The average life of a car battery is between 3 and 5 years, so you never expect to have your battery die on you. But when it does, it’s a significant inconvenience. It almost always happens when you’re late for work, stuck in the middle of nowhere, and have no way to call for help.
So what do you do next? Here are some easy solutions to get your car back on the road and get you where you need to be.
Check the Car Battery
When your car doesn’t start, check the voltage of your battery using a multimeter. The battery must be replaced if it doesn’t show any reading or reads much lower than 12 volts.
If you don’t have a multimeter, check the battery case for damage. When one side of the battery bulges outward or liquid leaks out of the case, your battery is likely wrong.
Batteries in good condition can still cause trouble, so you’ll have to check the dashboard to confirm whether your battery is the source of your vehicle’s starting problems. If your battery signal is on, it could mean the battery has some failure. If there are no lights on the dashboard (or on the rest of the vehicle), this is a sure sign that your battery is dead.
Clean Your Terminals
Dirty terminals can cause problems with your vehicle’s electrical system. Clean the terminals on your battery and cables using a mixture of baking soda and water. A wire brush is best, but a soft cloth will work in a pinch.
Try using Coca-Cola on incredibly rusty terminals. It’s acidic enough to remove the corrosion without damaging the component or other cables.
Your electrical system may have a short circuit if your car battery doesn’t start after your terminals are clean.
Get a Jumpstart
If your cell phone has power, contact a friend for a jumpstart. You can also flag down a passing vehicle and ask for help.
If you can’t jumpstart your car, ask a passerby to help push it while you try to start it. This method only works for vehicles with a manual transmission.
Charge the Battery
A portable battery charger can be a lifesaver. Connect the positive and negative terminals to their respective positions, then let your battery charge for about 30 minutes. If your vehicle’s alternator is working correctly, this should give you enough juice to get back on the road.
Call a Tow Truck
If your car battery refuses to start after following the tips above, call Hurst Towing. We provide towing services for all vehicles, from most miniature foreign models to large American SUVs. We’ve been assisting the Birmingham area for over 31 years and have a reputation for top-notch customer service.