What to Do if Your Car Battery Dies

There are many reasons why you may walk out to your car only to discover the battery has died. You may have left your headlights, interior lights or radio on, you may have accidentally left your car running, it may have been sitting unused for an extended time, or your battery may have just gone bad. Whatever the reason, a dead car battery is a frustrating inconvenience. Here’s what to do if your car battery dies.


Jump Your Car

Hopefully, you carry jumper cables in your trunk, because now is the time to use them. If you don’t have jumper cables, a neighbor or passing stranger probably does, so keep your eyes out for someone to help. If you’ve never used jumper cables before, the process is relatively easy. Here’s what to do.

  1. Both your vehicle and the car of the person jumping you should be in Park and Neutral and the ignition should be OFF.  For extra precaution, engage the emergency brake as well.
  2. Attach one of the red clips of the jumper cables to the Positive battery terminal. It will be labeled “POS” or with a plus sign. It’s also usually larger than the negative terminal.
  3. Attach the other red clip to the positive battery terminal of the helper car.
  4. Attach one black clip to the negative battery terminal.
  5. Attach the remaining black clip to a metal surface of your car far from the battery.
  6. Attempt to start your car. If the vehicle won’t start, recheck all the above steps and try again. After multiple failed attempts, it’s probably safe to say your battery is beyond help.
  7. If your car does start, KEEP YOUR ENGINE ON! Drive around for 15-20 minutes to recharge the battery. If it fails to start again, it may be time for a new battery.


Replace Your Battery

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