There’s nothing worse than a vehicle that won’t start as you turn on the ignition key. In the worse scenario, your car won’t even start with a jump. However, there are many reasons why a car won’t start even with a jump, but the lights come on. A damaged spark plug, insufficient fuel, a blown fuse, a loose battery cable, a dead battery, a bad alternator, or electrical damage are the most common causes because of that your car won’t start with a jump but has power.
When troubleshooting this problem, always start by ruling out the most immediate cause, like a loose battery cable. This article mainly explains the reasons why a car won’t start with a jump, how to fix it, and how to start a vehicle with a jump.
What is a Jump-starting?
Jump starting is a method used to temporarily charge a discharged battery of the vehicle. A jump start may also help to fix the problems related to the battery and get the vehicle running.
To jump-start your car, the battery of your car must be connected to the charged battery of another vehicle through jumper cables.
The jumper cable helps to transfer the electrical power of one vehicle’s battery to the other vehicle’s battery which needs power. As the electrical power is transferred to your car’s battery, the alternator of the car turns on and keeps the battery charged while the engine is running.
Let the engine run long enough by idling or driving to charge the battery and avoid problems. Your battery must be fully charged to start the vehicle quickly. You should always check your battery condition before driving.
Before driving, you should always fix low battery issues caused by unexpected discharge. For example, if you accidentally drain your battery by leaving the radio on all night, you can use the jump-starting process to get your car running again.
Reasons Why Car Won’t Start with Jump
If your car won’t start, there may be something wrong with the fuel system, battery, alternator, or fuel tank. A dead or defective battery may also be caused by a bad neutral safety switch or a faulty starter motor. A dead battery is one of the most common causes due to that your car won’t start with a jump.
Your car won’t start with a jump due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Blown fuse
- Bad safety switch
- Dead battery
- Battery alternator
- Bad connections
- Faulty starter
- Locked steering wheel
- Bad fuel filters
- Insufficient fuel
- Damaged jumper cables
- Bad fuel system
1) Blown Fuse
The fuse is one of the most important parts that play a vital role to start the vehicle. It is a sacrificial electronic device. Jump-starting a vehicle can affect the battery and the entire electrical system of the car. Therefore, if you want to know the reason why your car won’t start with a jump, you should inspect your electrical system for a blown fuse.
The fuse of your electrical system blows itself in the event of a power failure to prevent the remaining electrical system.
Therefore, if a short circuit or power surge occurs when you try to start a car with a jump, the fuse of your electrical system may blow as a protective mechanism. Therefore, the vehicle will start once the fuse is replaced.
How to fix it: You can’t repair the fuse of an electrical system. Therefore, it needs to be replaced with a new one. Always use the right ampere fuse for replacement. However, the fuse doesn’t have an expiration date. Therefore, you should always keep some spare fuses for future use.
2) Bad Safety Switch
The latest vehicle models contain a safety switch. A bad safety switch is one of the most common reasons due to why your car won’t start with a jump. This switch is used to prevent the vehicle from starting when you put it in gear.
If your car is not starting with the jumping method, inspect your transmission system, and it should be in neutral or park position, then try the jump again. It’s also possible that the car’s safety switches aren’t working properly due to that your car can’t detect in which gear it is in. In such a situation, contact a professional to diagnose the main issue.
3) Dead Battery
The battery is one of the most important parts of the vehicle that plays a big role to start the vehicle. It provides power to different electrical parts of your vehicle to keep it running smoothly. A dead battery is one of the major causes of your car not starting with the jump.
The battery of your car can’t last forever. It has a limited service life. The service life of your car battery depends on climate and driving conditions. Therefore, you should replace the vehicle battery about every 2 to 3 years.
A bad cell or an internal short of your battery may cause the vehicle not to start with jump-starting. In such a situation, the ideal solution is to replace the battery with a new one.
If you doubt the health of the battery, then properly test it. You can easily test your battery through the latest hand-held testers. Nowadays, many auto parts stores and repair shops offer free testing trials. It not only checks the battery condition but also tests the charging system and starting system at the same time.
4) Battery Alternator
It is difficult for a car battery to meet all the requirements of the car’s electrical system. The job of the alternator is to restore battery power when the vehicle is started. Therefore, the battery is one of the most important parts of the vehicle.
It also charges the electrical parts of your vehicle during the operation of the engine. It takes the mechanical power from the engine and converts it into AC (alternating current).
A bad alternator may cause vehicle starting issues. A bad alternator can lead to an uncharged or discharged battery, resulting in low capacity and poor starting performance.
If the battery is regularly overcharged due to a bad alternator, the likelihood of excessive discharge is higher, leading to sulfation. Therefore, when your vehicle won’t start with a jump, you should properly inspect your battery.
5) Bad Connections
If there is no issue with your battery, there may be an issue with the connections to the battery terminals or jumper cables. Therefore, inspect your plugs and terminals for corrosion when your vehicle won’t start with jump-starting.
Fortunately, this issue is very easy to fix. To remove the corrosion from the battery terminals, use water and baking soda. After cleaning, properly reconnect the jumper cables and battery before attempting the jump-starting again.
