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Car Troubleshooting: Tips on Jump-Starting a Dead Car Battery

Well, this sucks! There you are, tired after a hard day’s work. All you wanted to do was to just go home and rest. But as you try gunning the engine, nothing happens! You check the muffler, the gearbox—still nothing!


Chances are, your car battery is dead, and you need to jump start it to get it back on the road. Kind of reminds you of a doctor having to defibrillate a patient, doesn’t it? Luckily, doing that isn’t exactly hard. Here are a few simple pointers to follow:


(Note: The process of jump starting a vehicle for manual transmission and automatic transmission differs to some degree. Don’t try one method with the other and vice versa!)


Getting Started

  • If you’re a smoker, remove the cigarette from your mouth first before working on the battery as it is full of sulfuric acid which produces flammable hydrogen gas.
  • Another thing to remember is to turn off the engine before disconnecting the battery.
  • Check your vehicle’s headlights. If they’re not turning on or if the light is not that bright then your problem is most likely to be your battery. However, if your headlights are turning on, your problem is something else.
  • Put the key in the ignition and see whether your dashboard lights up as usual. Test the stereo. In most cases, even with a low battery you should see some dashboard lights and get some sound out of the stereo. If you do not get a flicker out of your dashboard, you may have a problem with your ignition switch.
  • Use a voltmeter to check your battery’s charge. If the voltmeter reads 12.2, it’s a steady 50%. But if your voltmeter shows that the battery is 12.0, then you better prepare some cash as you will soon be replacing that battery. Your battery is empty when the reading ranges from 0 to 11.9.


For Manual Transmission Vehicles

You might think that you’ll need a pair of jumper cables to jump start your vehicle’s battery. In truth, all you need is a little elbow grease and patience!

  • First, shift to second gear then switch the ignition key on.
  • Look for some people to help you push your car.
  • Floor the clutch then signal them to start pushing.
  • Once you have enough speed, quickly release the clutch onto the gas.
  • Floor the clutch and lightly press on the gas pedal then shift to neutral gear.
  • Brake to stop the car. If it is ineffective, repeat.


For Automatic Transmission Vehicles

If you’re driving an automatic transmission vehicle, always bring a pair of jumper cables as you will never know when you will need it. What we will be teaching you is the Series Method wherein you need another vehicle to jump start your battery (there are also other techniques, but more on those later).

  • Park the other car in front of your vehicle. Remove the keys from the ignitions.
  • Open the hood and connect the positive end of the red cable to your dead battery. Connect the other end to the positive terminal of the other vehicle.
  • Connect the black cable to the negative terminal of your car. Do the same with the other vehicle.
  • Gun the engine of the rescue car and tap the gas pedal to charge the dead battery. Do this for a minute.
  • Try starting your vehicle and carefully press the gas pedal to charge your battery. Do this for a couple of minutes.
  • Disconnect the cables by first removing the positive of your battery then the other car’s. Next is the negative of your battery then the other vehicle’s.


Follow these tips and your ride will be up and running in a jiffy. Still, should you encounter any more problems, don’t hesitate to call your nearest trusted mechanic.

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