In the modern era, automobiles are very reliable and they simply don't break down as often as they used to "back in the day." So, when they do refuse to start for some reason, this can leave you scratching your head as it may never have happened to you before. In these situations, the problem can often be traced to the electrical system and to the failure of the battery. If you're stranded in a car park late at night after a dinner party and find that you cannot turn your vehicle on, what should you do?
Figuring out the Cause
Initially, you may wonder why the battery should fail in this way. Usually this is due to overuse. For example, if you left the lights on inside inadvertently or the headlights were not switched off in a timely fashion, this could cause a significant drain, especially if other factors were present. These could include a "parasitic" drain caused by a recently fitted security alarm or music system that keeps on functioning whenever the keys were turned off, or it could also be caused by your typical driving habits if you only make short journeys on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the battery is not doing its job and you need to figure out how you're going to get home. If another partygoer is nearby and could help you, you may be able to start the vehicle with jump start cables. To do this, you will need to move the other vehicle very close to the front of yours but be careful that they don't touch at all. Make sure that both cars are in neutral and that the terminals on each battery are relatively clean and free of corrosion.
Attach the positive clip of the emergency cables to the positive terminal on the "good" car and the other end to the positive on the stalled battery. Connect the end of the other cable to the negative terminal on the good battery and the other end to the frame of your car. When all is ready, your friend should start their car and this should transfer just enough power to your battery so that you can start yours. Once your vehicle is running, make sure that you VERY carefully disconnect all the cables.
In some cases, it is possible to start a vehicle that's equipped with a manual gearbox by getting it pushed and releasing the clutch sharply to engage gear. However, this does require the appropriate amount of manpower and doesn't work with automatic transmissions.
Calling in the Troops
If you don't have any friendly bystanders to help you, get in touch with an emergency roadside battery service to come to your rescue.
I'm Tony and I live alone in Brisbane, Australia. I say I live alone, but I don't really. I live with my collection of classic cars and trucks. Since I was a boy, I used to play with my toy trucks and cars all day long. When I turned 18, I bought my first car and I decided to do it up. But I didn't know what I was doing. Thankfully, my uncle was on hand to help me. He taught me how to source the right parts I needed to repair and restore the vehicles. I would now like to help others. Enjoy my blog.