The Car Won’t Start – What Now
To start your car you need a car battery that is sufficiently charged. This must have enough energy to turn the starter and thus ignite the engine. However, if the battery fails, the engine can still be started – by bypassing the battery.
Our car jump start guide shows you how to successfully start your car despite an empty battery. In addition to the guide, we provide you with a practical how-to jump-start video.
You will also find all the important steps summarised in an information graphic. You can download it here as a PDF file, print it out and store it in the glove compartment – so you are always prepared in case your car battery runs out.
If starting a vehicle does not work, this can have various causes:
- The fuel tank is empty. In this case, you will have to be towed away. Bypassing the car battery will not work in this case. As an alternative to towing, you can refuel the car with fuel from a canister.
- If the starter motor is broken, it is also not possible to give starting aid. This is because jump starting only bypasses the battery. However, a defective starter cannot be bypassed.
- If the car does not start, you must also think of engine damage. The diagnosis often cannot be made on site. If bridging is not successful, you can call an automobile service which will tow your car to a garage or home.
- You can bypass a defective battery with a jump starter system. If you connect this correctly, you can start the engine as normal. You only have to make sure that you do not stall the engine while driving. In this case, you will either need another car to jump start your car or even better is if you have a jump start powerbank in which case you are prepared and do not require outside assistance.
Jumper cables or a power bank are a essential tools to jump start an empty car battery.
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The following guide will show you how to jump start your car properly – with or without a donor car.
If you want to jump start your car battery with the jump lead, it is important, among other things, to follow the correct sequence to avoid risking a short circuit. If you want to jump your car yourself, there are a few important things to consider.
Securing The Location
- If your car stopped somewhere on the road rather than in front of your house – for example at a traffic light or at the side of the road – it is essential that you first secure your location before giving your car jump cables to start it.
- If the stopped vehicle obstructs traffic, push it to the side of the road.
- Wear a safety vest and turn on your hazard warning lights.
Check The Battery
- First of all, you need to find the battery to be able to give or receive jump-start assistance. This is usually mounted under the hood – but on newer car models it is also common for the battery to be installed in the trunk.
- Before you try to jump start a vehicle, find out the battery voltage. Normally a car has an on-board voltage of 12 volts.
- Now find the plus and minus terminals.
Another thing you need to be careful about is that you have the correct jumper cables. A jumper cable must be able to withstand a voltage of several volts and thousands of amperes, which is why you need jumper cable of high quality. Usually cheap cables can not withstand the amperage. Simply stated, the jumper cables need to be thick enough, otherwise the cables could burn.
If the location for the jump start is safe, the on-board voltage matches, you have the right jumper cables and you have identified positive and negative poles, you can give (or receive) the jump start. It is essential that you pay attention to the correct sequence when implementing this.
Give The Car A Jump Start With A Powerbank And Without A Donor Car
If you don’t have a second car for jump starting your car at hand, you can also bypass your car battery with the help of a powerbank. This is the recommended way and it is always advisable to store such a jumpstart powerbank either in the garage or in your car trunk compartment. To store the powerbank in the car you need to have a portable car powerbank. You can also have a regular powerbank, but for this one you will need a power source, such as is available in your house. You need to connect it to the source in order for it to work. In the case of a portable powerbank you already have it pre-charged.
Storage Of The Starting Aid Powerbank
It is important how you store the jumpstart powerbank. The reason for this are the sometimes extremely fluctuating temperatures – from freezing degrees in wintertime to heat in the summer, when the car is in full sunshine. The lithium-polymer battery is particularly hard to handle at sub-zero temperatures: The battery’s performance can drop. This, in turn, prevents successful starting with the Powerbank. Therefore, it is imporatnt that you periodically check your power bank and how much battery life it still has and refill it when needed. Make sure that the packaging is insulated. The optimal temperature for storing the powerbank is room temperature.
Jump Start Your Car With The Powerbank
Just as with jumpstarting with the jumper cable, the first step in jumpstarting with the Powerbank is to secure your location – especially if your car has broken down in traffic. Once you and your surroundings are safe, follow these six steps to jumpstart your car with the jumper powerbank:
- Apply the hand brake of your car. On an automatic vehicle, move the gear lever to the “P” position (parking).
- Open the hood of the car and secure it with the rod, if there is one.
- Switch on the jump-start powerbank.
- Take the cables of your jump-start power bank and attach the clamps in the correct order: First attach the red cable to the positive terminal and then clamp the black cable to the negative terminal.
- Now switch on the engine of your vehicle – it should now start.
- Remove the cables again in reverse order: first black, then red.
Note that the two cables must not touch each other during the jump start!
Basically, it is no witchcraft to get a car running again with an empty car battery. If you pay attention to the most important points – high quality jump cables or powerbank and, of course, the correct order of implementation – you should be mobile again very quickly.
Car Starting Aid With Jumper Cables And A Donor Car
Before a vehicle with an intact battery can provide jump starting assistance, you should compare the on-board voltage of both cars. It must be the same. As a rule, a car will almost alway have an on-board voltage of 12 volts, so it is very rare that a car will not be suited for assistance.
Please note that you should never use a vehicle with a higher voltage than that of the stopped vehicle. Otherwise you could risk damage to the electrical system or a breakdown of the entire vehicle and that could be expensive. For information on the voltage of the car, simply look at the text on the battery.
Use The Following Jump-start Instructions
- Before connecting the jump lead, the assisting car should drive as close as possible to the breakdown vehicle, as the leads are usually not very long.
- In case of manual transmission, take the car that provides bypass assistance out of the gear. If it’s an autmatic, put it in parking mode. Then switch off the engine and apply the handbrake.
- Switch off air conditioning, ventilation, lights and multimedia system in both vehicles to save electricity.
- Now connect the red jump lead to the positive pole of the breakdown vehicle, then connect the other end of the red lead to the positive pole of the helper battery. It is essential that you connect the jump leads in the correct order. Otherwise you could cause a short circuit, which in the worst case could cause the vehicle to burn.
- Connect the black jumper cable to the negative pole of the intact battery. Connect the other end to the engine of the defetive car or any other unpainted metal surface. Don’t connect this clip to the negative terminals battery of the defective car! Otherwise your car may be damaged.
- Start the engine of the donor vehicle first and wait a couple of minutes. Then start the engine of the breakdown vehicle. To increase the power, the driver of the donor vehicle can put some pressure on the acceleration pedal.
- The jump lead is removed in reverse order! To ensure that the battery recharges and does not fail again at the next start, leave the cars running and connected for at least 30 minutes.
Do not connect the black clip of the donor vehicle to the negative terminal battery of the defective car!
The following graphic summarizes the most important information
While it is advisable to have both the jumper cables as well as the powerbank, if you were to choose only one of them then you would probably want to choose only the jumper cables. Unless you are in a very remote area, chances that you will have a donor vehicle around are actually pretty good at all times. However, if you completely forget to check on your powerbank for many months, then the batteries may empty themselves. Thus the importance of checking on your powerbank every now and then is of utmost importance. Even though the powerbank is a much better product in itself, in times of need the cheaper and simpler jumper cables product may be better if you are forgetful.
Download How To Jump Start Your Car in PDF
Be prepared for a possible battery problem. Download this guide, print it and put it in your glove compartment in case you need it.