If there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s that a flat battery never happens at a convenient time. Most of us have experienced the scenario of running late for work, jumping into the car to turn it on, but the engine is just not cranking…
Unfortunately, even if you pride yourself on never leaving the radio on while you’re not driving, or always remember to turn off your headlights, you will someday experience this unwelcome surprise.
To help you prepare for this unpleasant situation, we’ve written a guide on how to safely handle a flat car battery.
Steps to take when you have a flat battery
Double check that it’s a flat battery
The first thing you want to check when your engine won’t start is that it actually is due to a flat battery. If your car is struggling to turn on, or you are hearing a ‘click’ noise when you turn your key, or if your headlights are dim, a flat battery is most likely the culprit.
Charge your battery
A common reason for a dead battery is that it’s been drained due to the lights being left on while the engine is off. If your battery hasn’t completely discharged, you may be able to charge it back up in the comfort of your own garage. To do this, you will need to buy a car battery charger. Not all car battery chargers are the same, so you will need to familiarize yourself with your model prior to using it. To fully charge your battery using this method would usually take around 10-24 hours, however if you only want to boost your battery enough to be able to start the engine, then you would only need 2-4 hours.
Jump starting your battery
If your battery has completely run out, charging it won’t unfortunately work and your next option lies in jumpstarting it. To do so, you will need jumper leads, and a good Samaritan who is willing to lend you their car. Jump starting a car may seem quite intimidating but is actually a simple process to follow once you know what you are doing.
The most important thing to do before going ahead is perform a quick safety check. You will need to ensure that the ignition of both cars is switched off, that the two vehicles are not touching in any way, and that both batteries are undamaged. Once you have done this, follow these steps:
1. Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery
2. Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other battery
3. Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal of the other battery
4. Attach the other end of the black clips to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t close to the battery
5. Turn on the working vehicle and let the engine run for around 5 minutes
6. Try to start your vehicle
If your car starts, you should take your car for a drive for approximately 15 minutes to charge up the battery again. However, if your car doesn’t start, it means that you’ll need to replace it.
At Auto Leaders, you get free roadside assistance with every service. This comes in handy especially in situations like these. Click here to find out more.