Knowing how to jump start car may be a life saver in case of dead car battery. I may have to order jumper cable, better yet a portable car battery jump starter. You won’t believe a nightmare I went through and you certainly do NOT want that!!! Find out what happened below!!
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Jumping a Car Battery
Jumping a Car Battery is something you don’t want to go through if all possible, but if it happens, knowing how to jump start car will be critical for your safety.
Jumping a car battery basically means you assist your car battery (which may be dead and the engine does NOT start) to start the engine so that you can get going quickly. You need a jumper cable set (red/black ones) that can transfer electrical current from another car battery or self portable jumper kit. Red/Black jumper cables usually look like these:
I had to go through this past weekend after I started to discuss Car Maintenance DIY in the last few posts (What a coincidence!!), and I wanted to tell what you happened so that you would be more prepared just in case!
You won’t believe what I experienced! and it’s kinda scary. I certainly did not expect it would have happened. Here’s how my story goes.
Dead Car Battery?!?
My oldest is in college, and her campus is 9 hours away from home. That’s a total of 18 hrs drive at least for me going and coming back. Since it’s just a start of the fall semester and she is now moving into a new apartment, we have a lot of items to carry around. So we decided to drive like how I picked her up in the end of last semester. She has been back home for the last nearly 2+ months, and it was just time for her to go back to school.
Have you driven 9 hrs before in one shot? Or better yet, 18 hrs drive in just a 24 hr time frame?
This was to be done in just a weekend since our youngust would need to go to school on Monday. Luckily, my lovely wife decided to come with me and we also took our two cute American Eskimo dogs. My wife would drive a bit to help me out so that I wouldn’t have to drive loooooooong 18 hrs.
Oh, you can see our dogs here if you would like. I have to warn you, they are darn cute. 😍 😘
Anyhow, 9 hrs one way is quite a bit of drive. We may stop by probably 3 times or so, so that we could take dogs out for their business (and ours). That makes a total of 10 hrs trip time or something.
Yes, that’s long…
I followed through a basic car maintenance DIY I told you before, prior to our departure. If you don’t know what I am talking about, check here. We were fully set to go!
Things started out normal, and the car was running as good as before. We drove for nearly 4 hrs without any issues. We stopped by at a Pilot gas station and I refilled gas. This is when the issue started.
I turned the key on, and the engine hesitated to start. I turned it on again, and nothing. I did it again and NOTHING!!! The panel didn’t show anything, no engine light or anything at all. We were basically stuck at the pump 9 at this gas station.
In case you didn’t know, the number 9 is not a really good number in Japanese. “9” infers to suffering. Japanese hostitals don’t even have room numbers with 9! Was that a coincidence? I don’t know, but perhaps so.
Honestly, I was pretty puzzeled. Everything was running until we stopped at this gas station and everything went south it seemed. We still had another 4 hrs to drive. I knew almost immediately something was probably wrong with electrical components, and one of the easiest way to check was to look at the battery physically. OK, fine.
I opened the front hood, and checked the battery. It looked exactly like how it looked before we left the house. Both the cables (positive and negative) were attached (or they seemed). Nothing outordinary stood out…
Pretty strange. We may be in a deeper trouble I feared…
If I am at home or somewhere nearby, I would start jumping a car battery. This involves something like this by connecting two cars together with a jumper cable.
Dead Battery Really??
Dead Battery is the least I expected.
Because of these reasons.
- The battery was bought in Nov. 14. It’s been just less than 2 years. Batteries don’t fail that often.
- This battery (Walmart one) had 3 year replacement warranty. This means Walmart is PRETTY SURE it will last for at least 3 years.
I still think it’s a pretty good battery.
- I installed the battery on my own, and double and triple checked all the connections.
- Everything has been running fine since the car battery replacement, even it was running just fine until 5 minutes ago. I have driven for nearly the last 2 years without any issues.
If I were at home, I would have all the tools to check the voltage of the potentially dead battery. In the worst case, changing a car battery would be in order which I could handle. I normally don’t carry these electric multimeter like this one, but now I may decide to carry one in case it would happen again. I also didn’t have a hex wrench though I had another tool which wasn’t helpful…
I checked inside the Pilot gas station and they didn’t have the multimeter I could borrow to check the car battery voltage…
Ok, a jumper cable set is something I carry in the car all the time, so let’s do a quick test and see if the battery is alive.
