Can You Push Start an Automatic Car?

There are nothing more frustrating than getting into your car, turning the key, and hearing nothing but silence. If your car doesn’t start, it could be due to several issues, but one of the most common causes is a dead battery and maybe you even noticed the battery light popping up on your dashboard last time you drove.

Automatic cars have a transmission system that is different from manual cars. For a car to start, the engine must be cranked over at a high enough speed to start the engine.

This article will cover if you can push start an automatic car, how to prevent the battery from dying, and how to counter a dead battery in the future.

Can You Push Start an Automatic Car?

Most of us know a car can be push started if it has a manual transmission.

You have to have someone push the car while you hold down the clutch, put the car in second gear, and let go of the clutch when speed is built up.

The car should start right up even if the battery is dead. But what about an automatic transmission car? Can you push start an automatic car?

An automatic transmission car can not be push started because of the open clutch in the transmission. When you push start a car, the wheels are used to turn the transmission, which then cranks the engine. The open clutch in an automatic car will not engage, preventing you from push starting your car.

On the other hand, a manual car can be push started because the clutch can engage after the car has gained enough momentum to crank the engine over.

Why Can’t You Push Start an Automatic Car?

Automatic transmissions are the most popular type of transmission in modern vehicles, and they are also found in a wide variety of other machinery, including tractors, buses, and large trucks.

While they offer many advantages over manual transmission, they also have some disadvantages, such as the potential for greater fuel consumption and the need for more frequent maintenance.

Besides that, automatic cars can’t be push started because of the open clutch in the automatic transmissions. The clutch must be engaged after momentum and speed are built up, which is impossible on automatic transmission cars.

You can’t push start an automatic car because the transmission is not designed to be cranked by the wheels. In an automatic car, the engine must be cranked over by the starter motor in order for the car to start.

How to Start an Automatic Car with a Dead Battery

If your battery is dead and you’re in an automatic car, you can still start your car by using jumper cables.

However, you can not do this without another functioning car or battery. You will need to connect the jumper cables from the working car’s battery to your dead car’s battery.

Here are a few great tips to keep in mind when using jumper cables:

  • Ensure that the jumper cables are long enough to reach from one battery to the other.
  • Make sure that the clamps on the jumper cables are tight and secure.
  • Do not let the ends of the jumper cables touch each other while they’re attached to the batteries.
  • Be careful not to touch the ends of the jumper cables to any metal surfaces on the car.
  • Do not try to jump-start a vehicle if the battery is leaking acid.

On the other hand, you could carry a portable jump starter in the car with you. This is both a safer and a lot more convenient option as you don’t need a second car or battery.

1. Get a Pair of Jumper Cables

The first step is to get a set of jumper cables. If you don’t have a set, you can usually borrow them from a friend or neighbor.

Once you have the jumper cables, find another car with a working battery to use as a power source.

2. Bring a Working Car or Battery

The next step is to bring a working car or battery over to where your car is parked. If you’re using another car, park it nose to nose with your car, ensuring that the batteries are as close together as possible.

If you’re using a portable jump starter, you can park your car wherever you like since the jump starter will be supplying the power, not another car.

3. Attach the Jumper Cables to the Good Battery

The third step is to attach the jumper cables to the good battery. Ensure that you connect the positive wire to the positive terminal and the negative wire to the negative terminal.

4. Attach the Jumper Cables to the Bad Battery

The fourth step is to attach the other end of the jumper cables to your car’s battery. Again, make sure that you connect the positive wire to the positive terminal and the negative wire to the negative terminal.

5. Start the Car with the Good Battery

The fifth step is to start the car with a good battery and let it run for a few minutes. This will give the dead battery a chance to charge up a bit.

6. Wait a Few Minutes

Once the jumper cables are connected, you will need to wait for a few minutes before starting your car. This is because it takes time for the battery to charge enough to start the car.

