Dead car battery

Dead car battery: causes, signs and how to charge or fix it

There are lots of reasons why you can encounter a dead car battery. Not all batteries will alert you to impending failure, but occasionally they will. While a “dead” battery is sometimes described as one that can no longer even start the automobile, there are other signs that a battery may be failing.

Dead car battery

Jump-starting a dead battery is the most typical solution. A pair of jumper wires and another vehicle (hopefully one driven by a bystander) with a working battery are all you need to jump-start a car. Keep in mind that if a car battery is obviously leaking acid and has a crack in it, you should never attempt to jump-start the vehicle.

Read more: How many volts is a car battery? What you need to know

Well, in this article, we’ll get to be discussing the answers to the following questions:

  • What causes a dead car battery?
  • What are dead car battery signs?
  • How can you charge/fix a dead car battery?
  • How do you jumpstart a car with a dead battery?

Alright then, let’s dive in!


What causes a dead car battery?

Electrical devices or lights left on, a faulty charging system or alternator, and severe weather are the most common causes of a dead car battery, but maybe it’s just time to get a new battery.

Here are some other most common causes for a dead car battery:

Parasitic drain

The cause of parasitic drain is components in your car that keep running after the key is off. There will always be some parasitic drain because your battery provides enough power to run your clock, radio settings, and security alarm. However, the parasitic drain might exceed what is typical and completely drain the battery if there is an electrical issue, such as poor wiring, improper installation, or damaged fuses.

Faulty alternator

The battery is recharged by a car’s alternator, which also provides power to some electrical components including the lights, radio, air conditioning, and automated windows. Your battery may discharge if your alternator has a defective diode. When the alternator diode fails, the circuit may continue to charge even when the engine is off, resulting in a car that won’t start the next morning.

Too many short drives

If you take too many short drives, your battery can run out before it should. When the automobile is started, the battery produces the maximum energy. The battery may keep dying or not seem to last very long if you turn off your car before the alternator has a chance to recharge.

Corroded or loose battery terminal

If the battery connectors have corroded, the charging system cannot top off your battery while you are driving. They should be cleaned with a toothbrush or a cloth after being inspected for dirt or corrosion. Incompetently transferred electrical current from loose battery wires makes it hard to start the engine as well.

Read more: What can drain a car battery? Warning signs of a low car battery

What are dead car battery signs?

Here are 10 most common signs of a dead car battery:

No Response at Ignition

When you turn the ignition key, if your automobile doesn’t start, it most likely implies the battery is dead and the starter motor isn’t receiving any power.

Engine cranks slowly

It’s common for your engine to take longer to start when it’s cold outside because the battery’s performance is reduced. If the temperature hasn’t dropped and your engine still hesitates before starting, you might have a weak battery, a faulty alternator, or a starter problem.

Dim or no headlights

When an engine won’t start and the headlights are dim or flickering, a weak battery is frequently the cause. This occurs when the battery is barely charged enough to run the headlights but not the engine. If the headlights don’t illuminate at all, your car battery is probably dead.

The Starter Motor Cranks but The Engine Won’t Turn Over

The starter motor may occasionally turn slowly, but the engine may not start. This can indicate a bad starter or a dead car battery. If the starting turns over at the normal rate but the engine still won’t start, your battery is likely in excellent shape but the fuel or spark plugs need to be checked.

The Check Engine Light Turns On

Several reasons, ranging from a malfunctioning alternator to problems with the fuel mixture, could cause the Check Engine light to illuminate. If this light comes on, don’t turn it off. Get a mechanic right now to troubleshoot it.

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The engine dies Immediately after starting

Occasionally when a car starts, the engine stops right away instead of idling. In this situation, the battery’s charge might be just sufficient to start the car. The engine then shuts off as a result of the battery failing and producing a disruption in the signals supplied to the engine control module (ECM).

Misshapen Battery

A defective battery is evidently indicated by a swollen or bloated battery, which is brought on by a buildup of hydrogen gases. This occurs when the alternator of the car is overcharging and the battery is unable to quickly release the gases.

