A car that won’t start happens to the best of us. You may have left the lights on by accident, which will kill your battery overnight. Or the battery needs changing.
What to do after you have Jump Started Your Car
Here are a few things you need to do after you have jumpstarted a car.
1. Run the car to charge the battery
A jumpstart gets the engine running from another battery. When the engine starts running, the alternator will charge the partially depleted battery again. There’s no specific amount of time to drive to charge the battery but we recommend driving for up to 30 minutes.
It will depend on the battery’s voltage before jumpstarting the car. Depending on the depletion level, it may take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Remember that the alternator will be recharging the battery. If you are dealing with an older battery that is deeply discharged, it may take longer to charge.
We recommend driving to the nearest auto shop to have the battery charged with a battery charger. If the battery needs replacing, there’s no need to use the battery charger. It’s best to replace it as soon as possible.
2. Know a Healthy Battery
While a battery charger will get a healthy battery into okay within a few hours, you will need to know the battery’s physical status before you need another jump start.
After jumping the car, allow it to run for at least 20 minutes. This lets the engine recharge the battery. If the battery holds the charge, it is healthy, and no worries there. If it doesn’t, it’s time to replace it.
3. Load-Test Battery
You may want to have the battery load-tested by a battery professional. This process determines if the battery is close to replacement. It’s good to keep a battery charger in your garage in case you find your battery is deeply discharged.
4. Check the Battery Cables
If the battery cables are corroded, they will make a poor electrical connection, which may be why the car did not start. A clean electrical connection between the alternator, the battery, and the vehicle ground will keep everything working together blissfully.
Watch for the Signs of a Bad Battery
The signs include.
- Slow crank
- Dim headlights
- Clicking sound after you turn the key
- The need to press on the gas pedal to start
5. Don’t overload the car when Idle.
At idle RPM, most vehicles can still charge the battery. But you don’t want to put large electrical loads on the car at idle. When idle, the alternator provides the energy to charge the battery. But if you have high-powered accessories, the alternator in an idling vehicle cannot keep up with the electrical demand. The battery makes up for the difference, hence draining it.
6. Sign up for ‘Car is not Starting Inspection Service’.
If you jumpstart your car, chances are you may need to do it again. It’s best if you sign up for a ‘car is not starting inspection service’. This service gets a mechanic to your location to provide an expeditious diagnosis and inform you of the necessary repairs.
We hope that the above information will keep you on the road safely on the rare occurrence that you jump start your car. Remember to keep your car running for a few minutes to charge the battery further. You will also want to know the signs that the battery needs replacing.
Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.