A dead car battery is frustrating, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to call a tow truck. With a little know-how, you can often revive a dead battery and get back on the road again.
In this post, we’ve listed five dead car battery tricks that might just do the trick.
Let’s get started.
5 Dead Car Battery Tricks
You may have heard about old dead car battery tricks such as using a can of coke, salt solutions, tablets of aspirin or even smearing Vaseline on the battery terminals.
And while the part with Vaseline can help keep the battery terminals free from corrosion, I’ll leave the other old dead battery tricks to Mythbusters. Instead, here’s my best tips to get your car started with a flat battery.
1. Tapping or Turning the Battery Terminals
Any time your car won’t start because of a dead battery, one of the first things you’ll want to look at is the battery terminals and corrosion. But if you’re like most people, you don’t drive around prepared with the right tools to clean them properly.
So instead, the first dead car battery trick is to try tapping or turning the battery terminals. This can sometimes break up any corrosion built up on the terminals and help achieve a better connection to the battery. Just be sure not to do this too forcefully, as you don’t want to damage the battery or cable clamps.
2. Starting Your Car In Neutral
If your car has an automatic transmission, try starting it in neutral. I know it sounds silly, but this trick can actually give the engine a little boost and help get it going even when the battery is weak, and it won’t hurt to at least try!
3. Push Start Your Car
If you have a manual transmission, you can always try to push start your car. This requires a friend, family member, or someone else to help push your car while you’re in second gear. But for this to work, you’ll need to have a small amount of charge left in the battery, so if your battery is completely dead, you may not be able to push start your car.
Manufacturers of some vehicles don’t recommend starting them this way, so be extra careful with this one and check your car owner’s manual.
Also read: Can You Push Start an Automatic Car?
4. Use a Portable Jump Starter
If you have a portable jump starter, now is the time to use it. And if you don’t, consider buying one because these small devices can be real lifesavers when your battery dies far from home. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully so you don’t damage your car or injure yourself.
Here’s our recommendation: NOCO boost plus GB40
5. Use Jumper Cables
If all else fails, you can always resort to jumper cables. You’ll need another vehicle with a working battery to provide the jump start, but jumper cables are often all it takes to get a dead battery going again, and this is something everyone should keep in their car at all times.
Just be sure to connect the cables correctly so you don’t cause any sparks or explosions. Here’s how to properly jump-start a car:
- Park the vehicles close together so jumper cables can reach both batteries.
- Locate the battery. (consult your car owner’s manual)
- Attach one of the red cable clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
- Attach the other end of the red cable to the terminal of the working battery.
- Take the black cable and attach one end to the negative terminal of the working battery.
- Take the other end of the black cable and attach it to unpainted metal surface of the car with the dead battery – DO NOT ATTACH TO THE BATTERY ITSELF!
- Start up the car with the working battery and let it run for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Finally, start up the car with the dead battery.
- Remove the cables in the opposite order to which you put them on, i.e. the black cable first.
Note: Make sure you have a good connection between the cable clamps and the attached surface or battery terminal.
What to Do If Your Car Still Won’t Start
If your car still won’t start after trying all of these dead battery tricks, it’s a big chance you’re dealing with a faulty battery or an alternator that needs to be replaced. We recommend getting your battery checked at a local auto parts store or mechanic to get an accurate diagnosis.
Batteries usually last between 3 and 5 years and sometimes even longer, but driving habits, climate, and other factors can shorten their lifespan. So if your battery is more than five years old, it’s a good idea to get it checked to see if it needs to be replaced.
How Much Does a Car Battery Cost?
The cost of a new battery depends on the make, model, and year of your car. But you can typically expect to pay between $75 and $120 for a new one, but some batteries can cost more than $200.
Replacing the battery is often quite a simple task. However, on newer models, you might need to remove a few plastic details to access the battery, and the battery can also be located in the trunk for better weight distribution.
So if you’re not sure how to replace your car battery, we recommend taking it to a mechanic or auto parts store, where they can do it for you.
There’s nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery. But with these five tricks, you might just be able to revive your battery and get back on the road again. So next time your car won’t start, give one of these tricks a try before you call for a tow truck!
If these tricks won’t do the work, and your battery light is on, then make sure to read our article what to do if your car battery light comes on.
Thanks for reading!
How Long Does it Take to Jump a Car?
Under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to jump a car. If the car with the dead battery still doesn’t start after being plugged into a running car for more than 10 minutes, chances are the battery is faulty and needs to be replaced. Make sure to get an accurate diagnosis before replacing it.
How Often Should I Drive My Car to Keep the Battery Charged
You don’t need to start your car every day to keep the battery charged. In fact, starting a car too often can actually drain the car battery. But a good rule of thumb is to take your car for a 15 minutes drive if its been standing still for more than a couple of days. Not only is it good for the battery, but also for the car in general.
Does Leaving My Car Lights On Drain the Battery?
Leaving your car lights on will definitely drain the battery, but it’s not enough to kill it outright. However, leaving your car lights on over a night will likely result in a slower start or even a completely drained battery.
How Do You Prevent a Car Battery From Dying?
To prevent your car battery from dying, you should avoid driving short distances, avoid leaving your car lights on, drive your car for 15 minutes if it’s been standing still for more than a week, regularly check battery terminals for corrosion, and remove the battery if you’re not using the car for long.