Getting in your car to go to work and trying to turn the engine on with no success is every car owner’s biggest nightmare. That’s a telltale sign of a dead battery. Still, if it happened in your driveway then it’s still not so bad. Sometimes when the battery is low it can die right in the middle of a traffic jam, making you stuck in the middle of the road with other people honking because you’re blocking the way.

What causes a dead battery?

Car batteries can fail for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because the battery is simply too old. Another common cause is driver’s fault. If you fail to turn off your headlights before leaving your car in the garage overnight, there is a high probability that you’ll wake up to a dead battery because the lights have been draining power from the battery all night. Another common culprit is cold weather. It can take the engine twice as much power, as usual, to start an engine in low temperatures.

What to do in case of a dead battery

So now you found your car battery dead and need to get it to work somehow. Fortunately, it can be done easily as long as you have jumper cables and another working car near you. Jump starting a car means using another car’s charged battery to revive your dead one.

For that, you will need jumper cables. If you don’t have any, purchase them now. Here you can find the best jumper cables reviews. Jumper cables should be an essential piece of equipment required to be carried at all times. For other useful car gear, check out the Be Your Car website.

You also need help from another driver. Ask your neighbor to lend you his engine’s power or hail someone from the road. Often, drivers will help each other out in situations like these – after all, many of us has experienced the same problem. You can also use your second car if you have one.

Put the vehicles next to each other but don’t allow them to touch. Put the cars in Neutral or Park and turn off both engines.

Now, attach the end of the positive cable (the red one) to the positive terminal of the dead battery. The other end should be attached to the positive terminal of the working battery. The negative cable (the black one) goes onto the negative terminal of the working battery. However, never attach it to the negative terminal of the dead battery. The other end should be connected to an unpainted metal surface under the dead car’s hood. Somewhere around the engine block is usually good.

Start the engine of the car doing the starting and run it idly for a few minutes. Then, attempt to start the dead car by turning the ignition key. It can take a few tries. When done, disconnect the cables in reverse order.

If the battery was simply drained due to owner’s mistake, around 30 minutes of driving should charge it fully again. However, if you suspect there is some other problem with the battery itself or maybe another car component, such as an alternator, bring your car to the mechanics immediately.