Jump-Starting Your Dead Car Battery Back to Life

Find out if you’re getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
No long forms · No spam · No fees
  • How to
  • Jump-start not working
  • How it happens?
  • Insure and protect
  • FAQ
To jump-start your battery, you’ll need a pair of jumper cables and another car. If your car battery suddenly dies on you, there’s no need to fear—this article will walk you through how to jump-start your car’s battery and get you back on the road.
If a jump-start doesn’t work, Jerry can make sure you and your car aren’t left in the lurch. Jerry offers emergency roadside assistance. So if you blow out a tire, your engine spontaneously combusts, or your battery gives up on you, Jerry’s got you covered.
Jerry is also the best place on the interwebs to find robust car insurance at amazingly affordable prices.
Signing up with Jerry takes just 45 seconds, and then this AI-powered car insurance broker does the rest.
Jerry generates quotes from more than 40 top insurers, allowing you to pick the best policy that works for you. Then Jerry takes care of all the paperwork, signs you up for your new policy, and cancels your old one for you. Not too shabby…
Read on to learn more about jump-starting your car battery.
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Find savings (100% Free)

Jump-start your car’s battery

Now, to get your car’s battery charged up and ready to go, you’ll need a good pair of jumper cables, and another car that is not…dead.

Unleash your jumper cables

In order to unleash your jumper cables, you’ll need to have a pair in the first place. They can be purchased at car specialty shops, big-box stores, and large online retailers, and tend to run from anywhere between $10 to $70.
If you don’t own a pair of cables, you’ll either need to call roadside assistance or rely on a friendly passerby who is willing to help and has the requisite equipment.

Get the dead car and the helper car ready

Once you’ve found another driver willing to help you jumpstart your dead battery with their car, the first thing to do is position both cars facing each other with hoods open, roughly 18 or so inches apart.
Make sure both cars are in park or neutral, as no one wants a dead zombie car wreaking havoc all over the place. Engage the parking brake to ensure the unfortunate aforementioned situation does not happen.

Attach the cables

With hoods open, find the batteries in both cars and take note of the terminals, or the parts of the battery that you’ll be attaching the jumper cables to, with one exception, as will be detailed below.
First, attach one end of the red positive (+) clamp to the positive (+) terminal on your car’s dead battery. Now, attach the other end of the same cable to the operational car’s positive (+) terminal. Got it?
Good. Now, take the black negative cable and attach one negative (-) clamp to the negative (-) terminal of the working car. Attach the other end of the same cable to a bare metal surface within the deceased car’s engine bay**.
Key Takeaway Regarding jumper cables, the red cable is the positive (+) cable, and the black cable is the negative (-) one.

Jump it!

So, with cables attached, start the live car and let it run for a few minutes (patience, young car doctor) before trying to start the dead car.
If the dead car is still…dead, let the operational car run for a few more minutes—this will help charge up the dead battery to a point where it should start the car.
Now, if the dead car still won’t start, try revving the engine of the working car, as that may further juice the dead battery to the point where it starts.
Key Takeaway Allow the working car to run for a few minutes before trying to start the car with the dead battery.

Remove the cables

Once you’ve brought your dead car back to life and it’s running (away from the white light, thankfully), it is safe to remove the jumper cables, starting with the black negative clamps—make sure the ends do not touch.
Remove the red cables as well, ends not touching, and close the hood.
With your resuscitated car running, now drive it for roughly 15-20 minutes, in order for the battery to build up a good charge. If you turn the car off too soon after the battery’s been jump-started, the battery might die again.
Key Takeaway When removing jumper cables after a successful jumpstart, remove the black clamps first, then the red ones, and make sure the clamps do not touch each other.
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Find savings (100% Free)

Your dead battery won’t charge, even with a jump-start

If a jump-start won’t jolt your battery back to life, you could be dealing with another issue, such as a damaged alternator, or your battery might be past its best before date.
Car batteries typically last between four and six years, so if your car is approaching that age, it might be a good idea to visit your mechanic and buy a new battery.
Sometimes, a mechanical issue, such as a malfunctioning alternator, can drain power away from the battery, causing it to die before its time. This is another issue your mechanic can look into if you’re repeatedly having trouble with a dead battery.
Another common culprit of a dead car battery is a light or accessory left on after the car has been turned off. If left for a long period of time, say overnight, you might have trouble starting your car in the morning.

How a car battery dies

A car battery can meet its end in many ways, but the most common ways are a light or component left on when the car is turned off, extreme weather that can weaken the battery, or not starting your car for a long period of time.
But dealing with a dead battery is done in two ways—jump-starting it with an assist from a live car, or calling in roadside assistance when your car goes code blue.

Insure and protect your car with Jerry

If you’ve exhausted all emergency techniques for your car’s dead battery, that doesn’t mean it’s flatlining just yet.
With Jerry’s new emergency roadside assistance program, one phone call will bring a team of roadside technicians to your car’s asphalt bedside, ready to administer a life-saving boost to your vehicle, and anything else it might need.
Anything else, you say? A new, cheaper car insurance policy is something every driver can use! With Jerry, snagging a competitive policy at a great price is simple.
After a lightning-quick signup process, Jerry will light up your smartphone screen with quotes from more than 40 top insurers. Jerry does all the work, which means you’ll never have to deal with any forms, phone calls, or hassles.
Best of all, Jerry users save an average of $879 per year on car insurance!
“I was paying around $350 a month for my car insurance for my new car and I just switched and I paid my whole 6-month premium for $500!”—Satisfied Jerry user
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Find savings (100% Free)

FAQ

Will a dead car battery recharge itself?

No, a dead battery cannot charge itself. A dead battery needs a charge from an outside source (such as a live car) before the dead battery’s alternator kicks in and begins transferring power from the battery into the car’s electrical structure.
RECOMMENDED
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
avatar
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
avatar
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
avatar
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies