What To Do When Your Car Battery Won't Start?

A dead car battery is a common issue that many drivers will face at some point. Whether you're getting ready to head to work in the morning or stranded in a parking lot after an event, knowing what to do can help alleviate the stress and inconvenience of the situation. Here are a few tips for dealing with a dead car battery, covering scenarios where you can access jumper cables or a jump-start battery pack and what to do if you don't.

Using Jumper Cables With Another Car

Find A Good Samaritan

If you have jumper cables but your car won't start, you'll need the assistance of another car running. Politely ask another driver if they would help jump-start your battery.

Position The Cars

The cars should be close enough for the cables to reach but should not touch each other. Turn off the ignition in both cars.

Connect The Cables

Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery (it has "POS" or "+" on it and is usually bigger than the negative terminal). Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the helper car's battery. Then attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the helper car's battery and the final black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn't near the battery.

Start The Helper Car

Have the other driver start their car and let the engine run for a few minutes. You can slightly rev the engine for a minute to help charge the battery faster.

Try To Start Your Car

Attempt to start your car. If it starts, don't turn it off! Remove the cables in reverse order that you put them on. Be careful not to let the clamps touch each other or any metal surface.

Keep Your Car Running

Drive your car for at least 30 minutes to recharge the battery. Avoid turning off the engine as your battery needs to fully recharge.

Using A Jump-Start Battery Pack

Prepare The Battery Pack

Make sure your jump-start battery pack is fully charged. These portable devices are excellent for emergencies because they don't require another vehicle to help you.

Connect The Pack

Attach the pack's positive (red) clamp to your battery's positive terminal and the negative (black) clamp to an unpainted metal surface.

Start Your Vehicle

Turn on the battery pack if it has a switch. Then, start your vehicle. If it starts, let it run while carefully disconnecting the pack.

Drive To Recharge

Similar to using jumper cables, keep your car running for at least 30 minutes to ensure the battery gets an adequate charge.

If You Don't Have Jumper Cables Or A Battery Pack

Check For A Battery Service

Some roadside assistance programs offer a battery replacement service. Contact your provider to see if they can send someone out to replace the battery on the spot.

Call For A Tow

If you don't have access to roadside assistance or a battery service, you may need to have your car towed to the nearest garage. Ensure you have a reliable tow service number saved in your phone or kept in your glove compartment.

Wait In A Safe Location

While waiting for help to arrive, stay in a safe location. If you're in a risky area or in poor weather conditions, stay inside your car with locked doors.


A dead battery doesn't have to ruin your day. You can get back on the road quickly with the right tools and knowledge. Always ensure your jumper cables and jump start battery pack are in good condition, and consider keeping them in your vehicle as part of your emergency kit. Regular maintenance checks on your battery are crucial as they can prevent unexpected failures and ensure the longevity of your battery. If you're unsure or feel unsafe during the process, don't hesitate to call for professional help.