What To Do If Your Car Battery Has Died During Quarantine

We know that even under quarantine we should start our car every few days to prevent battery death. But from this writer’s Facebook feed, she knows that many of her friends have neglected to do so because, well, staying home and having too much time on one’s hand can, contrary to what one might think, actually curb productivity.

So, here are three solutions to a dead car battery:

Jumpstart with Cables

Well, first you’d have to have or be able to buy or borrow a set of jumper cables and have a “working” car to suck battery juice from. It is important to follow these steps in the correct order or risk damaging your car further:

  1. Shut off the ignition for both cars;
  2. Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal (it would have “POS” or “+” on it or is the bigger terminal) of the dead battery;
  3. Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the working battery;
  4. Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal of the working battery;
  5. Attach the other black clip to an unpainted metal surface of the disabled car (see below for illustration);
  6. Start the ignition on the car with the dead battery. Let it run for a few minutes…
  7. Remove the cables in reverse order;
  8. Drive the revived car around for about 15 minutes.
Image source: https://www.dummies.com


Order a New Battery and Install It Yourself

Depending on what the restrictions are in your neighbourhood, you can pop by the nearest hardware store/car workshop to buy a new battery or order one online and have it delivered. Make sure it’s the right battery (batteries are not one size fits all)—you can look for the same battery as your old one or search for battery options based on your car model.

To change the battery in your car:

  1. Disconnect the negative cable—you’ll probably need a wrench if it’s not a quick-release connector—and secure the cable so that it doesn’t come in contact with any metal surface;
  2. Disconnect the positive cable and secure it so that it doesn’t come in contact with any metal surface. Do not let the negative and positive cables come in contact with each other;
  3. Release the battery from the bracket by disconnecting any fasteners or clamps. Lift the battery out—it could be heavy, so brace your core!
  4. Clean the battery connectors of any build-up using sandpaper or a wire brush, taking care that it could be battery acid that is corrosive;
  5. Place the new battery in the bracket, in the same orientation as the old battery. Secure it with the fasteners or clamps;
  6. Reconnect the positive cable;
  7. Reconnect the negative cable;
  8. Start your car!


Call for Professional Help

Your regular mechanic might be available for “house calls” during this period, so give them a call—that is, if your local lockdown rules allow. House call charges apply, of course, but consider it a penalty for neglecting your car. Here in Malaysia, car breakdown service providers like Carput and Bateriku have been busy visiting residences to replace dead car batteries, and for a very reasonable fee too.

Once you get your car back up and running, don’t neglect it again! Go to the following article to find out what you should do to keep your car in tip-top shape till it can get back onto the road again:

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