7. Start the Car with the Dead Battery

After waiting for a few minutes to let the battery charge up a bit, you should be able to start your car with the dead battery. If it doesn’t start, you may need to wait a bit longer or try again.

What If the Automatic Car Doesn’t Start?

Ensure the battery cables are correctly connected to make sure they have a good connection. A secure connection is necessary for the car to receive electric power.

1. Inspect the Ground Connection

Check the ground connection if the battery cables are tightly secured to the battery terminals. The ground wire must be securely connected to a metal surface on the car.

2. Check the Fuse Box

Inspect the fuse box for a blown fuse if the ground connection is secure. A blown fuse can prevent electric power from reaching the car’s electrical components.

3. Replace the Battery

If the fuse box is in working order, the problem may be with the battery. The battery might be bad and will need to be replaced.

If you need to install a new battery, follow the instructions that come with the battery. Incorrect installation can damage the car’s electrical system.

4. Check Alternator

The alternator could also be faulty, causing the battery not to charge. To check the alternator, take it to a mechanic and have it tested.

5. Call for Roadside Assistance

Last case scenario, if the car still does not start, call for roadside assistance. Roadside assistance should be able to help you get your car started or towed to a nearby service station.

How to Prevent the Car Battery from Dying

If your car battery does happen to die, there are a few things you can do to help prevent it from happening again in the future.

1. Park in the Shade

One of the best ways to prevent the car battery from dying is to park in the shade.

This will help keep the battery cool and prevent it from overcharging..

2. Turn Off the Lights

Another way to prevent the car battery from dying is to turn off the lights when you’re not using them.

This includes the headlights, taillights, and interior lights.

3. Avoid Using Powered Devices when the Car Is Off

Powered devices, such as stereos and GPS systems, can drain the battery even when the car is turned off.

To prevent a battery from draining, it’s best to avoid using these devices, including charging your phone, when the car is not running.

4. Disconnect the Battery Cables

If you know you’re not going to be using your car for an extended period, it’s wise to disconnect the battery while the car is not in use. This will help prevent the battery from draining.

5. Give the Battery Some TLC

Finally, make sure to give your car TLC and keep the battery clean. A dirty battery can cause it to overheat and die prematurely.

Keep the battery terminals free of corrosion and grime. Ensure the battery terminals are secure and clean.

If the battery is over three years old, it’s good to have it tested and replaced if necessary.

Regular maintenance will help prolong the battery’s life and prevent it from dying prematurely.

6. Invest in a Portable Jump Starter

A portable jump starter can definitely be a lifesaver if you don’t have jumper cables or another car to jump-start your car.

A portable jump starter is a small, self-contained battery that you can use to jump-start your car.

Simply connect the jump starter’s positive and negative leads to your car battery’s positive and negative terminals.

Next turn on the jump starter and let it run for a few minutes.

Once the jump starter is running, you can start your car.

A portable jump starter is a convenient way to jump-start your car, and it’s also much safer than using jumper cables.

When using a portable jump starter, read the instructions carefully.

Some jump starters have a built-in light that can be used as a flashlight. This can be a handy tool if your car breaks down at night.

It’s also a good idea to keep a set of jumper cables in your car, just in case you need to jump-start another car.


Can You Push an Automatic Car in Neutral?

Yes, you can push an automatic car in neutral. An automatic car in neutral gear can be pushed just as easily as a manual car in neutral gear. However, you can not push start an automatic car.

Can I Push Start an Automatic?

No, you cannot push start an automatic car. A car must be in either first or second gear to be push started. Pushing a car in neutral gear will not turn on the engine or start the car.


An automatic car not starting can be a frustrating experience. However, you can do a few things to try and start the car.

With these tips, you can prevent your car battery from dying, avoid being stranded on the side of the road, and get the car started again.

If you have any doubts or questions, leave a comment below!

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Robin Söder

Robin has always been passionate about cars ever since young age. Over the years, Robin has worked on thousands of cars and gained invaluable experience in the process. He is considered an expert in his field and is often consulted by other mechanics for advice.

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