preventative measures to avoid future dead batteries. Overall, this article is a must-read for any driver and is a useful resource to keep in mind the next time my car battery decides to give out. Thanks for the helpful tips!

John Brown

As a guy who has encountered numerous situations with a dead car battery, I found this article very helpful and informative. The step-by-step guide on how to jumpstart a car really helped me out when I was stranded on the side of the road. It’s always good to know exactly what to do in case of an emergency, and this article provides that knowledge. From checking the connections to calling for roadside assistance, the article covers all the possible solutions to a dead car battery. I also appreciate the tips on how to prevent this from happening in the future, such as turning off all electronics before exiting the car. Overall, this article is a great resource for anyone who drives a car and wants to be prepared for the unexpected.

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Emma Johnson

As a female driver, I found this article on what to do when your car battery is dead to be really helpful. I’ve been in situations before where my battery has died and I was left feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. This article provided clear and concise steps to take in order to jump start your car or replace your battery. It was also great to know what not to do to avoid any dangerous situations. I especially appreciated the tip about keeping a portable jump starter in my car – I will definitely be investing in one of those! Overall, great advice that every driver should know.

James Wilson

As a male driver, I found this article on “What to do when car battery dead” very informative and useful. It happens quite often that the car battery dies at the most unexpected moments, and it can be quite frustrating, especially when you need your car the most. The article provided several solutions to this problem, from using jumper cables to jump-starting the car to replacing the battery. The step-by-step instructions were easy to follow, and the article also emphasized the importance of having a reliable car battery and maintaining it regularly. I also appreciated the tips on how to prevent the battery from dying in the first place, such as turning off the lights and other electrical devices when the car is not in use. Overall, this article was a great help, and I recommend it to all fellow drivers who may encounter the same problem.

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