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What To Do When Your Car's Battery Fails

Did you ever have one of those days when your car just wouldn't start? A battery, like the other parts of your vehicle, is subject to wear and tear and should be checked and cleaned regularly.

Girl with car trouble

Check the battery

Check the battery for cracks, swelling, and frayed or corroded battery cables.  If they’re frayed or corroded, the cables and clamps may need to be replaced, otherwise the battery may short-circuit.  

Remove the negative cable first, replace it last

If the battery is free from cracks, isn’t swollen and the cables are perfectly fine, always remove the negative cable first. This prevents you from receiving a shock, or damaging electrical components.

Jump-start the battery

Charging a car battery isn’t a one-way street, and you will need outside help – either from a friend, a family member or a kind stranger with jumper cables. Both cars must be in park or neutral, with ignitions shut off and emergency brakes on.

Remove caps from both batteries (unless sealed)

Batteries give off hydrogen gas, and one spark could set off an explosion. If the caps are open, this can be avoided. The sealed batteries have safety valves for pressure relief.

Connect the cables.

The positive cable has red clips on either end, while the negative cable has black clips. It’s important to attach them in this order:

  • One of the red clips will go on the positive terminal of your own battery, while the other clip goes to the positive terminal of the other person’s car.
  • One of the black clips will go on the negative terminal of the other person’s battery, and the last black clip to an unpainted, metal surface on your car (that isn’t near the carburetor, if your car has one) or battery.

Try to start your vehicle

If it won’t start, make sure that the cables are properly connected, then have the other person run their engine for five minutes before trying to start your car. If your car still won’t start, the battery will need to be replaced.

Disconnect the cables

After disconnecting the cables and thanking the person who helped you, don’t turn off your engine. Instead, drive around to recharge the battery. It may also be a good idea to have your car battery checked.

When in doubt, leave it to the professionals. If you’re stranded along the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and need your car towed, call Euless Wrecker Service at 817-857-6344 for 24/7 emergency service.