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Every driver, experienced or not, certainly has some fears regarding possible vehicle malfunctions. If you experienced any car-related major fault, you know it is not a pleasant feeling – psychologically or financially!

But maybe the most common and feared situation is being left without even a possibility of starting your car, or even worse, being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I’m talking about your car battery, that can not be jumped whatever you try.

That is why we are here to provide you with information on how to prevent or solve this situation.

What Is a Jump Start?

Jump Start is a procedure of recharging the discharged or depleted battery in a vehicle. It is done by connecting an external power source (another car’s battery, for example) to the car battery using jumper cables.

This external source gives the initial temporary boost to the battery, which is sufficient to start the engine. After it is started, the recharging process can take place – the car alternator will recharge the car battery while the vehicle is moving.

How to perform a jump start:

  1. Park your vehicle.
  2. Locate your car’s battery and other car’s battery. Make sure cables are functional.
  3. Attach the red clamp to the positive terminal of a dead battery and attach the other end of it to the positive terminal of a working battery. After that, attach the black clamp to the negative terminal of a working battery and its other end to the unpainted metal surface of a dead vehicle.
  4. Make sure to start the working car and then start the dead car.
  5. Remove the cables in exactly the reverse order of how you attached them.
  6. Let the car run for some time and ideally, try to drive the car for at least 20-30 minutes afterward.

Check Out How to Properly Jump Start a Car:

Common Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start With Jump

There are a lot of reasons to consider when your car will not start, even with a jump start. It is important to have these, which are most common in mind, just so you can follow the proper steps and diagnose the source of a problem easier.

Clogged Fuel Filter

A functional fuel filter will help your engine to work smoothly. It eliminates the dirt and other particles which ruin the quality of fuel.

When the fuel filter is not functional, it can pass all impurities into your engine, which can result in your vehicle not being able to get the proper mixture so it can run the engine of a car. 

Faulty Ignition Switch

A car’s ignition switch can also be the key to the unsuccessful start of your vehicle even if it is jump-started. If the ignition switch is faulty, it will not deliver electric power to the alternator and the rest of the vehicle’s electrical system.

An ignition switch fault can be caused by worn switch contacts, high temperature, or something else.

Dead Battery

Car batteries have a limited lifespan. If there is no clicking sound when turning the key that may signal a dead car battery. Luckily, a dead battery can be brought back to life depending on its internal condition of it.

Some causes of a dead battery can be corrosion, high temperature, internal short circuit of the battery, or other chemical reactions.

The most common symptoms are:

  • the vehicle is starting much slower than usual
  • vehicle starts but then it dies quickly
  • odd smell underneath your hood
  • swollen battery size, it is bigger than usual
  • electronics functionalities such as radio or lights are not working properly when the vehicle is started

Faulty Alternator

A faulty alternator will not be able to recharge the car battery and your vehicle will not be working as usual. An alternator can make a car battery undercharged.

Pay attention to possible unusual noises as bad alternators often produce those. After all, an alternator is generating power thanks to the belt that is coming from an engine. It is possible that the belt is misaligned and that can cause unpleasant sounds as well as poor performance of the alternator.

Also, a faulty alternator will probably cause weird behaviors in the overall electronic system of a vehicle. Dimmer or flickering lights, radio signal getting weak from time to time, automatic windows not opening and closing, as usual, could all be possible symptoms.

Check Out Bad Battery or Bad Alternator Symptoms, How to Tell the Difference:

Gas Tank Is Empty

If your electrical system and mechanical system seem alright, but there is still nothing when you jump start your car, check your gas tank. An engine needs gas to produce the power that will run your vehicle.

If there is little to no gas in your tank, the engine can draw more air than it ideally requires together with gas, which is not ideal for a combustion process.

How to Troubleshoot a Car That Won’t Start With Jump

Here are some common steps on how you can troubleshoot a car that won’t start even with a jump start.

1. Provide electrical power to the vehicle’s battery for some time before trying to start your car. It may be that it is an old battery and also fragile, so it takes some time to charge it.

2. Check your jumper cables if they are warm. If that is the case, it may be that resistance in them increased, and a minimal electrical charge is going into the battery. Try to jump-start your car with a different set of jumper cables.

3. It is also important to check battery terminals. It may be that there is some rust or corrosion on them, so you need to scrape them off. You can use a wire brush to do that.

Extending Your Car Battery Life

A car’s battery life is limited, but there are some precautions that you can take to postpone battery death or damage. Here are some that we recommend:

Short Rides

To extend the car’s battery life, it is recommended to drive for a longer period as that will give the battery chance to recharge. If you mostly take short rides, that might lead to an undercharged battery.

Turn Off Your Car Lights When Not Being Used

Car batteries are not designed to deliver power for a long period without being recharged when a vehicle is running.

