How to start a car with a flat battery?

Author Name – Jack Underwood

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how to start a car with a flat battery

Have you ever gone to start your car to find that it is unresponsive and lifeless? Well if this is the case then the culprit is most likely that the car battery is flat. This is a frustrating situation that many drivers have experienced. However, it is a situation that can be completely unavoidable and with the right equipment easy to fix. In this article we are going to explain the reasons why your battery may be flat and explain how you start a car with a flat battery.

Solutions for a car with a flat battery

Jump start

The most common way to start a car with a flat battery is a jump start with jump leads. In order to do this, you will need a live battery (commonly in another car), and jump leads. Attach the crocodile clips to the correct end of each battery. After this wait 5 minutes, then start the car with the live battery and this should begin to recharge the dead battery. 

For a more detailed guide on how to jump start your car, click the related article below.

Related: How to jump start a car?

Push start

To push start a car in order to start a dead battery, two people will be needed. One person will steer the car on the inside, whilst another pushes on the outside. Firstly, you should turn the key in the ignition as if the car was on. Next place your foot on the clutch all the way down and put the vehicle into second gear.  At this point the other person will begin to push the car. Once a speed of 5-10mph is achieved, lift your foot of the clutch and push down on the accelerator and the car should begin to start driving. Be sure to drive for a few minutes to give the alternator enough time to recharge the dead battery.

Portable battery charger

A portable battery charger is essential if you drive an automatic, as a push start will only work for cars with manual transmissions. A portable battery charger is not hard to get a hold of and they are relatively cheap. You attach the crocodile clips from the charger onto the dead battery in the same way you would with jump leads. Once they are attached simply turn on the portable battery charger and the flat battery will begin to charge.  It is important that you remember to recharge the portable battery charger by plugging it into the mains. 

Reasons why your car battery may be flat

The best way to deal with a dead battery is to understand the reasons why it may have died then put the actions in place to avoid this situation.

Drained through human error

This is perhaps the most common reason why people go to start their car in the morning to find that the battery is dead.  The battery is drained by excessive electrical usage in your car. This could be keeping the car headlights on for too long whilst the car is stationary or that the radio has been left on overnight. If you are going to be using your car’s electrics for an extended period of time, be sure to not use them excessively and leave some charge in the battery.

Related: How long do car batteries last?

Old battery

It is recommended that you change your battery every 3 years as over time, similar to your smartphone, it becomes less and less capable of holding a full charge. Some signs that you need a new battery are a dashboard warning light and trouble starting the car and electrical issues.

Related: How long can a car battery sit unused?

Faulty alternator

The purpose of an alternator is to charge the battery whilst the car is driving and power the electrical systems. If there is a fault with the alternator, then your battery will be unable to recharge itself whilst you are driving, leading to a flat battery.  Signs that you have a faulty alternator include dim headlights, electrical problems and a battery warning light on the dashboard.

Batteries at National

If you experience any problems with your battery and you want to get it seen by a professional, pop into one of our 250 nationwide branches at National Tyres and Autocare and get it checked. We now also stock Leisure Batteries, as well as car batteries.

If you need a new battery and need more information, click on the related article below and you can order a battery replacement online.

Related: Order a battery replacement

Alternatively, if you can't bring your car to one of our branches, we offer mobile battery fitting. One of our technicians will come to a location of your choice and carry out the work. This could be at your home or at work! To find out more, click the link below.

Mobile Battery Fitting

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