MYTH: Newer cars don’t experience battery drain as quickly as older cars. WRONG! Battery drain happens even more so in newer vehicles because of the enhanced electrical and monitoring systems - these consume energy even when the car is parked.
Your car has likely been parked up for exceptionally long periods during the Covid-19 pandemic, sometimes for days or even weeks at a time. As a car sits, the battery continues to drain, and over extended periods, this can result in a completely drained battery.
Consequently, many motorists have needed a jump-start recently, especially those with newer vehicles. The AA has seen a surge in residential jump start call outs in 2020 / early 2021.
Reviving dead batteries
There are 3 solutions to reviving a dead battery
- Most common - jump start the battery using either jumper cables and another car, or a portable jump starter.
- Charge up the battery using a battery charger
- Out with the old, in with the new - replace the battery
Jump-starting a car used to be quite simple, but with the enhancement of vehicle systems, there are new risks to be aware of, and you should be taking extreme care if you plan on jump-starting a car on your own or entrust the job fully to a stranger. If the proper steps are not taken in the jump start process, there is a possibility that damage could be done to the vehicle. In any case, you should follow the car owners manual to the letter as this will spell out the exact steps to take for your car’s battery to be jump started properly.
Jump cables have a set of clamps, one marked red for positive and the other black for negative. Battery terminals are usually marked with a + symbol for the positive terminal and a - symbol for negative.
How to Jump Start Your Car Using Another Car
Park the car you’ll use for jump-starting next to the one with the dead battery, positioned close enough so that the cables will reach. The vehicles shouldn't touch one another. Ensure the handbrake is applied to both cars, and both cars are in the neutral gear.
Turn off the ignition on both cars.
Step 2: Connect The Cables
First, clamp one end of the positive cable to the dead battery’s positive clamp.
Now connect the other end of that cable to the other battery’s positive clamp.
Next, connect the negative cable to the negative terminal on the good battery.
Finally, connect the other end of the negative cable to a ground on the vehicle with the dead battery. This can be the engine block or another metal surface away from the battery. Be careful not to touch the two ends of the cable together while doing this.
Start the rescue car that is providing the electricity.
Then, afterwards, start the car with the dead battery. If it doesn’t start, turn both ignitions off and re-check your connections and tighten as needed.
If it does start, leave the problem car to run for at least 20 minutes to allow the battery to recharge before shutting it off.
If it still doesn’t start, there may be another problem with your battery and it may need to be replaced. Call a local mechanic / service center for assistance.
Step 4: Disconnect the Cables
Disconnect the cables in exact reverse order.
How to Jump Start Your Car Using A Portable Jump Starter
Portable jump starters like the range offered by NOCO, are excellent for jump starting your vehicle on your own. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before attempting to jump start your battery using a portable device. Each device may carry its own set of precautions and preparation steps so remember to read the manual and prepare fully. In most cases, the jump starter acts like the recovery vehicle outlined in the method above, and provides electricity to your battery during the jump start process. It will not work if it is insufficiently charged, or is not powerful enough to jump start a specific engine size / voltage.
Always check that portable jump starters are sufficient in voltage and capacity to use with your vehicle.
How To Charge A Car Battery
Another method is to place your battery on charge when you become aware it’s significantly dead or drained. Battery chargers these days are highly powerful and portable and can pack a serious punch of power into a flat battery in a short space of time. We recommend NOCO Genius chargers - these are intelligent battery chargers that are extremely powerful and highly compact - meaning that some can be used without removing the battery from the vehicle at all. Pay attention to the level of voltage and power you’ll need to sufficiently charge your battery - most NOCO chargers are 6v/12v compatible, which is what most vehicle batteries are, but there are specific 24v chargers required for 24v HGV batteries.
Depending on the type of charger you use, you simply plug the charger into a wall socket, then connect it up to your battery and allow it to charge. Any good battery charger will have an indicator to tell you when it’s reached a full charge.
It may be the case however, that after charging, your battery can’t hold its charge and frequently goes flat again. When this happens, it’s extremely likely that you’ll need a replacement battery.
Replacing A Battery
Sounds tricky and expensive, right? WRONG! The good news is that batteries are now quite affordable and in most cases, can be changed in a matter of minutes by a home user. We’ve made a comprehensive video here showing you exactly how to change your cars battery.
WATCH OUR VIDEO HERE
It is true that some cars will need a trip to the main dealer to replace and code in a new battery, some cars require special computer resetting to acknowledge that the battery has been replaced.
How to Avoid Getting A Dead Battery
Cars need to be driven regularly to allow the alternator to maintain the battery’s charge level. If you need to park your car up for an extended period, consider using a trickle charger or battery maintainer. These devices can replenish a drained battery and potentially extend its service life.
Car batteries typically last three to five years depending on how they’re used and temperatures that the battery experiences - certainly, extreme hot and cold temperatures will have an impact on your battery and will likely require it to be replaced sooner.