That is why you should not leave car lights turned on when a car is not being used, or any other electronics for that matter. You will quickly get discharged battery, and you will have to deal with jump-starting afterward.

While Idling Don’t Use Electronics

Avoid using electronics such as radio, lighter, or air conditioner while idling, as that will also apply additional pressure on the vehicle’s battery. It unnecessarily takes away power out of the battery, which can be harmful long-term if you are doing it frequently. Also, having your car idle for an extended period is not recommended.

Control Corrosion

Corrosion arises when car battery acid reacts with the metal terminals. It is usually brown, white, or green.

If you have any battery terminals, try to deal with them by using a wire brush. Also, using a regular toothbrush with a mixture on it (water and baking soda) will do the trick. Make sure to scrub it off and use a dry paper/towel when you safely remove the corrosion.

Check Out How to Remove Battery Corrosion Fast and Cheap:

Regularly do a Battery Test

By doing regular battery tests, you will always be aware of your battery condition. It is important to prepare yourself in case something seems off with the voltage levels of your battery. For this purpose, you can use a multimeter.

Usually, the normal voltage level of a car’s battery is around 12.6 Volts. If you don’t have a multimeter, you can simply check your lights to see if they are dimmer than usual or if they are flickering.

Care for Car

A lot of car parts need maintenance and proper care. Make sure to be responsible and always prepared so you can always react promptly if you see something not working or if it may lead to a fault in a near future.

Choosing the Right Road Side Assistance

Having a reliable roadside assistance company can come in handy. It feels easier knowing that no matter what happens, you, your passengers, and your car will be fine.

There are multiple factors to count on when selecting the right one for you, and some of them are cost, online reviews, benefits, and call limits.

Check the Company’s Reputation

Make sure to see what other users had to say about these types of companies and their services. Today, there are web pages dedicated to this kind of review that can be of tremendous help (besides standard google reviews). You can visit and examine everything that you are interested in.


It is also always a good thing to get feedback from your family, friends, or colleagues that had previous experiences with companies of this type.


In the following section, we covered answers to the most asked questions, as these are some of the most frequent situations drivers are running into.

What Does It Mean if Your Car Won’t Start but the Lights Come On?

In this case, the battery should be charged and working correctly, so the cause might be a faulty starter or ignition switch. Either the ignition switch can not provide power to the starter and ignition system, or the starter alone is not capable of cranking the engine. In any case, it is the best solution to take it to the repair shop to see what is going on.

What Are the Symptoms of a Faulty Starter?

Multiple symptoms can point to the starter not being in a good condition. The most common indicator is that your engine is not cranking after turning the ignition key.
Another thing that can point to a bad starter is a clicking or grinding sound.

After all, a starter is mechanically engaging with an engine, and that is why you could hear unpleasant noises. Other things to look out for: smoke (electrical parts of starter burnt out) or uneven ignitions (sometimes engine starts and sometimes not). If any of these issues arise, it is best to contact a professional mechanic.

Can a Car Battery Be So Dead It Won’t Take a Jump?

Yes, it can. A dead battery with an internal short probably will not help a car to start, even with jump-starting. On the other hand, a depleted battery may take some time before recharging and successfully taking a jump.

How Long Do You Need to Drive a Car to Recharge a Dead Battery?

The time of recharging the battery depends on how much has your battery been depleted and what is the overall condition of it (physical condition, how old is the battery).

Usually, recommended average time is 30 minutes.
If your battery was completely discharged before a drive or has not been used for a long period, it would probably take more than 30 minutes to recharge it fully.

How Do You Tell if It’s the Battery or the Starter?

When in doubt, it is best to start from the vehicle’s battery. They can last around 4-5 years and, in some conditions, less than that (cold weather).

Take a look at the battery; is there some corrosion, and how do the cables look? If you manage to jump-start your car and drive it for some time, but the car won’t start again, it is probably up to a dead battery.
If everything seems okay with the battery, then focus your inspection on a starter. Things like clicking or grinding sounds, smoke, and uneven ignitions can be the red flag. We mention those and the other most common symptoms of a faulty starter in the previous part of the FAQ section.

Final Considerations

As you know by now, there are a lot of reasons why a car battery can not be jumped. It is important to be prepared and get to know everything that can be a cause so that you can act accordingly. And if there is nothing you can do, the most common solution is to take it to a professional mechanic so he can examine your car.

Also, you will get much more familiar with multiple parts of your vehicle, and that can give you a better understanding of how to maintain and prevent faults of certain parts.

Agustin is part of the team at Road Speed Solutions, a reliable and efficient roadside assistance business with over a decade of experience in New Jersey.

What sets Road Speed Solution apart is the team's commitment to giving back to the community, regularly donating to local charities and supporting small businesses. Choose Roadside Speed Solutions for prompt, trustworthy roadside assistance services.