No one likes to see their car not starting when they are in a hurry to reach somewhere. In fact, if you are like one of us who really love to drive, it could be disheartening to realize that we did not see it coming. Though there can be various reasons for your car not wanting to start, in most circumstances, it is your car’s battery that is out of juice. Usually, a modern car battery can last up to 3-4 years but in case you get stranded with a dead battery, you should know how to start a car by getting it pushed.
Nowadays car batteries also have to take care of various electronic aids and gadgets that come along with the car. These have a rather strong effect on your car battery’s health. And then there are those nights when we forget to turn off the headlights or even the interior roof lamps. Most modern cars will tell you about the low battery levels by flashing an icon in the speedometer console. Read more about these car warning icons here.
Before you go out and blame the poor battery for an unresponsive car, you need to make sure if it is actually a dead battery or something else behind the problem. The best way to understand is to turn the ignition on. If your car engine cranks, then it is not a battery related issue but something that has gone wrong with the mechanical system of the car. However, if the car does nothing, then a dead battery might be the one to blame.
Now that you are sure that it is the battery, you have two choices : either to jump start your car or to push-start it. However, you can always try to push-start your car before you go for jump start. In theory, you can actually push start a car by yourself but that requires you to jump back into the car once a sufficient speed has been reached, plus it is not too safe. Let’s just leave all this to the movie actors and their stuntmen then!
We will be discussing how to start a car manually here and before we proceed, you need to be aware that the power steering requires your car engine to be running. Thus we recommend you should not try to push start your car round a bend. Same holds true for the braking system, thus you will have to take care of your braking distances as well – that said, the hand brake in most cars works without hydraulics. With all this in place, here is how to start a car by getting it pushed.
Although chances of it are pretty low, but still we recommend you not to keep trying to start your car when it is not cranking up with the ignition key. This might have an adverse effect on the fuel pump. They are delicate devices and pretty expensive to replace too.
If you can, do pick a point where there is a slant in the road (downhill). Since push start requires manual labour, a downhill road will be easier to push you car into. On the bright side, it will also help your car to gather the required speed earlier and faster. Gravity is a friend you need on your side for this.
Like we already said, there is no need to be an action star and try doing everything on your own. Ask a friend, or any other road user for help. No one would deny a simple push to your car, especially if its a small hatchback or a normal sedan. For a big SUV, it makes sense to request two people to do the job.
In a stalled unresponsive car, it is of paramount importance that you are visible to the traffic on road. Always turn your hazards on so that others are aware of the situation. If your battery is too low to power them, use the safety reflectors that come with every car for this exact sort of situation.
It is recommended that you take care of the steering wheel and let others push your car. You understand your car controls better than other people and it is also safe. A speed of around 8-10 kmph is more than sufficient for most cars to get started. At this time, when you are being pushed, make sure the hand brake is released and gearbox is in neutral.
Once on the move, as you hit the desired speed, shift to the 2nd gear (not the 1st ), leave the clutch in one go and press the accelerator slightly at the same time. This works in most cases. If this doesn’t work and you feel there is some amount of juice in the car’s battery to crank the starter motor, try turning the ignition as you leave the clutch. This works wonders, especially if your car has not been used for several weeks.
Congratulations, your car has started – now press the clutch or shift to neutral, give your car a good throttle and gently park it on the side away from on-coming traffic. Do not turn it off – let it idle for at least five minutes or take it for a long spin. This will help charge up the batteries via the alternator.
Be courteous and extend your wishes to the helpful human being/s that helped you push start your car in the middle of nowhere. Don’t forget to pass on this great gesture to anyone else who might be stuck on the road. We often see families stranded on the road with even the children trying to push a car – help them out always!
Drive safe and get your battery checked at the nearest service center. In case it requires replacement, you can do so by simply ordering them online. But make sure the specifications match that of the original battery. We are sure you now know how to a start a car with dead batteries! For more such car maintenance tips, follow the CARS24 blog.