By the way, a jumper cable set is usually part of some car emergency kit like this one below. If you don’t have this kit, you should strongly consider getting one as it could be also helpful in a stranded situation.
I connected the jumper cable and let the both ends to touch. A good battery would cause a small spark that would show the battery has a charge to start the engine.
There was NO spark. NOTHING!
I didn’t feel any shock. So at this time, most likely the battery is either dead or the charge is too low. That’s what I suspected since the beginning this issue started.
One of the things I immediately did was to call AAA so they would send somebody to come over. In the worst case, if the battery were really dead, then I would buy a new one from AAA (He would bring one to come over). => Remember, I was nearly 5 hrs away from home and I still had another 4 hrs to drive, and the next closest auto part shop was about 15 minute drive away. I just had to make sure things would be in a good working order BEFORE I would drive another 4 hrs potentially getting stuck again at the middle of NOwhere. I didn’t want to just jump from another car around (sure, we were at the gas station with many cars around!) quickly and go just in case my car has larger issues…
A few people offered to help me if I would want to jump the car. I truly appreciated their help. There are still GOOD people around here. I politely declined their offer stating I had called AAA. Again, if I were near my house, I would probably took their offer, jump start car and took off. With 4 more hours drive, I was just hesitant to just jump start car and go on.
Jumper Cable Order Secrets?
There are NO Jumper cable order secrets, are there? I didn’t think so, but perhaps there are.
When I opened the hood, I checked the battery cables and they didn’t seem loose. They didn’t pop out or anything. So I thought there was something else going on, perhaps the alternator. But I would have seen something (usually some vibration when driving) or engine light would have come on if the alternator was actually bad. There was no such a sign.
2 hrs later, a guy from AAA finally showed up. He was an older, yet very kind wanting to help me out. We were somewhat tired just waiting in a hot car for a while…
He brought some tools and connected the battery tester to the dead battery. He wanted to check how much juice it still had. It had the lowest light on, so there was not really anything charged in the battery which I had somewhat expected from my previous jumper cable attempt.
He started to check the dead car battery cables, and when he checked on the positive cable, it was tight. When he checked on the negative cable, something unexpected happened. The cable popped out.
WHAT?!??! That can’t be. I couldn’t believe myself. Duh…. I had checked it before and it looked just fine. AND it was just fine until 5 minute ago.
“That might be the problem!” he said, and he told me the very last case he worked on had a similar issue. He added, “the cable was loose and it wasn’t charing the battery as it should have been.”
Honestly, I wanted to hit myself. I felt sorry for my wife, daughter and two dogs. They were staying in the pretty hot car without AC. Luckily, we had opened the windows a bit. It had rained and my wife had to use the sun shade for rain not to come inside.
He used a hex wrench to fully loosen the cable bolt, reinserted it in place and tightened the bolt. Surely enough, the battery didn’t have any juice, so he had to connect a portable jump start kit like this one.
He connected both negative and positive cables on top of the dead battery for a few seconds, and told me to start the engine.
I know this sounds pretty stupid and sad, but it surely felt like we were saved!! 😩 😫 😣
He said the alternator kicked in as expected and the voltage showed 13.9V which was typical for the car after the alternator kicked in (otherwise, the normal car battery voltage would be around 12V.) The battery would then fully charge as we would drive for 15 minutes or so. Driving for another 4 hours would be rather perfect for the battery to recharge. We then took off and came back home the very next day without any problems.
Sure, this car battery jump starter looks powerful and it did the job, but it’s bulky and rather ugly?!?
I am thinking about getting one that I should carry in the car just in case, but let’s think for a minute how likely this will happen again…
I have so far owned 4 total cars in the last 25 years I have lived in the U.S. I have had 2 Nissans, 1 Toyota and 1 Mazda. They surely last for a long time over 10 years. I am sure many American cars these days last that long as long as you maintain well.
However, the only time I have had a complete battery failure (at least temporarily) on the road is just this one time I just experienced. Other times I experienced something with the battery was close to home or at home, and that happened perhaps just 2 times in the last 25 years. This means it is somewhat unlikely that I would experience the battery failure on the road for another 25 years??
