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What to do when car battery wont start

So you turn the key and… nothing. Your car won’t start and you know it’s not the starter or the alternator. It could be a dead battery causing the problem. This can be a frustrating situation, especially if you’re in a hurry or far from home.

However, there are several things you can do to get your car running again. In this article, we’ll provide some tips and tricks that can help you diagnose and solve the problem quickly and easily.

First, let’s take a look at some of the common causes of a dead car battery. It could be that you left your lights on overnight, or that you haven’t driven your car for a while. Sometimes, a loose or corroded connection can also cause the battery to lose power. Another possible cause is extreme weather conditions, especially extreme cold.

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No matter what the cause, it’s important to know how to deal with a dead car battery. Keep reading to find out what to do when your car battery won’t start.

What to Do When Car Battery Won’t Start

What to Do When Car Battery Won't Start

Check for Loose Connections

Check for Loose Connections

If your car battery won’t start, the first thing you should do is check for loose connections on the battery terminal. Make sure that the clamps are attached tightly to the posts, and that the wires are not frayed or damaged. This can cause a weak connection, which can prevent the battery from charging properly.

Jump Start Your Car

Jump Start Your Car

If your battery is completely dead, you may need to jump start your car. This can be done by using jumper cables to connect the dead battery to another car’s battery. Make sure both cars are turned off before connecting the cables. Connect the red cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery, and the other end to the positive terminal of the live battery. Then connect the black cable to the negative terminal of the live battery, and the other end to a metal part of the dead car.

Replace the Battery

If your battery won’t start and it’s more than five years old, it’s likely time for a replacement. Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time, and this can make it difficult to start your car. Replace the battery with a new one, and make sure to dispose of the old battery properly.

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Get Professional Help

Get Professional Help

If you’ve tried all of the above and your car battery still won’t start, it’s time to seek professional help. A qualified mechanic can diagnose and fix any issues with the battery, or suggest other solutions. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself if you’re unsure of what to do, as this can potentially cause more damage.

  • Check for loose connections
  • Jump start your car
  • Replace the battery
  • Get professional help

Step 1: Check for Corrosion

Tools required:

Tools required:

  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Wire brush or battery terminal cleaner tool

One of the most common reasons why a car battery won’t start is because of corrosion on the terminals. Corrosion can build up over time and prevent the battery from making a good connection with the car’s electrical system. Before you jump to conclusions about a dead battery, it’s important to check for corrosion on the terminals.

Here are the steps to check for corrosion:

  1. Put on safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from any harmful chemicals.
  2. Pop the hood and locate the battery. Most cars have batteries located in the front of the engine bay, either on the left or right side.
  3. Inspect the battery terminals for any signs of corrosion. Corrosion looks like a white or green powdery substance on the metal contacts.
  4. If you see corrosion, use a wire brush or battery terminal cleaner tool to clean the terminals. Be gentle and take care not to damage the terminals.
  5. After cleaning the terminals, reconnect the cables and try starting the car. If it starts up, you’ve solved the problem!
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If cleaning the terminals doesn’t solve the problem, move on to the next step in troubleshooting your car battery.

Step 2: Jump-Start Your Car

Prepare for Jump-Starting

Before jump-starting your car, you need to prepare a few things:

  • Find another car with a working battery
  • Get a pair of jumper cables
  • Park both cars close enough so that the cables can reach both batteries
  • Make sure both cars are turned off

It’s important to follow these steps carefully to ensure your safety and prevent any damage to your car.

Connect the Jumper Cables

Connect the Jumper Cables

Once you’ve prepared everything, it’s time to connect the jumper cables:

  1. Open the hoods of both cars
  2. Attach one end of the red jumper cable to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery
  3. Attach the other end of the red cable to the positive (+) terminal of the working battery
  4. Attach one end of the black jumper cable to the negative (-) terminal of the working battery
  5. Attach the other end of the black cable to a metal part of the car with the dead battery, such as a bolt or bracket (but not to the battery itself)

Note that the order is important. You should never attach the black cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery, as this can cause a spark and explosion.

