If you got yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere without jumper cables, that can be rather stressful. But don’t you worry, because most fellow drivers have been in that situation at least once in their lives. So, if you’re thinking really hard trying to figure out how to start a car with a dead battery without another car, you came to the right place!
Now, unless you’re careful, you’ll end up with a drained battery in the blink of an eye. Pretty much any electronic device in your vehicle is powered up by that one unit. That’s why in this short, yet informative guide, I’ll tell you everything there is to know. Without further ado, let’s focus on the task at hand and talk about jump-starting the engine without a proper set of cables.
Using a Jump Starter
If you’ve got a proper jump starter hidden somewhere in the back, life will be SO much easier! Usually, these devices come packed with long enough cables to get things done quickly and hassle-free. You can buy a decent unit for 100-200 bucks (the price is mostly dictated by how powerful the starter is). Make sure it doesn’t take forever to recharge itself (4-5 hours is the average time) and is strong enough.
By that, I mean only consider a jump starter that can provide 30 (20 will also do) charges before running out of juice. Some starters have a built-in flashlight. It can be rather helpful if the car gives up on you when it’s dark outside and you don’t even have a charged up phone that can shed some light. Good news: most jump starters are protected against voltage spikes (in contrast to jump cables). And here’s how you use it:
- First things first, connect the red clamp to the +/positive post of the drained battery unit
- The black clamp, in turn, needs to be grounded. Any part of the car’s body frame that doesn’t have paint on should do
- Next, switch the jump starter on and let it do its thing
- It shouldn’t take it more than two to three minutes to charge the battery
- If nothing happens (the vehicle refuses to start), give it an extra minute or two
- That should do the trick. Turn the jump starter off and remove the clamps
- This is important: make sure you remove the black clamp first and only then the red one.
Doing it without any Equipment or Tools
But what if you don’t have a jump starter? What are your options then? Well, there is one, and it involves a lot of pushing. As a matter of fact, you’ll need a buddy’s help – he’s gonna do all the pushing while you try to get that engine running. Yes, there’s nothing fancy about this one: instead of powering the battery up with a jump starter, the engine should be brought back to life by pure force.
It would be best to put a pair of non-conductive gloves on, as we’re dealing with dangerous stuff here. Here’s how it goes:
- Your friend gets behind the car and gets ready to give the pushing his best
- You turn the ignition on and engage the parking brake
- Switch to the 2nd gear (don’t forget to push the clutch)
- What’s wrong with the 1st gear, you might ask? Well, it’s not very reliable and might not run very smoothly
- Next, you hit the brake pedal and let go of the parking brake
- Release the brake, and only then ask that buddy of yours to get to pushing
- Once you reach +/- 5 miles per hour on the speedometer, swiftly release the clutch
- With a little bit of luck, that’ll be enough for the engine to come back to life
- If that doesn’t happen, repeat everything and slowly increase the speed
- That’s not helping either? Well, then the battery isn’t the root of the problem.
Letting the Pros Handle It
If you’re one of those drivers that don’t like getting their hands dirty, getting in contact with road assistance might be the best course of action for you. Besides, it’s usually covered by the insurance plan (unless you went extra cheap with it). Get that insurance card ready: the phone number must be on it. Towing services around the country always come prepared with jump starters (and cables).
Some even carry extra batteries, just in case the jump-starting doesn’t work. Give them a call, and wait for a specialist to come to your assistance. It usually doesn’t take them long to arrive at the “crime scene”. I strongly recommend giving the mechanic a small tip (like ten dollars or so). Trust me: it will be a worthy investment, as the man will do his best to get the job done after that tip.
A dead battery isn’t of much use. It can’t power up the lights, stereo system, radio, or air conditioning. Even the best group 65 battery can run out of power and become unable to start the car. On the bright side – that’s not the end of the world. As we learned today, there are some things that you can do to get back on the road without losing breaking a sweat and spending hours trying to get everything to work.
If you’ve still got some questions that you want to hear answers to, don’t hesitate to hit me in the comments. I can help find the right gear/accessories for your vehicle or share my expertise on how to effectively jump-start a car in extreme situations. Drive safely, keep your eyes on the road, and don’t forget to buy a decent jump starter!