A dead battery is the most common reason why a car won’t start. When you turn the key, your vehicle’s electrical power is directed to the starter motor to ignite the engine. If your car’s battery is low on charge, it may not produce enough electrical power to start the engine.
Cold weather can exacerbate battery problems, making it even more challenging to get your car started. So, how can you tell if a dead battery is the culprit behind your car troubles?
Identifying a Dead Battery
One telltale sign of a dead car battery is dim headlights or slow cranking when you attempt to start your car. If you notice the dome light goes out or remains lit while trying to start the engine, it could indicate a dead battery or a faulty starter motor.
Another symptom is a clicking sound when turning the ignition key, which suggests that the battery is not providing enough power to the starter motor. Remember, a dead battery doesn’t always mean the battery itself is faulty; it could also be a sign of a bad alternator or corroded battery terminals.
Jumpstarting Your Car
If you suspect a dead battery is causing your car troubles, jumpstarting your vehicle might be the answer. To jumpstart your car, you’ll need another vehicle with a working battery, jumper cables, and a safe area to connect the cables. Follow these steps to jumpstart your car:
- Park the working vehicle close to your car, ensuring both engines are off.
- Connect one end of the red jumper cable to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery and the other end to the positive (+) terminal of the working battery.
- Connect one end of the black jumper cable to the negative (-) terminal of the working battery.
- Attach the other end of the black jumper cable to an unpainted metal part of your car’s engine, away from the battery.
- Start the working vehicle and let it run for a few minutes.
- Try starting your car. If successful, disconnect the jumper cables in reverse order and let your car run for some time to recharge the battery.
If your car starts after jumpstarting, it’s a good idea to have your battery checked by a professional to determine if it needs to be replaced.
Battery Maintenance Tips
Maintaining your car battery can help prolong its life and prevent future dead battery issues. Here are some tips to keep your battery in top shape.
- Keep your battery clean and free from corrosion. Inspect the battery terminals regularly and clean them if necessary.
- Ensure your battery is fully charged before starting your car, especially during colder weather.
- Have your battery tested periodically at a quick-fix auto shop, such as an oil changing franchise.