The Non-Mechanic’s Guide to a Flat Car Battery

How to Jump Start a Car

Isn’t it always the way? You’re in a rush to be somewhere, you jump in your car and it won’t start. It’s a flat car battery. These inconveniences always happen when we least need them to happen. It’s times like those when you wish you knew how to jump-start a flat battery. Or it could be that your battery has come to the end of its useful life, meaning you need to replace it immediately. The fact is, batteries don’t last forever but there are ways you can optimise their usage so that they have better longevity.

Please note, ALWAYS refer to your car manufacturer’s manual before you jump start your car. If you have any doubts about jump starting your car, it’s not worth the risk - call your roadside assistance provider.

If you have a vehicle with new engine technology such as a hybrid or electric car, refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

What causes a flat car battery?

Avoid jump-starting your car if it’s a fairly late model

Since late model cars are equipped with complex electronics, any spike in voltage can potentially damage the delicate circuitry with disastrous – and expensive – consequences. If your car battery is flat, you should never use old-style jumper leads. Only use those that are fitted with a ‘spike guard’ or ‘surge protector’.  These jump-start products are fitted with inbuilt spark and surge protection are don’t require a second car to be involved.

How to jump-start a flat battery

Before you even try to jump-start your car’s flat battery, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

The best possible way to jump-start a flat battery that won’t cause injury or harm to you or other people and which is least likely to damage your car, is to call a professional to do it for you. You’re dealing with complex electronics and electrical charges.

The hazards of DIY battery jump-starting

Though many people do jump-start their flat car batteries themselves, there are more reasons to avoid doing it yourself. Considering the size of your investment for the cost of your car, the risk to your health and that of others, and the potential for things to go wrong, it makes more sense to enlist the services of a professional. Here’s why:

Focus instead on keeping your car battery healthy

Tutorials, classes and books

Before it becomes necessary to do any kind of car maintenance, it’s a good idea to be prepared with the skills and information. You can learn how to jump-start a flat battery through YouTube tutorials, by attending car maintenance classes or by reading books. Given the number of steps involved to do it 100 per cent safely, you would be wise to spend some time studying the process, and not rush in and try it when you’re running late for that important meeting.

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