Staying up to date on your car’s maintenance limits your chances of getting stuck with a dead battery, but knowing how to jumpstart your car is an important skill to master.
Dead Battery. How Do I Fix It?
Milex Complete Auto Care understands that mistakes happen. Don’t get stranded when you accidentally leave the lights on, and your car battery dies. Like changing a tire, learning how to jumpstart your car battery is a rite of passage for drivers. Roadside assistance is always available but having the knowledge to get the job done on your own will save time and money.
If you turn the key in the engine and hear crickets, it’s likely your battery is dead. Here are the steps you need to take to get back on the road.
- Get prepared. To jumpstart a car, you need help from another driver and jumper cables. Position both vehicles facing each other or as close as possible. The cars should not be touching. Make sure each car is in Park, that the emergency brakes are on for safety, and raise the hoods. Locate the battery in each vehicle and find the positive and negative labels on the terminals.
- Attach the cables. Put the red clamp on the positive terminals of each battery. Attach the black clamp on the negative post of the working car. Then secure the remaining black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the car with the dead battery.
- Start the cars. Turn the key in the working car and let it run for a few minutes. Next, try to start the car with the dead battery. If the engine turns over, your car should be back in action.
- Remove the cables. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order. Remove the black negative clamps first, followed by the red clamps. To prevent injury, make sure not to let any of the clamps touch while they are attached to the batteries. It’s a good idea to let the problem car run for at least 15 minutes to give its battery time to charge.
Reasons Car Batteries Die
Car batteries can kick the bucket because of user error, such as leaving the lights on or keeping the car in accessory mode for an extended period. However, there are a host of other reasons for a car battery to die.
Defective battery connections. The terminals connected to your battery can become loose or corroded over time and prevent your battery from transmitting power. Taking time to clean the battery and check the connections every two to three months can help improve battery performance.
Extreme temperatures. New technology is making batteries less susceptible to extreme temperatures. If you have an older battery, scorching hot weather or freezing temperatures can weaken the battery’s ability to get the job done. Take steps to park in the shade during hot summer weather and in a garage in the winter to hamper the impact of extreme weather.
Battery fails to recharge. The battery gives your engine the energy it needs to start. Once the engine revs, a car’s alternator kicks into gear to recharge the battery. If there’s a problem with your alternator, your battery can fail to charge and leave you in a bind.
Faulty relay switch. The relay switch helps transport electricity. If the switch is stuck or faulty, electricity will continue to flow and drain the battery even after the car is turned off.
Age. Car batteries slowly lose their charge over time. If it takes a couple of tries to get your car started, it’s likely an old battery is the culprit, and it's time for a replacement. Milex recommends changing your car battery every four to five years to prevent getting stuck with a dead battery.
Keeping up with regular maintenance can help prevent a battery problem before it starts. Even after you jumpstart your battery, it’s a good idea to take the car in for a checkup. The service technicians at Milex Complete Auto Care provide complete car battery service to help extend the life of your vehicle’s battery and fix any problems that might crop up.
Visit Milex for Car Maintenance
To find a local Milex in your area, visit: www.milexcompleteautocare.com and schedule an appointment today.