What to do when your car runs out of battery

Running out of battery while driving is a stressful experience that can happen to anyone. It’s a common problem, especially with electric vehicles. But don’t panic, there are several things you can do to resolve the issue.

First and foremost, if you haven’t already, you should sign up for a roadside assistance program. Most of them offer recharging services for electric vehicles, and the cost is usually included in the subscription.

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If you’re in the middle of nowhere and don’t have access to a charging station or a service provider, you can try some DIY methods to get your car moving again. This may include pushing the car to a safer location and jump-starting it with another vehicle’s battery.

However, it’s important to note that jump-starting an electric vehicle should be done only if you have the expertise and the proper equipment. Otherwise, you risk damaging the car’s electrical system or even putting yourself in danger.

In this article, we’ll explore some solutions for when your car runs out of battery and help you minimize the stress and inconvenience that comes with it.

Assess the situation

1. Find a safe spot

If your car battery runs out on a busy road, it is essential to get to a safe spot before doing anything. Pull over to a side of the road where there is no traffic around and turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

2. Check the battery level

If you do not have a clear idea of how much battery is remaining in your car, turn on the ignition key, and try to start the engine. If the engine does not start, it means that the battery is completely drained out.

3. Assess the time and location

Consider the time of the day and the location before you take any further action. If it’s dark outside, and you are in a secluded area, it might not be safe to stay in the car. In this case, call for roadside assistance or the police for help.

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If you are in a relatively safe area, and help is not immediately available, you can try to jump-start the car using jumper cables. However, make sure you know how to do it correctly, and you have another car with fully charged batteries to help you.

Call for Assistance

Call for Assistance

1. Contact Your Roadside Assistance Provider

If you have a membership with a roadside assistance provider, such as AAA or OnStar, call them for help. They may be able to jump-start your car or tow it to a nearby charging station.

2. Call a Towing Company

2. Call a Towing Company

If you don’t have a roadside assistance provider or they are unable to help, call a reputable towing company. Explain that your car has run out of battery and needs to be transported to a charging station or repair shop.

Note: Be sure to research the towing company beforehand and choose one with good reviews and reasonable prices.

3. Contact a Local EV Dealer

3. Contact a Local EV Dealer

If you drive an electric vehicle, consider contacting a local EV dealer for assistance. They may be able to provide a tow or loan you a charger while your car is being serviced.

Tip: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including your roadside assistance provider and local towing companies, in your car at all times.

Jump-start your car

Jump-start your car

What you’ll need

What you'll need

  • A second car with a good battery
  • Jumper cables

How to jump-start your car

  1. Connect the red jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  2. Connect the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
  3. Connect the black jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the good battery.
  4. Connect the other end of the black jumper cable to an unpainted metal surface on the dead car’s engine block.
  5. Start the car with the good battery and let it run for a few minutes.
  6. Try to start the dead car. If it doesn’t start, wait a few more minutes and try again.
  7. Once the dead car starts, remove the jumper cables in reverse order.
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Note: Jump-starting a car can be dangerous. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and take all necessary precautions to avoid injury or damage to your vehicles.

Prevent future battery failures

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance

To prevent future battery failures, it is important to perform regular maintenance on your car’s battery system. This includes checking the battery terminals and cables for corrosion, cleaning them if necessary, and testing the battery’s charge level. You can perform these checks yourself or take your car to a professional mechanic for a battery inspection.

Use your car regularly

Leaving your car idle for extended periods of time can cause the battery to drain and lose its charge. To prevent this from happening, try to use your car at least once a week and take it for a longer drive to recharge the battery. If you know you won’t be using your car for a while, consider disconnecting the battery or using a battery maintainer to keep it charged.

Monitor battery age

Monitor battery age

Batteries have a lifespan of around three to five years, depending on usage and conditions. To prevent unexpected battery failures, it’s important to monitor the age of your car’s battery and replace it before it reaches the end of its lifespan. You can find the age of your battery marked on the battery itself or in your car’s maintenance records.

