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It never happens at a good time. Either you need to be somewhere urgently, or you have no money to replace the battery that’s decided to die on you. In some cases, it’s both of these!

Never fear. Here we have ten ways to get a car battery to start even if it seems dead.

Hopefully, one works for you!

Car batteries contain acid, so if you ever go inside the battery, you should wear suitable eye and skin protection. Battery acid does burn.

Quick Dead Car Battery Hacks

1. A Can of Coke or Pepsi

The battery often has some charge left in it, but getting it out and doing its job can be a hassle.

Older batteries do get corroded, and that can impact their effectiveness.

Now, this is an old trick, but it still works well.

A fizzy drink is a great way to eliminate the corrosion on your car battery. When the acid in your battery releases hydrogen gas, it causes battery corrosion on the two terminals on your battery. This stops the battery from being able to conduct electricity. 

A sure sign is if you see a white, green, or light blue substance on the cables or battery terminals.

Carbonic acid from fizzy pop can remove corrosion and rust without reacting with the leaking battery acid. Disconnect the battery cables and pour the Coke onto the terminals to get your car back in action. Leave it to soak in for a few minutes, and try starting your car. 

Sometimes on badly corroded terminals, you may have to remove the cables to get a good amount of Coke – or other fizzy drink – where it’s needed.

2. Smear on Vaseline

Worth a shot. But petroleum jelly is used more to prevent corrosion of the terminals than to eat away at the corrosion once it’s there.

However, it has excellent electrical conduction properties – it helps electricity move from one place to another, which might help get enough current from the battery to the starter

Now, if this doesn’t work, it’s still worth remembering to cover your battery terminal in this stuff in the fall, as it’ll repel water and moisture throughout the winter, which will help keep your battery terminals free from corrosion in the future. 

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3. Tap the Battery Terminals

Yep really! If your battery is corroded inside, tapping the terminals with a wrench may free up enough corrosion to release current through the terminals and your starter. It’s a long shot, but it has worked in the past for some. 

Don’t whack it too hard, though. If a tap doesn’t work, a whack won’t either, and you might further damage your battery.

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4. Relay Swaps

Now, this fix is not battery-related, but often, when the battery gets blamed, it’s working just fine, and another component is misbehaving. Most times, it’s quite hard to test other components on the fly, but this is an easy check. 

Often the fuel pump is to blame, but the relay is often stuck and not allowing the fuel pump to let fuel through.

Relays are found in a car’s fuse box. They don’t look like a normal fuse; they look like either black or gray boxes, and there are usually 6 to 10 of them. These are often interchangeable, and the fuel pump relay can often be swapped with a rear window fogger relay. 

They pull out and push in. Look at the legend in the fuel box lid and when you find the fuel pump relay, give it a tap and try and start the car. 

If that doesn’t work, find an exact match in the fuse box and swap it over to see if the relay is the cause. Look for a code stamped on the relay and use an exact match to check it out.

Has that worked? If not, try this.

5. The Starter Motor Tap

The starter motor is temperamental. Even when they’re going bad, they can occasionally work for a few starts and then die again. 

A starter motor often gets stuck and won’t turn even if it’s receiving power from the battery. The copper coils and solenoid inside become jammed, and you’ll hear a buzzing noise.

There’s nothing technical about this fix! All that’s needed to try and free it is to give the stater motor a good whack with a hammer or wrench. You can hit this harder than the battery terminals we discussed earlier.

But where is the starter motor? Its position varies from car to car, but if you follow the big cable from your car batteries positive terminal, it’ll end at the starter motor. 

Give it a whack and try to turn the engine again. 

6. Aspirin but not Paracetamol

You’ll have to remove your battery from the car if you want to try this and then open up the battery. You need to take precautions as the battery acid will burn skin and cause severe issues if they get splashed into the eyes.

You may be able to get your car started by dropping two tablets of aspirin into the battery cells and waiting for a few hours to see if it allows enough charge to start the car again.

The big downside is that if the battery was repairable, it probably wouldn’t be and is likely ruined. This is not a great option unless you are desperate, are happy to disconnect the battery, and need the battery to work just one more time as a matter of urgency. Here is a video that shows the process in more detail if you’re tempted to give it a go.

7. Wait A Few Minutes

Sometimes doing nothing and just waiting is the best course of action. I have been in a similar situation where leaving the battery alone for a few minutes and returning later has worked.

There is no science here. Perhaps the cable was loose from the alternator. Perhaps you didn’t turn the car key enough. Who knows, but before draining the battery fully, step back and wait a few minutes before trying again. The starter might be locked up and needs a moment.

8. Battery Booster Pack

I never leave home without a battery booster pack in the trunk. You never know when the battery is going to die. It’s also great to help others out if you see them stranded.

It’s great because you don’t have to rely on anyone to provide a jump start – not recommended on modern cars anyway! – and it’s a lot quicker. I always check the charge on my booster pack every month to be sure.

It’s really easy to use..connect the black to black and red to red and start the car.

9. Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are not as popular as they used to be as they can create problems with more modern cars. Always keep the black and red cables apart and connect each cable to the correct terminal.

Modern cars have very delicate electrical circuits; getting this wrong can cause fuses and circuits to blow, costing $1,000s to put right. You will have to replace your dead battery and get your car checked over by an auto electrician.

If the jump start works, you can leave the cables connected for 15 minutes to get more juice into the battery or disconnect. If you disconnect immediately and stall the car, you may not have enough charge in the battery to start the car again. This is why booster packs are better, as you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

10. Push Start

Ah, this takes me back. If you have a manual car and a fit friend or two, this is almost guaranteed to get any dead battery going again.

It works like this. You’ll need your car to be parked on a flat road or facing downhill. Press down the clutch with the parking brake on and put the stick into second gear. It’s important to keep your foot on the clutch. Don’t take it off. Release the parking brake, however.

Get your friends to push your car as hard as they can. You need to get up to 10 mph, and when you feel you are at that speed, release the clutch pedal very quickly and step on the gas pedal. This will jerk your car and turn the starter motor which will, in turn, crank the engine.

Hopefully, you get this right, as although your car can attempt this as many times as you want, your friends may not have enough energy left to keep pushing hard.

Other visitors read this next: How Long Does A New Car Battery Last? 5 Reasons It Dies Early

In Conclusion

Try these 10 dead car battery hacks to get you moving fast.

  • Can of soda on the battery connectors
  • Petroleum Jelly on terminals
  • Paracetamol dipping
  • Starter tapping
  • Battery terminal tap
  • Jumper cables
  • Battery Booster pack
  • Leave the battery for 10 minutes
  • Push start
  • Jumper cables

If your car battery doesn’t appear to be working, it’s always best to try these hacks first, as it could save you $100 – $150 on the cost of a new battery.

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