How to Fix Your Dead Car Battery Easily

When you can't fix your dead car battery, call roadside assistance.

Wondering how to fix your dead car battery? Solutions range from phoning a friend (or roadside assistance) to being totally self-reliant. Whether you’re the do-it-yourself type or not the basic principle is the same…

You’ve left your car lights on, or maybe there’s a light that’s not switching off and is secretly sucking the life out of your car’s battery. For example, a light in your glove compartment or boot. Or perhaps your radio was left on even though you were inside watching Netflix.

Regardless of the how, the result is the same: your car’s battery is dead and until it’s recharged you ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Luckily, you’ve a solution for that. In fact, you have three. Step right this way please…

3 ways to fix your dead car battery

So if there are three solutions, why not just go with the first one; why do we even need more than one option? Well, this all depends on what’s available and where you are when your battery dies.

For example, a moment ago we suggested your battery went dead while you were watching Netflix. This is the ideal situation because it more than likely means you’re at home.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say you’re on a west coast Australia road trip, parked on the beach with the doors open and towels strewn across golden sand, listening to your favourite tunes. Sigh….

Anyway, you’re nowhere you’re familiar with and stuck. Your phone’s dead and you can’t charge it with your car because your car battery’s dead, which is the original problem. If you’re in this scenario you can’t simply go with the first recharging option, you’ll have to use the second.

Check out the options to see why:

Fix your car battery with jumper cables.

1. Jumper cables

The most common solution when your car battery dies is using jumper cables to recharge it.

This method borrows a bit of power from someone else’s car battery to charge yours, and it only takes about 10 minutes. So, you’ll need someone with a car who’s willing to help, and a set of jumper cables. (Which you should always carry in your boot).

Next, follow these nine easy steps, in this order:

How to jumpstart your car
  1. Park your cars close together in neutral, with the engines off and the handbrake up
  2. Clip one red cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery (marked with ‘POS’ or ‘+’, or it’s the bigger one)
  3. Next clip the other end of the red cable to the positive side of the ‘healthy’ battery
  4. Then clip one end of the black cable to the negative side of the healthy battery
  5. Now clip the other end of the black cable to any unpainted metal surface that’s under your bonnet but a safe distance from your battery. This earths the electric flow and prevents any sparking
  6. You pal can now start their engine and let it run for about five minutes
  7. Try to start your car (if it doesn’t start, you might need to charge a little longer)
  8. If your car starts, keep the engine running and remove the cables in reverse order
  9. Go for a drive to completely charge up your battery. 15 – 30 minutes of driving should do the trick

If you’re at home, you might be able to get help from a housemate or a partner. Or call on a friend to come over with their car. Note you’ll need to use a car with the same voltage as yours (check both cars’ owner’s manuals). 

Watch this video to see jumpstarting in action:

If you’re on a dirt road, beach or similar, with little to no other traffic and no cell phone battery or reception, you’ll have to wait it out and hail down the next car to ask for help.

Ideally, though, you’ve read this article and you’re prepped for just this situation, with option two as your go to.

2. Portable jump starter

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has his own phone charger or laptop charger. So why don’t we drivers consider having our own portable car battery charger!? That’s essentially what a portable jump starter is. But it can be so much more…

Essentially a car battery charger replaces the other car-plus-healthy-battery setup. It works the same way as jump starting your car. But it’s portable, comes with its own jumper cables, fits in your boot and it’s with you everywhere you go. Making you ultra-independent.

On the plus side, this one also has these built-in extras:

  • Air compressor to inflate tyres
  • USB points to charge phones and other devices (whoohooo!)
  • LED work light (lest your battery dies at night)

Chat to the car battery salespeople to make sure you get the right battery for your car’s specs. Every portable charger will have specific instructions, so familiarise yourself with these before you might need to use it. 

And be sure to charge your charger regularly, so it’s always ready when you need to use it.

Use a portable car battery charger to fix your dead car battery.

3. Roadside assistance

When you simply can’t fix your dead car battery (or the problem lies elsewhere) having roadside assistance can be a lifesaver. You might already be a member, but if not you can usually become a member on the spot to start enjoying their support services straight away.

If you think something more serious than a flat battery could be wrong with your car, then roadside assistance is a safe bet. And on that topic, read our article: Car breakdown on a driving holiday?

Did you know you can add 24/7 roadside assistance to any of our car insurance plans for a nominal extra fee? Check the included benefits, optional add-ons and available discounts on our easy-to-use, affordable online car insurance – and get a quote today.

How would you, like to proceed?

How would you, like to proceed?