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How to Start a Car Without Jumper Cables When Your Battery Is Dead

When you’re in a city, surrounded by many people and vehicles, and your battery goes flat, it’s easy to turn it on with jumper cables or ask someone for help – you might not even need a mechanic. But what if you’re alone on the road and you don’t know how to start a car without jumper cables? Let’s say you’re moving across the country, and your car stops all of a sudden in the middle of nowhere. Those cables you might have become useless if there are no other cars around. A car shipping company has some tips for every car-related issue, and it’s no different with this one.

As we all know, even the best cars for city driving and the most expensive cars in the world sometimes break down. When a car battery goes flat because you left your lights or the radio on, there are plenty of ways to charge it in normal conditions. If you don’t have the cables, or you do, but there are no operable cars anywhere near, it’s time to learn how to be your own hero in this story. We will show you two ways of doing this, depending on whether you’re driving a vehicle with automatic or manual transmissions. Let’s see how to turn on a car with a dead battery and how to jumpstart a car without jumper cables before calling and paying for towing services, but don’t forget to try these tips only in case of an emergency.

The First Step Is to Be Completely Sure That the Battery Is Dead

If you’re not driving in New York City but on some isolated parts of the famous routes in the USA and your car stops, don’t panic – there’s always a solution. The primary thing you should do is to inspect what caused the car to stop. If you’re still learning how to drive a car for beginners, get the owner’s manual, and begin the research. In case you’re an experienced driver, this should be no problem for you. Keep in mind that this article isn’t a solution for you if the battery isn’t the problem.

Things You Should Check Before a Jumpstart

Before getting down to business and jumpstarting your vehicle, there are a few details to look at:

  • The first thing you should do is to check if the headlights are dim or bright after you turn the key to start the car. Dim ones mean that there is an issue with the battery, while the bright ones show you should continue looking.
  • Try to turn on the car and see if it cranks slowly. If it does, you’re on the right path.
  • Put the key in the ignition and check the lights on the dashboard and the stereo – there should be some signs of life. If not, the problem could be in the ignition.
  • The doors should unlock when you push the button on the key fob.

Another important thing is to see if there’s any damage to the battery because it can explode. Using safety gloves while inspecting will protect you from electricity, and you’ll learn how do you start a car with a dead battery in no time.

Two men sitting in a car looking at the dashboard
Make sure you know the source of the problem

How to Start a Car Without Jumper Cables If You Drive a Vehicle With a Manual Transmission?

How to start a dead car without jumper cables? If you’re driving a manual – it should be easy. Even though situations like these can cause you driving anxiety or driving stress, it’s very important to stay calm. Your car won’t become operable if you just sit there angry and do nothing, so look at the bright side – If you’re driving a vehicle with a manual or standard transmission, the chances to get it going again with this method are really high.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Jumper Cables to Start the Car? You’ll Need Just a Small Hill or Some Elevated Terrain

This is something you probably won’t see on the best TV shows about cars, but it’s very useful. The ideal scenario will be if you’re on a small hill or some other incline. Try pushing the car from the top of it – if you’re alone, place the car in neutral, open the driver’s door so that you can hold the steering wheel, and push the car with your shoulder. If you have someone to help, then one person should be sitting in the driver’s seat, steering the wheel, and others can push to the incline. The reason behind this is the momentum – once you go downhill, the force will allow your car to reach the momentum it needs to get going.

Once you’re there, it’s time to find out how to jumpstart a car without cables. You should get in the car, press the clutch, and put the car in the second gear. Then, put the key in the ignition, but don’t try to start the vehicle. It should be in so-called position two, just one step to the right. Get out of the car and push the car downhill, then get back to the driver’s seat quickly (just like in an action movie, right?), and hold the clutch until the car reaches five miles per hour. Then release it quickly, and it should turn on the engine.

If you can’t find any hills around, you will require spare hands. While one pushes the car, the other person should put the key in the ignition and switch to the second gear. Hold the clutch until the car gets some momentum, and then release the clutch quickly. If it doesn’t work, try pressing the clutch again and again. The more help you have, the better, since it’s harder to reach momentum when pushing a car on a flat road.

