How to Properly Boost a “Dead” Battery


We cannot further delay the Winter Season. What comes with it is the usual road scenery – vehicles being towed by Tow Trucks either because they would not start or they got into vehicle collisions. About 90% of the time, if we ask the Tow Truck driver, they are towing the vehicle because it wouldn’t want to start mainly because of charging or starting issues.
We have to take into consideration that during this time of the year, we do additional things inside our car which put more load on our batteries and eat up the power of the charging system of our cars. What are these? Some of them are as follows but not limited to:

1. We warm up our vehicles during Winter and hence, idling of vehicle is likewise lengthened;
2. We use turn on our headlights, heater, defogger, heated seats

These practices consume more electricity. That is why; we should prepare our vehicles before the “white stuff” comes. Our vehicles undergo so much stress they work double time not to mention that they are subjected to way below zero temperatures.
If our batteries are registering a below “cold cranking amperage” (CCA) compared to the specified CCA of the manufacturer, it will not survive the requirements we are subjecting them to. End result? Dead battery.
So what do we do? BOOST OR JUMP START right away. Even tow truck drivers would jump into boosting. But we have to be reminded, the reason they are Tow truck drivers is because they are not Mechanics. Their knowledge is very limited when it comes to vehicle problems. We would insist that “it might work if we boost it.” But hold on a second, there might be some areas we are missing that may damage some components in our vehicle if we just simply boost right away.

The electrical system/controls/power control units may be compromised if sudden voltage surges are introduced while boosting.
Let us not make boosting an easy way out in our desperation to make our vehicles run. If we can avoid boosting, let us avoid it and rather have your vehicle towed to your mechanic’s shop or to the nearest repair shop. However, if we cannot totally avoid it, we need to take into consideration the following:

1. Be sure that before starting the boosting procedure, all electrical accessories (radio, headlights, dome lights, cigarette lighters, and chargers) must be Off/unplugged for both vehicles. Boosting gives out high voltage and amperage that goes through the electrical system that can possibly damage the mentioned accessories.
2. Connect the booster cables properly. (Positive to positive terminals and negative to negative terminals). Allow the running vehicle charge the dead battery of the other vehicle for a couple of minutes until it cranks. We should not keep the charging vehicle run for long. Immediately disengage the cable from the charging vehicle. Otherwise, the alternator of the charging vehicle will produce maximum electrical output and it may be damaged in the process.
3. Ensure that cranking of the starter is not more than 15 secs. Otherwise, the starter will overheat and may be damaged. Let it rest for a bit before cranking again.

On top of this, it would help if we will be pro-active in maintaining our batteries as follows:
1. Ensure that the terminals of our batteries are always clean and free from corrosion to facilitate the continuous flow of electricity going to the electrical system of our vehicles. We can simply use water and brush to clean the terminals.
2. The battery cable clamps that hold the terminals must likewise be clean.
3. It would be best that we are aware how old our batteries are so we will be guided more or less if it is almost due for replacement. Depending on the kind of battery, batteries would normally last about 4 to 5 years.
4. Let us have our battery’s charging and health conditions checked regularly.
So before we even consider boosting our vehicle or another person’s vehicle, please make sure that we are doing the necessary precaution so we will not regret doing so.

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