Yes, Macks Auto Body is a body paint and repair company (with a new collision repair location in Chesapeake!), but we love cars and the people who drive them, so we like to provide tips to help keep your driving experience positive and enjoyable.
So your car won’t start? A number of issues can cause this problem, including a defective starter or bad solenoid (the magnetic extender arm that engages the starter gear to the large flywheel gear in the engine). It may also be that you just need to clean your battery terminals, which we’ll cover in another article soon.
Is it the battery?
If you turn the ignition key, and your car is either not making a sound, or you hear a clicking sound but the starter motor isn’t turning over, the problem could be a dead battery. The first thing to try is jump starting the car with booster cables or a charger pack. Batteries contain acid, so it’s a good idea to wear eye protection.
Before you jump start the vehicle
- Take off any loose clothing before working under the hood, as it can get caught on moving parts.
- Keep smoking materials and open flames away from the engine.
- If you see leaks, heavy corrosion or other damage to the battery, DON’T attempt to jump start it. Seek professional help. A damaged vehicle battery is dangerous.
- Keep tools and other metal objects away from the battery terminals. An electrical short from the positive (usually red) terminal to the negative terminal—or any part of the car’s metal frame—will throw sparks and may cause damage or injury.
- Turn off the headlights on the dead vehicle, turn off any electronic devices and remove the key from the ignition.
- Confirm that your vehicle is negative-ground versus positive-ground by making sure the cable from your negative battery terminal is connected to the car frame. (Very few cars are positive ground. Check your user manual, if you’re uncertain.)
How to jump-start the vehicle
- Park the assist vehicle close enough to your car for the leads to reach both batteries.
- Open both hoods and connect one of the red (positive) leads to the positive terminal on the assist vehicle battery.
- Connect the other red lead to the red terminal on the dead battery.
- Connect the black (negative) lead to the negative terminal on the working battery.
- Connect the other black lead to a metal point on your car’s engine or its metal mounts (a bolt or bracket) away from the dead battery.
- Make sure the leads are clear of any moving parts on both engines.
- Start the engine of the assist vehicle.
- Wait five minutes, then try to start your vehicle. If it doesn’t catch, it hasn’t charged enough yet, so wait another five minutes and keep trying every five minutes.
- Once your vehicle is running, keep it running.
- Remove the jumper cables in the reverse order of how you attached them. Make sure they don’t touch each other or any metal parts.
- Drive your vehicle or keep it idling for at least 30 minutes to further charge the battery. It’s best to get to a destination where you can further address problems, should the car not start again on its own.
- If jumping doesn’t start your vehicle—uh-oh—you have a bigger problem. Time to call your mechanic.
- If the car starts, but dies again while you’re driving it, you may have a bad alternator (which charges the battery when the engine is turning).
Hope that helps!
And I hope you’ll give us a call when you need help with collision repair in Chesapeake and Greater Hampton Roads.