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Is Jumping-Starting a Dead Car Battery Safe?

As the weather cools down, you might find your car struggling to start. How do you jump-start a car battery? Is it safe? Can jump-starting another battery drain your own? The mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here to answer all of your questions about batteries. 

Why Do So Many Car Batteries Die in the Winter?

Before we dive in, you might be wondering why your car battery gave out. So why do car batteries die in the winter

  • Oil troubles: Engine oil moves more slowly at cold temperatures, which will require an extra surge of power from your battery. This issue is especially troubling if you are due for an oil change. 
  • Depleted charge: The “charge” in your car battery is maintained by an electrochemical reaction. The colder weather slows down this process—which drops some of your battery’s power. 
  • Summer battery damage: While the cold winter weather will slow down your battery, it will not damage your battery. The summer heat, on the other hand, can cause some structural battery damage. This damage will leave your battery unable to fight the effects of the cold weather. 

You can prevent damage to your battery by parking in the garage. Batteries also die simply because they are due for a replacement. Even in ideal conditions, your car battery will need to be replaced every 3-4 years. 

Is It Safe to Jump-Start a Dead Car Battery?

If you follow all safety precautions, jumping a dead car battery is completely safe. Here is a look at some of the safety measures you should follow:

  • Make sure both cars are turned off when connecting the jumper cables.
  • Always connect the cables to the dead battery first.
  • Once there is power running through the cables, take precautions when handling them. Do not touch the two ends of the cables together.
  • Do not touch the two vehicles together. 
  • Every vehicle and engine is unique. To ensure your safety and the safety of your vehicle, please read and follow all jump-starting instructions in your owner’s manual. 
  • If you feel unsafe using jumper cables, consider investing in a jump-starter pack. 

So how do you jump-start a car battery? Chapel Hill Tire has a full 8 step guide here.

Do I Need a New Car Battery?

A drained car battery is different from a dead car battery. For example, if you leave your headlights on overnight, it might drain even a new car battery. However, a simple jump-start will be enough to get you going. As you drive, your healthy battery will regain and keep this charge.  

Conversely, once a battery has gone bad, it will require a battery replacement service. Worn, old, and corroded car batteries will not hold a charge. Rather, you should bring it straight to a mechanic after your jump-start. How can you tell if your battery has gone bad?

  • Did it die on its own? If so, it has likely gone bad. Otherwise, if you notice a light or another factor that drained your car battery, you might still be okay. 
  • Is your battery older? Car batteries will require replacement roughly every 3 years. 
  • Do you notice corrosion on your car battery? This indicates battery deterioration. 

When none of these situations may apply to you, your alternator or starting system could be the problem. While it is rare, you may also have gotten a “lemon” battery replacement. In these cases, an experienced mechanic can help find and repair the source of your troubles. 

Is Jump-Starting a Battery Bad for Your Car?

So what about your car when jump-starting another battery? This process will put slight stress on your battery and alternator. However, in most cases, this process is harmless. A healthy battery will be unfazed by the jump-start, and your battery will recharge as you drive. 

However, If done improperly, jump-starting another car can pose some risks for your vehicle. You will want to ensure your car is about the same size as the other vehicle. Too much of a power surge can impact the other car’s electrical system. Meanwhile, not enough power will strain your charge without successfully jump-starting the other car. You will also want to ensure that you follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual. 

Chapel Hill Tire Battery Replacement Services

When you are due for a new car battery, the professionals at Chapel Hill Tire have you covered. We proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 9 locations across Raleigh, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. You can make your appointment here online or give us a call to get started today!

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