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How is your day going? Did you wake up and head out to leave only to find yourself getting that familiar click when you go to start your car? Ugh, that’s just so annoying, isn’t it? And it just always seems to happen on days that you are in a hurry. Dealing with a dead car battery is an inconvenience that none of us want to deal with.
Trying to figure out what to do with a car battery mostly depends on what caused it to die. Most often, the vehicle lights were on, or the key left on to the accessory mode. Whether it is something as simple as that, or something more extensive, figuring out the issue will help you know what to do with it and can save you money and frustration.
Dead Car Battery – Now What?
Even if you do wake up to a dead car battery, it’s not the end of the world. Let’s talk about what you can do to figure out the problem. Let’s talk about the different issues that can cause a dead car battery and how you deal with each of these issues.
Get a Jump
I’m sure you already know this, but the easiest and most common way that you can fix a dead battery is to jump-start the car. Of course, you will need jumper cables (that’s why every car should have a pair in the trunk) and another vehicle.
Open the hood on both cars and connect the positive wire to the positive terminal of the battery on each vehicle.
Next, connect the negative cable to the negative terminal of the battery on each vehicle.
Now it is time to start the vehicle without the dead battery and let it run for a short time, now try to start the car with the dead engine. In most cases, your vehicle will start right up.
Repair the Battery
In most cases of a dead car battery, you likely left your lights or some other accessory on. If you didn’t leave something on, there might be a bigger problem.
Once you are parked in your driveway or garage, open up your battery caps and check the electrolyte levels. If they are low, add distilled water to them. If they have some corrosion, you can clean them up with a toothbrush and a baking soda/water mixture.
Check the Voltage
If the battery is still misbehaving, it’s time to check out the voltage. Grab a voltmeter and use it to check the battery while the vehicle is off, and check to be sure that the volt reading is between 12.6 and 12.8.
If the jump start and the battery cleaning and repair don’t do the trick, it may be time to replace your battery. When choosing a replacement battery, be sure that it matches up with the electrical specs and size dimensions.
If you do end up having to replace the battery, be sure, and take your old battery in to save yourself the core fee.
Alternate UsesAre your car headlights starting to dim and the cranking is way too slow? Your car battery be on its way out!Click To Tweet
There are also situations in which a battery is too “dead” to run a car, but still usable! In this situation, you may not want to get rid of the battery. Here are other things that you can do with (not quite so) dead car battery:
- Running a small solar panel
- Charge up your kids’ Hot Wheels Battery. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend $50+ up on a new Hot Wheels battery over and over again if I don’t have to.
- Sell them! Check out the battery stores in your area. You might just find that you have a small fortune (okay, so it’s not really a small fortune, but I think the store local to me pays out like $10-$15 per battery, that can add up pretty quick if you have several of them in your garage).
While dealing with a dead car battery is far from fun, it is a lot easier to deal with if you know your options, and you know what you can do.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.