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You’re running late, you jump into your car, turn the key and…all you get is a grinding, whining sound. You try again, but the engine still refuses to turn over. If this happens to you, then there’s a good chance you have a dead battery.


Given that there are other reasons your car might not start, the engine not turning over is your first sign that it could be your battery. Before you call your road service provider, wait. If you have jumper cables in your trunk, it would probably be quicker to jump the vehicle yourself instead of waiting for road assistance to arrive. If someone with a car who can help is close by, you’re in business.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pull the other vehicle close to the front of yours and open both hoods.
  • Get out your jumper cables.
  • Red is for positive and black is for negative. Do not let them touch.
  • Put the red clamp on the plus sign on your battery.
  • Put the black clamp on your battery’s negative sign.
  • Do the same on the other vehicle and turn it on.
  • Turn your key and hope that your engine turns over.

Swapping It Out

If jumping the engine didn’t work, then there’s a chance your battery might just need a charge. If you’ve had it for a year or two, the life of the battery could be over. No matter how old it is, if it’s still under warranty, you could get a deal on a new one. Your battery could have outlived its usefulness, though. Keep an eye out for signs your battery needs replacing. If your lights are starting to burn dimmer than usual, if your check engine light turn on, or if your engine is sluggish when you try to start your car, it could be time for a new battery. You can take it to your mechanic or purchase a new battery yourself and replace the old one. Some stores will charge you a small fee for your old battery and also dispose of it correctly.

New Battery Every Year

Replacing your battery yearly might be the answer. That’s not to say that you won’t have another problem with your car. The warranty on your battery is probably accurate, so you can work within that timeframe and purchase a new battery shortly before it’s due to stop working. Remember, though, that the warranty is only good if the battery stops working and not if you purchase a new one before the warranty ends. Some batteries last longer than others. Your mechanic can test your battery to see how much life it has left.

Car batteries are pretty simple to troubleshoot. Chances are good that you can fix the problem by jumping it or replacing it. Depending on your situation you might want to consider just replacing it regularly and working within the warranty. Both solutions are quick and relatively easy, and will have you ready to go and on your way in no time.

Car insurance can help protect both you and your car. Check out more information about it here.