Jump-Start Your Car

Jump-Start Your Car

Once the cables are connected, it’s time to jump-start your car:

  1. Start the car with the working battery and let it run for a few minutes
  2. Try to start your car. If it doesn’t start, wait a few more minutes and try again
  3. Once your car starts, let it run for a few more minutes
  4. Remove the jumper cables in the reverse order you connected them
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Be careful when removing the cables and don’t let them touch each other or any metal surface. After jump-starting your car, it’s a good idea to drive it for at least 30 minutes to recharge the battery.


What are the common causes of a car battery not starting?

Some common causes include a dead battery, corroded connections, faulty alternator, and parasitic drain on the battery.

How can I tell if my car battery is dead?

If the engine doesn’t turn over, the headlights are dim, and the radio won’t turn on, it’s likely that your car battery is dead.

What should I do if my car battery is dead?

You can try jump-starting the car with jumper cables and another vehicle, or you can replace the battery.

Will a jump-start always fix a dead car battery?

No, a jump-start is only a temporary solution. If the battery is old, damaged, or not holding a charge, you’ll need to replace it.

How can I prevent my car battery from dying?

You can keep your battery charged by driving your car regularly and avoiding leaving electronics plugged in while the car is turned off. You should also have your battery and charging system checked regularly by a mechanic.

Does weather affect car battery performance?

Hot weather can cause the water in the battery to evaporate, which can lead to damage and reduced performance. Cold weather can also reduce battery performance, especially if the battery is old or weak.

What is a parasitic drain on a car battery?

A parasitic drain is a small electrical draw on the battery even when the car is turned off. This can be caused by things like a faulty electrical component, a short circuit, or a light or accessory left on in the car.

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David Johnson

As a male driver, I find the article “What to do when car battery won’t start” very informative and helpful. It’s frustrating when you’re ready to hit the road, and your car fails to start because of a dead or weak battery. The article offers practical tips on what to do to get your car up and running again. From checking the battery connections, cleaning the terminals, jump-starting the car, to replacing the battery, the article provides a step-by-step guide on how to troubleshoot the problem. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on safety precautions when working with a car battery, and the warning against attempting to jump-start a damaged battery. The article is well-written, presented in a user-friendly manner, and includes helpful images. Overall, I found this article to be a great resource for any driver, and I recommend it to others who might encounter a similar problem with their car battery.

Michael Wilson

As a car owner, I’ve experienced the frustration of a dead battery multiple times. This article provided clear and concise steps on how to troubleshoot and fix the problem. Starting with checking the connection and ending with replacing the battery if needed, the instructions were easy to follow. I particularly appreciate the tip on using jumper cables and the reminder to keep a portable jump starter in the car. Overall, this article is a helpful guide for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation and I’d recommend it to my fellow car owners.

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James Davis

As a male driver, I found this article very helpful in understanding the possible reasons behind a car battery that won’t start. It’s frustrating when you’re ready to hit the road, but your car won’t cooperate. Knowing the steps to take in such a situation will undoubtedly save me time and money in the long run. I appreciated how the article was not only informative but also very easy to understand, even for someone like me who isn’t particularly car-savvy. The troubleshooting section was especially helpful, as it provided quick and practical solutions that I could try before having to call a mechanic. Overall, I would recommend this article to any driver who wants to ensure their car runs smoothly, regardless of their level of expertise.

Adam Smith

I found this article very helpful as a man who is not very knowledgeable about car mechanics. It’s frustrating when your car battery won’t start, but the article provides clear steps to take in order to troubleshoot the problem and get your car running again. Testing the battery, checking the connections, and using jumper cables are all great suggestions. I also appreciated the tips on how to prevent future battery issues such as avoiding leaving lights on and checking the battery regularly. This article is a great resource for anyone who relies on their car and wants to be prepared for any potential issues.

Katherine Taylor

As a female driver, I often find myself at a loss when my car battery fails to start. The article “What to do when car battery won’t start” was incredibly helpful in providing easy-to-follow steps and troubleshooting tips. I especially appreciated the suggestion to check for corrosion on the battery terminals, something I had never considered before. The reminder to keep jumper cables on hand is also very useful and something I will definitely keep in mind for the future. Overall, I found the article to be informative and practical, perfect for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about cars. Thank you for providing such clear and concise guidance!

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