In this article, I am going to explain to you what causes your car to only start with jumper cables and how to go about solving the problem. Let’s get to it.
How Do Jumper Cables Work?
Jumpers are simply a set of cables with alligator clips on each end. You attach one end to the dead battery and the other end to your car’s good battery. Once complete, you start your engine and let it run for a few minutes before disconnecting the jumpers themselves in order to prevent any sparks or short circuits from occurring.
What Causes Your Car to Only Start Using Jumpers
Based on my personal experience as an auto technician, the most common cause for your car to only start when using jumper cables is a bad battery.
Corroded/ Dirty Battery Terminals:
Another reason why your car may be having this issue could be because of corrosion and dirt on the battery terminals.
This can prevent them from making contact with each other, which means that the engine will not turn over even when it has sufficient power from the alternator and starter motor. You need to clean off these terminals by using a wire brush or sandpaper before reconnecting them again
Loose Battery Terminals:
If your battery cables are loose or corroded, they can prevent sufficient current flow from reaching components in your vehicle’s electrical system leading to problems like those mentioned above as well as others like an engine that won’t crank because there isn’t enough power going through from the terminals to the battery.
Another possible cause of these symptoms is a bad battery.
If your battery has been sitting for a long time and isn’t holding a charge anymore it may not have enough power to start your vehicle., it could be time to replace it.
It is recommended that you replace your car battery every 3-5 years depending on how often you drive. If your battery is older than that, it may be time to replace it.
In addition, if you don’t have a good charging system on your car and/or the alternator isn’t charging properly (or not at all), this can also cause similar problems with starting as well as an engine that won’t crank because there isn’t enough power going through from the terminals to the battery.
How to Fix a Car that Only Starts when Using Jump Cables?
Since this means the battery or terminals are worn/damaged, they will need to be replaced.
You can also try cleaning the terminals with a wire brush and then applying some grease or anti-corrosion spray on them before reconnecting them back together before replacing the battery, but if the problem persists after this, then you will need to replace it.
Keep in mind that if your car starts only when using jump cables, it could be due to a problem with another component in your vehicle’s electrical system rather than the battery itself.
If you suspect that the problem is not with your battery, then you will need to have it checked out by a mechanic. The best solution would be to replace the battery with a strong and durable battery tailored for you car.
Other Signs of a Bad Battery
now that you know why your car is only starting when. using jumpers is due to a worn-out battery. let’s look at some other symptoms you may experience.
The signs of a bad battery can be hard to spot, but they’re usually pretty obvious once you know what you’re looking for. Here are the most common signs of a bad battery:
1. Sluggish Engine Crank:
If you turn the key and your vehicle doesn’t start, it could be your battery. A faulty starter can also result in the same problem, but if you’ve tried to jump-start your car and it still won’t start, chances are good that your battery is dead or dying.
2. Dim interior lights:
If you notice that the lights on your dashboard aren’t as bright as they used to be, it’s possible that your battery is failing.
3. Electronics malfunction:
In addition to dimming interior lights, a weak battery can also cause electronics like radios and air conditioning units to fail temporarily when they’re powered by the car’s electrical system.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.