When your car battery is weak or dead, your car won’t start. Although there are other reasons you may need to jump-start your ride (such as dirty spark plugs or clogged fuel lines), the battery is the most common.
Cold weather drains car batteries. Did you know that at 0°C, car batteries tend to lose 35% of their strength? By -17°C, they lose around 60%! In Manitoba, our winters can get to around −40°C overnight—poor batteries. Luckily, there are ways you can jump-start your battery and prevent it from dying in the first place!
DIY jump-starts prevent you from being stranded. It’s good to keep jumper cables in your vehicle at all times because you never know when they’ll come in handy. Typically, these are used with another vehicle to boost your car. However, if you’re alone and unable to get help, you can use a portable jump starter. For example, the Cobra Jump Starter 800A costs about $100 CAD. Whether you’re using another car or a jump-start battery pack, the steps are very similar. Make sure both vehicles are parked near each other (but not touching) and turned off to begin.
1. LOCATE YOUR CAR’S BATTERY
If you’re unsure where your car’s battery is, check the owner’s manual. In most cases, it is near the front of the car.
2. CONNECT JUMPER CABLES
One red jumper cable clamps to the positive terminal of your dead battery, and the other red cable will clamp onto the positive terminal of the charged battery.
Black jumper cables are a bit different. Attach one black clamp to the negative terminal of the charged battery. As for the other black cable, clamp it to a piece of grounded, non-painted or oily metal on your car. A nut or bolt that connects to the chassis or engine will most likely work. You don’t want to connect the black cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery as this can risk igniting hydrogen gas.
Lastly, ensure your cables aren’t tangled up or dangling into the engine compartment!
3. STARTING THE VEHICLES
First, start the working ride. Rev the engine for 30–60 seconds, which helps to charge the dead battery, so long as the connection is strong.
Then, try starting the car with the dead battery. If it doesn’t work, there may be a problem with the connection. Turn everything off and adjust the cables before trying again. A tow truck might be needed if the car doesn’t start.
JUMPER PACK TIPS
When using a jump start battery pack, you’ll connect the cables from the pack in the same way (red cable to positive terminal and black to grounded metal). Instructions on starting and charging with these can differ from product to product, so review them carefully.
Keep in mind there’s a difference between jumper packs and portable power packs. Portable power packs are useful for getting some extra battery life during camping trips and so on, but they lack the power to jump-start a near-dead battery.
If you use a jumper pack, make sure to charge it every 30–90 days. They might require a bit more work than cables, but they can save you the cost of a tow truck!
MANITOBA TOW TRUCK RESOURCES
In some cases, such as a cracked or leaking battery, you do not want to jump-start for safety reasons. In this case, you’ll want to contact a tow truck service.
Within Winnipeg, these are 3 of the best and most common towing services:
HHH TOWING Google Rating: ★★★★★ Website: https://hhh-towing.com/ Phone number: (204) 396-6556
DR HOOK Google Rating: ★★★★☆ Website: http://www.drhooktowing.com/ Phone number: (204) 956-4665
SPRINTER TOWING Google Rating: ★★★★☆ Website: https://www.sprintertowing.ca/ Phone number: (204) 500-2420
PREVENT YOUR CAR BATTERY FROM DYING
Prevent a dead or drained battery in the winter with these 3 easy precautions:
- Use a battery blanket. Battery warmers keep your battery from reaching very cold temperatures during the winter—increasing their lifespan.
- Plug in your battery overnight. Whether it be to an outlet or a battery charging block, keeping your battery plugged in overnight will keep it charged. This is especially important during cold nights.
- Ensure your battery is in good condition. Is your battery 3 years old? Are your lights dimmer than they should be? Notice a weird smell around your battery? These are all signs you’re due for a new one!
Is your car suited for Manitoba winters? If not, perhaps an SUV or truck would work better! Our inventory includes many great winter-ready rides. Learn everything you need to know about trading in today!