Not sure if that’s a good logic or not, but that’s good enough for me. Anyhow, I still want to carry around a jump starter kit just in case. So I am coming up with some of my use cases and requirements that I may look for in the jump starter kit.
Car Battery Jumper Requirements
- Portable (small in size)
- Rather cheap (I love frugal living. Less than $100 target.)
- Can charge others (Like cell phones with USB!)
- Reliable (Good reviews, longer vendor support, etc.)
Oh, man, I looked around a lot of different web sites, and looked at the Consumer Report magazine that was recent from a few months back. I probably wasted (?!) a few hours looking around these places.
In the end, I think I am getting this one! => Check this Car Battery Jumper.
Here are reasons:
- I have already owned a few of this company’s portable batteries for cell phones. They work extremely well for the price.
- This company has a rather unbelievable 18 months warranty (If you realize, many of not well known portable batteries fail with a few months and usually they only carry 12 months warranty or less.)
- If there are any types of known issues with the product, they let you know the option to get it replaced.
- The company’s support is excellent and speedy. I had a battery that was somewhat defective and the support sent me the replacement right away. They also sent a replacement for a car USB charger when they sent a notice that the product had a known electrical circuit issue.
- This item is portable and I can carry in the car (trunk or glovebox).
- This item can charge cell phones, tablet, etc!
- It is rather cheap.
- It looks rather stylish!! 😉
I have been so far completely satisfied with this company’s item and I am sure I won’t be disappointed.
The morale of the story is that this is one of those items that you need to get RIGHT NOW, not tomorrow or later. That’s because if a battery dead issue like this happens to you (and you should realize that what happened to me could happen to you any time), that’s almost too late.
Imagine this happens to you on the country road somewhere that you can’t easily get help or cell phone doesn’t work?!? So take an action NOW.
That’s kind of scary. You could get stuck for a long time. In our case, we were lucky that we got stuck at the gas station. We had food, restroom, and we were basically safe like normal. We just couldn’t move. I was actually worried about restroom very much, but that wasn’t really an issue for us. If this were to happen on the road somewhere, things could have gotten ugly. Things could have been much worse. 2 hours of waiting was not bad at all considering what else could have gone wrong. AAA was helpful. If you don’t have a membership, you may consider getting one. You can get a lot of tour books, maps, other discounts, and though these types of incidents don’t happen often, if they do happen, they are a phone call away. Their AAA app can also create a service call on your phone and phone can use its own GPS to tell the current location. That’s pretty neat.
You should now be convinced that you MUST get the car battery jumper starting kit NOW. If not, just imagine if you could easily navigate through the incident if that happens to you. 🙂 You can get your own preferred one here at Amazon. Get it NOW before it’s too late!
Here are some reference sites: Car Starter: Top 7 Compact Battery Jump Starters 2016 Best Portable Jump Starter Reviews 10 of the Best Jump Starters To Buy with Reviews – 2016
How to Replace Car Battery
How to Replace Car Battery is not too hard if your car battery turns out to be really dead. Jumping a car battery is possible using the one introduced above for a totally dead battery car. In many cases, if your car battery starts to have issues, it probably has some juice left. In this case, you can certainly jump the car using the portable jumper. There are many reports that people say these portable jumper started totally dead car battery engines. So that’s a good thing. If you do need to replace the car battery as part of your regular maintenance, you can refer to this page. I have some information there.If you are a visual leaner, check this YouTube video on how to replace a car battery. You should all be set.
Jumping a Car Battery, Dead Battery? Jumper Cable Order Secrets! Summary
Thanks for reading “Jumping a Car Battery, Dead Battery? Jumper Cable Order Secrets!“. I hope I have provided some helpful information about dead car battery before you experienced it. Here’s the summary:
- Dead battery can happen to any of you at any time.
- You need a way to recover from the dead battery if it happens to you, hopefully relatively quick.
- AAA can be a good option to ask for help.
- Others with jumper cable can also help.
- After all, you should have a portable jumper that can get you going if that happens.
- Portable jumpers can also provide power for USB if equipped.
I am convinced I want to carry one in my car, and will get one this week. If I have more updates on other incidents (hopefully not many), I will surely report out. In the mean time, you may also want to do the same to get a jumper, just in case.
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