No Door Chime or Dome Lights

Typically, the door lights turn on when you open the car door. A dead car battery is frequently to blame when they don’t function as it should.

Corroded Battery Terminals

One of the most frequent reasons for shorter battery lifespans is corrosion. It shows up on the battery terminal as a blue-green powder and lessens the battery’s capacity to hold a charge.

Strange Smell

If you observe fluid coming from your lead acid battery, it’s most likely battery acid and not distilled water. Avoid touching it. Leaked hydrogen sulfide gas gives off the rotten egg smell, which is frequently present in conjunction with the leak.

Read more: How to test a car battery with a multimeter

How can you charge/fix a dead car battery?

Dead car battery

Before jumpstarting your car

  • Before jump-starting, check the battery’s physical condition. Your battery should not have any visible cracks or leaks of battery acid. If your battery shows signs of these issues, don’t try to jump-start your automobile since you could hurt yourself or others if you do.
  • Before making any kind of contact with the dead car battery, put on safety goggles and rubber gloves. Your hands and eyes will be protected from any sulfuric acid that may leak from the battery by gloves and goggles.
  • Make sure the wires connecting your car’s battery are stable and corrosion-free. If your battery cables are corroded, use a stiff-bristled brush to clean them as thoroughly as you can.
  • Without letting the vehicles contact, drive the functional automobile into position next to the one with the dead battery. For this task, it is best to arrange the cars either closely next to one another in the same direction, head-on, or nose-to-nose. Check to see if the distance between the batteries in each automobile is sufficient for the jumper cables to connect the vehicles. The style and manufacturer have a significant impact on the length of jumper cables. If your first pair of jumper cables aren’t long enough, don’t try to join them together. The jumper cables may melt as a result, igniting a fire.
  • Turn off the running vehicle with the charged battery.

After you’ve done this, you can now jumpstart your car by following the steps listed below.

Read more: How to charge a car battery with a charger in 6 simple steps

How do you jumpstart a car with a dead battery?

Here’s how to jumpstart a dead car battery in 10 straightforward steps:

Step 1

Get a reliable set of jumper cables or a portable jump starter in your car. The cables must be substantial, have sufficient insulation, and have pristine metal clamps. There are times when the cables themselves will include a chart reminding you of the correct order to connect them. If you have a portable unit, make sure its battery is completely charged before storing it in your car.

Step 2

Locate the terminals of each battery by opening the hood of each vehicle. Sometimes the battery itself is concealed, leaving only the remote positive terminal (+) and the negative terminal (-) posts for jump-starting. Even if you can access the battery, certain cars might have a remote negative connection. This is for the last connection, which we will discover later. If you have a portable jump starter, you can move on to step 4.

Step 3

Parking the vehicle with the healthy battery near the one with the dead battery will allow you to cross the gap with ease. Make sure the metal ends of the jumper cables don’t dangle into the engine compartment, where they could get stuck on moving elements like a belt or a fan, or on the outside of the car, where they could scratch the paint, as you are connecting the cables. Make sure both vehicles are in neutral or park, depending on whether they have automatic or manual transmissions, and turn off the ignitions in each of them. Switch off the lights, radio, and all other accessories. Turn off the hazard flashers as well if the cars are parked in a secure location.

Step 4

Attach a positive (red) jumper cable end to the positive terminal of the dead battery. To ensure a solid electrical connection, make sure the clamp “bite” onto the battery terminal. If the terminal has corrosion, twist the clamp’s jaws until the corrosion is cut through and the metal is exposed. Check to see that the corresponding negative (black) cable clip is not in contact with any metal surfaces before proceeding to the other car to make connections. Those who have a mobile jump starter can move on to step 7.

Step 5

Attach the opposite end of the positive jumper cable to the booster car’s positive terminal using clamps. Once more, make sure there is a + sign next to the battery terminal. Attach the negative cable end to the booster car’s negative battery terminal. You can now attach the other end of the negative cable to an unpainted metal surface on the engine of the vehicle with the dead battery after connecting the negative wire to the battery terminal. Use a remote negative terminal with labels if one is available. If not, locate a bracket or unpainted bolt that is at least a few inches away from the dead battery. This will offer a stable ground and lessen the likelihood of sparking even more.