Invest in a quality battery

Invest in a quality battery

When it comes time to replace your car’s battery, it’s worth investing in a high-quality battery from a trusted brand. While these batteries may be more expensive, they are often more reliable and have a longer lifespan than cheaper alternatives. Additionally, some brands offer warranties or roadside assistance in case of a battery failure.

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What should I do if my car battery is dead?

You can jump-start it using jumper cables and another vehicle, or call a tow truck to take it to a garage to be recharged or replaced.

Can I recharge my car battery by driving it?

Yes, driving your car can recharge the battery if the alternator is working properly, but it may take several hours of driving to fully recharge it.

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

Signs such as slow engine cranking, dim headlights, dashboard warning lights, and a clicking sound when turning the key all point to a dying battery.

How often should I replace my car battery?

Car batteries typically last between 3 and 5 years. However, extreme temperatures, too many short trips, and leaving your lights on can shorten this lifespan. You should replace your battery if it’s past its life expectancy or shows signs of failure.

Can I use any battery for my car?

No, you need to use a battery that is compatible with your car’s make and model. Check your owner’s manual or consult a mechanic for advice on the right type of battery for your vehicle.

What precautions should I take when jump-starting my car?

You should always wear eye protection and avoid smoking or using open flames during the process. Also, make sure the vehicles are not touching and the cables are connected properly.

What should I do if my car battery keeps dying?

You should have your car’s electrical system checked by a mechanic to find the underlying problem, whether it’s a faulty alternator, parasitic draw, or old wiring.

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Katherine Lee

As a female driver, I found the article “What to do when your car runs out of battery” informative and useful. As much as we don’t want it to happen, running out of battery can be a frustrating experience, especially when you’re in a hurry. The article’s tips on what to do when this happens will come in handy in the future. It is reassuring to know that there are steps to take to get your car back on the road when this problem arises. I particularly appreciated the warning to avoid jump-starting the car if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. The option of calling a professional or reaching out to a roadside assistance service is a smart one, and I will definitely keep that in mind. Thank you for sharing such an informative article that added to my motoring knowledge.

Natalie Carter

As a female driver, I found this article on what to do when your car runs out of battery extremely helpful. I never really knew what to do in this kind of situation before, and now I feel more confident if it were to happen to me. The fact that it provides step-by-step instructions on how to jumpstart your car is especially useful for someone like me who isn’t very knowledgeable about cars. I also appreciated the tips on how to prevent your battery from dying in the first place, which I will definitely keep in mind in the future. Overall, I would highly recommend this article to any driver, especially those like me who may not have much experience with cars.

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Samantha Cooper

As a female driver, I found this article really helpful. It’s very frustrating when the car battery dies unexpectedly, and knowing what to do in such a situation can be a real lifesaver. The article provides a step-by-step guide on what to do when your car runs out of battery, which I found easy to follow. I especially appreciated the tip on how to jump-start the car using cables as this is something I wouldn’t have known without reading this article. Overall, I think this article provides useful information for all drivers, whether experienced or not, and I would definitely recommend reading it.

Matthew Collins

As a male driver, I found this article really informative and helpful. It’s something that every car owner should know. The worst thing is being stuck on the road with a dead battery and not knowing what to do next. I particularly appreciated the tips on how to conserve battery power and things to do before the battery runs out. The section on how to jump-start a car with another vehicle was also very useful. However, I do wish that the article had gone into more detail on how to jump-start a car without another vehicle, as being stuck in an isolated area without any other car around can happen. Overall, this article is a must-read for car owners and I will be sure to keep a copy of it in my car.

Emily Scott

As a woman who loves to travel, I found this article very informative. The thought of my car running out of battery on a long trip has always scared me, but now I feel more confident knowing what to do if it happens. Charging the battery through jumper cables and calling for roadside assistance are great options that I never even considered before. Additionally, the article highlights the importance of carrying a portable charger and knowing how to use it. Overall, this is a must-read for any driver, especially women who may feel vulnerable while stuck on the side of the road.

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