Nothing is more disheartening than jumping into your car, turning the key, and having nothing happen. If you don't know much about cars, you might assume that if your vehicle doesn't start, your first step should be to call a tow truck or your local mechanic. However, in many cases, if your car won't start, the problem can be easily fixed. Here are two common scenarios that you may face, and how to help get your car started:
A Dead Battery
If you turn the key and nothing happens, you hear a strange clicking sound, or your car tries to start and immediately dies, chances are the culprit is a dead battery. Luckily, it is very easy for you to recharge your battery and get on your way.
To jump your battery, you need jumper cables, and another car that is running or a portable car battery jump starter. If you've never jumped a battery before, or don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, don't hesitate to contact a knowledgeable friend or your mechanic.
The steps to jump start your car are simple, but they need to be performed correctly. To begin, open the hood and locate the battery. You will notice two terminals: one negative and one positive. If the terminals are severely corroded, you will need to clean them with a mixture of baking soda and water. Make sure your car is off and that you remove the battery clamps before trying to clean the terminals.
Next, attach the red clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery and the black clamp to the negative terminal. Repeat this process on the other battery. Make sure to never touch the red and black clamp together once the cables are attached to a battery.
Finally, ask your friend or mechanic to turn the key of their car, or turn on the portable charger. Turn the key on your car, and once it's running well, disconnect both negative clamps and then both positive clamps right away.
Make sure to drive your car around for several minutes to help recharge the battery. If your battery continues to die, or if it is damaged or old, consider replacing it. According to Your Mechanic, depending on where you live and how well you care for your vehicle, you can expect your car battery to last anywhere from two to five years.
Starting Your Car in Cold Weather
If you live in a colder climate, you know that starting your vehicle in the dead of winter can be tricky. If you don't have a garage to store your vehicle, or if it is especially frigid outside, you must learn how to start your car correctly in cold temperatures.
Here's a few tips to help you get your car started, even if it's well below zero:
- Begin by turning off everything in your car, including the blower, headlights, and radio. This will help ensure you direct all the juice from the battery into starting the car.
- Next, turn the key until the dash lights start flickering. Do not start your car. Turning your key to the "on" position helps prime the fuel pump.
- Finally, try to start the car. If it starts, rev your engine for a few seconds. If it doesn't start, wait around one minute before trying to start your car again. If after three or four attempts your car won't start, your best bet is to jump start the battery.
Nothing is more infuriating than turning your car key and finding out your vehicle won't start. If you are having trouble starting your car most morning, whether it's cold or not, or if you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to contact a professional mechanic.