Hyundai on the road
Pushing your car downhill in the second gear is a great method of how to start a car without jumper cables

How to Jumpstart an Automatic Car Without Cables?

You maybe know how to use a tire repair kit, but do you know how to start a car without jumper cables if it’s an automatic? Pushing it downhill might not work, so the safest answer to how to fix a dead car battery without jumper cables is to have a charger. It is much more simple, but without it, you’re in a dead-end street. Every driver of automatic vehicles must know that they need a simple portable charger with them at all times. It should be in your emergency toolkit for situations just like these.

There’s only one step – plug the charger to your cigarette lighter. It can take from ten to twenty minutes to recharge, and you’ll be on your way. A solar charger is an answer for how to recharge a car battery without jumper cables. Put the solar panel anywhere in the car where it reaches enough sunlight, and plug it into a cigarette lighter once it’s full. That will be enough to solve the problem of how to charge a car battery without jumper cables on cars with automatic transmission.

If You Have a Jumper Box, Starting the Battery Will Only Require to Put Its Cables on the Posts

How do I start my car with jumper cables? In case you have a jump box (or jump starter) with you, we’d dare to say that there’s no problem at all. These boxes are actually small batteries, and they’re much safer than the jumper cables. They aren’t expensive, and they’re easily accessible, so having one in your trunk could save you from stress.

There will be no pushing cars, no looking for hills, no worrying if you have a charger with you, and no waiting for charging – only a charged jumper box. Most of them have integrated cables, so there’s no need to have any separated ones. Here’s a method of how you can get your engine working again:

  • Make sure that everything in the vehicle is off.
  • Be sure that your jump box is fully charged. If it isn’t, it won’t be of much help.
  • Inspect if the cables have some splits or cuts.
  • Open the hood and locate the car battery. It could also be in the trunk, but usually, it’s near the front right or left under the hood. If you can’t find it, check the manual.
  • Then, locate the terminals or posts on the battery.
  • The red clamp from the jump starter should be connected to a positive post, while the black clamp should be connected to an unpainted metal surface on the vehicle frame.
  • Turn on the jump starter and wait a couple of minutes.
  • Now you can turn on your car.

If it worked, you’re done, just turn off the jump starter and detach the cables in reverse order – first the black one and then the red one. If it didn’t work, wait for a few more minutes and try again. This will drain the power from the jump starter, so don’t forget to charge it again once you arrive at where you’re headed.

Red cable and black cable attached to a battery of a car
Having the right equipment in your trunk is always a lifesaver

Can You Jump Start a Car Without a Battery?

This could seem off-topic, but actually, it isn’t. It’s still about jump-starting the vehicle, but, unlike in the previous cases, this one doesn’t have a battery inside. In case you have a car that’s been sitting in your garage for some time and doesn’t have a battery, you could ask yourself if it is possible to make it operable again by jump-starting it. The answer is – no. Mainly because it isn’t safe. It’s better to go out to a local auto dismantler and get yourself a used battery than to try and trick the vehicle that the battery is there. It could burn and explode, especially if you have a model newer than 1975. A new battery is also a good investment if you plan on selling and shipping the car cross country.

A person standing in front of a car with open hood holding a pen and paper
Don't risk doing damage - leave it to professional services

Drive to the Nearest Mechanic or Call Safety Services to Help You Out

If you used these tips and managed to turn on your vehicle again, your next step should be going to the nearest mechanic and see what caused the problem. You may have heroically defeated the dead battery, but it’s more important to stay safe. These methods should only be used in extreme circumstances when there’s no other way to move from the spot you’re in. In every other case, you should call a towing company to tow you away and save you from hurting yourself or damaging the car.

Moving Without Roadside Assistance Can Be Impossible

Imagine not getting auto transport services, be that in an open or enclosed trailer, but moving cross country in your car, and this whole mess with a flat battery happens while you drive. If you don’t have the number of roadside assistance, the trip can turn out to ruin your day, week, or even an entire month. Keep their number memorized in your phone just in case, or find it on your insurance card, and don’t forget to tip the service tech.