Is Your Car Battery Not Jumping? Here Are The Possible Reasons

January 29, 2018

"Can I get a jump?"

Just because it's one of the easiest fixes doesn't always mean it's going to work. During the cold winter months especially, it's not uncommon to find yourself with a car that won't start. All you need are jumper cables and another vehicle to get it going again, right? Well, not always. 

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Many times, if your car won't accept a jump, the issue lies with your battery — mainly that you need a replacement. Take a look at the date sticker on your battery. Did you know that batteries usually come with a one- to three-year warranty? After that, it can depend on many factors, such as your driving habits, or how often you're letting your battery drain in the first place.

If you have an old battery and your car won't accept a jump, it's probably time for a new one.

But what if the battery isn't that old? Sometimes there are other factors that need to be addressed before you get your engine running again.

» MORE: Learn how to replace your car battery at home

Other reasons your battery might not accept a jumpstart

  • Temperature: Unfortunately, the cold weather can affect your vehicle's battery. Using the right oil for your vehicle and parking in a garage or under shelter can help keep the temperature from having such an adverse effect on your battery.
  • AlternatorIf your battery still won't start even after a jump, the alternator could be the culprit. The alternator is responsible for sending energy back to the battery. If it needs to be replaced, you'll know when your battery won't hold a charge. Oftentimes, the warning signs of a bad alternator are similar to those of a dying battery. If you've noticed your lights dimming or the battery light coming on, check the alternator before investing in a new battery.
  • StarterSometimes the problem isn't your battery at all. The starter gets your engine going with energy from the battery. When your starter stops working, it can't send the energy the engine needs to get going. Clicking or grinding sounds are clues that your starter might be the reason your vehicle won't start.
  • CorrosionOne more thing to check for is corrosion on your battery. White and foamy in appearance, sometimes it's just enough to prevent your battery from working properly. Fortunately, this is an easy fix, as corrosion can be wiped off with a towel or scrubbed off with a brush. If this is the cause, the battery should start your vehicle right up after the corrosion is cleaned away.

Keep these tips in mind next time your car won't start. Even though a new battery is easy to install and a relatively affordable fix, determining the root cause of the problem will save you money and time in the long run.

About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.