Step 6

Start the booster car after conducting one more check to ensure that the jumper wires are not in close proximity to any moving engine components. To build up enough of a charge to jump-start the dead battery in the second car, let it idle for a few minutes. If the dead battery is fresh and was depleted as a result of the lights in the car being left on for an extended period of time, it will likely start easily. It could take longer for the battery to charge and start if it is an older battery or if the car hasn’t started in a while (more than a month). Sometimes speeding up the procedure involves lightly revving the booster car’s engine.

Step 7

Start the car on a dead battery and let it run for a while. If the car won’t start but cranks quickly, check for other issues such as a gas tank that is empty.

Step 8

Gently disconnect the jumper cables and reverse the order of the connections. The most crucial cable to remove is the negative terminal, which is connected to the formerly dead battery. While you detach the other cable ends, have your assistant hold the cable away from any metal or other cable ends.

Step 9

Drive the vehicle that was jump-started for at least 20 minutes to allow the alternator to recharge the battery. Before turning off the engine, make sure you are in a secure location because the car might require another jump start depending on the battery’s health or the alternator’s performance.

Step 10

Consider having the battery checked at an auto parts store if it has been jump-started and is older than three years. Take the car to a mechanic for an examination to determine if other issues with the vehicle are to blame for the dead battery.

Watch the video below for more insight on how to charge or revive a dead car battery

Read more: Car battery replacement cost (parts and labor prices)


Can a dead car battery be recharged?

As was already explained, the first is by driving around. But automotive battery chargers can regenerate the entire charge into a battery if that doesn’t seem to be working. A car battery can be fully recharged by being plugged in for twenty-four hours, and chargers are often relatively inexpensive.

Can a dead car battery come back to life?

You won’t be able to start your automobile when the battery dies. In most cases, dead car batteries can be briefly revived to get you back on the road. However, the buildup of damage may cause your car battery to die prematurely, in which case it will usually need to be replaced.

Read more: How long does it take to charge a car battery? What you need to know

How do I know when my car needs a new battery?

  • Difficulty Starting the Ignition/Turning Over the Engine.
  • Electrical Malfunctions.
  • Strange Odor.
  • Poor Performance in Cold Weather.
  • Dashboard Lights & Lighting Issues.

How do I bring my car battery back to life?

How to recondition a car battery

  • Remove the rubber covering the caps and the battery. Next, take off the caps as well.
  • Recharge a battery by filling it with distilled water.
  • Nevertheless, you might attempt to swap out the acid in a battery by combining fresh acid with distilled water.

Read more: How to recondition a car battery

How long can a car battery sit dead?

It might be advisable to entirely unplug it from the car if you know you won’t be using it for a while or won’t be able to recharge it once a week. A detachable automobile battery may live up to six months if kept safely and securely out of the vehicle.

What can drain a car battery when the car is off?

When a car is not in use, factors like interior lights, door lights, or even faulty relays can deplete the battery. You usually don’t have to worry about the battery dying while you’re blaring the radio on your commute to work because the alternator recharges it while your engine is running.

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What happens if I leave my car battery dead?

Driving won’t be impacted by a dead car battery if the alternator is in good shape. The dash lights, engine, radio, HVAC, power steering, and dashcam will all stop working if the alternator fails along with the battery.

Read more: Battery terminal corrosion: causes, signs & how to clean it

How do you know when your car battery is completely dead?

  • The headlights, radio, or other electrical devices won’t turn on.
  • The engine struggles to turn over and makes a grinding noise.
  • Nothing happens when you turn the ignition on.
  • Your car won’t start in the morning but starts with no problem later in the day.
  • corroded car battery

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • What causes a dead car battery?
  • What are dead car battery signs?
  • How can you charge/fix a dead car battery?
  • How do you jumpstart a car with a dead battery?

I hope this content was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!