6) Faulty Starter
As you put and turn your ignition key in the ignition switch, your starter starts the vehicle engine. The starter gets power from the vehicle battery.
But if your starter fails, you won’t be able to start the engine even if you attempt to start the vehicle by jump-starting. When your starter goes bad, it usually produces a clicking sound.
7) Locked Steering Wheel
The latest vehicle models have a steering wheel which is used to steer the vehicle. The steering wheel of your vehicle locks automatically if the ignition key is not in the ignition switch, which is usually a good thing. But the main disadvantage of the steering wheel is that when it gets stuck, it prevents the vehicle from starting.
When your car won’t start with a jump, you should check your steering wheel. If your steering wheel is locked, try inserting your ignition key (or pressing the vehicle start button) and turning the steering wheel left or right to unlock the locking mechanism.
8) Bad Fuel Filters
All cars have a fuel filter. It cleans the fuel before it enters the engine. It removes the solid contaminants from the fuel. This procedure facilitates the accumulation of dirt on the filter, which can clog the fuel filter. When the fuel filter is clogged, it creates problems for the fuel entry into the engine, resulting in engine failure.
If your fuel filter is clogged or damaged, your car may have starting issues. Therefore, you should clean or replace your fuel filter to ensure the proper functionality of your engine.
There is no specified service life of the fuel filter. The service life of the fuel filter varies according to its maintenance and driving conditions. However, the manufacturer’s manual of your vehicle will give you accurate information, but most manufacturers recommend replacing the fuel filter every 49,000 miles or 5 years.
9) Insufficient Fuel
Your vehicle engine needs sufficient fuel to work efficiently. Therefore, your vehicle must have a sufficient level of fuel. Therefore, your car won’t start if your fuel tank is empty. Your vehicle fuel tank may have insufficient fuel due to multiple reasons, such as a non-functioning fuel gauge.
10) Damaged Jumper Cables
The jumper cables play a big role in starting the vehicle with a jump. A damaged jumper cable can’t supply sufficient electricity. Even good jumper cables may also break or damage with the passage of time if you don’t care them properly.
If your jumper cables are damaged, use a different cable set or a portable jump starter. If you have very thin jumper cables, they may damage if you try to jump larger engines.
If your car won’t start with a jump, check the cable for melted rubber insulation, frayed wires, or cracks. You shouldn’t use damaged cables.
11) Bad Fuel System
The fuel system is one of the most important components of your vehicle. It contains several components, such as a fuel injector, fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel tank. If any of these parts fail, your vehicle may run slowly or not start at all.
Troubleshoot a Car That Won’t Jump Start
Follow the following steps to troubleshoot a car that won’t jump start:
1) Recharge the Battery
As discussed above, the vehicle battery plays a vital role in jump-starting. You should properly recharge your battery before restarting the vehicle. Let the jumper starter cables sit for just a few minutes before restarting the car. A discharged battery usually receives a small charge when your vehicle is running normally.
Restarting a car with a very weak battery is very difficult. The jumper starter cable alone can’t deliver the power according to the battery requirements, but a few minutes should do the trick. Therefore, when your car won’t start with a jump. You should recharge your vehicle battery.
2) Check Spark Plug
Your vehicle can’t start with a damaged or faulty spark plug. If your car won’t start, properly inspect your spark plug.
To examine the spark plug, remove the spark plug and inspect its tip. If fuel is present or there’s a presence of black carbon build-up, it means it is worn, and you should replace it.
3) Inspect Jumper Cables
Jumper cables also play a big role to start the car with a jump. If your jumper cables are damaged, your car won’t start with a jump. The jumper cables have a hot coating. When this coating becomes warm, the resistance increases and the current can stop flowing. If your cables are damaged, you should replace them as soon as possible.
4) Inspect Battery Terminals
If your car won’t start, your battery terminals may be corroded. Therefore, you should properly inspect your battery terminals if your vehicle won’t start. A chalky white or green substance on the battery indicates corrosion.
The corrosion on the battery terminals may prevent the battery from delivering the required charge. In such a condition, you should remove the jumper cables and properly remove the corrosion. Once the jambs and connectors are clean, try again to start the vehicle with the jump.
5) Check the Fuel Level
The engine fuel is one of the most important factors in starting the vehicle. If you want to start your vehicle immediately, it must have a sufficient level of fuel.
If your car is not starting, you should check your fuel level. Make sure your car has enough fuel. Even if the fuel gauge shows sufficient gasoline, there may be an electrical problem, and your fuel tank may not have sufficient fuel.
If your vehicle has insufficient fuel, add more fuel up to the desired level.
6) Check the Fuel Filter
The fuel filter of your vehicle ensures the proper supply of clean fuel to the engine. When your fuel filter is damaged or clogged, it doesn’t properly supply fuel to the engine, which may cause engine knocking.
To check the fuel filter, remove your filter and pass air through it. If air passes through it, it means your fuel filter is not clogged. If air flows through, the fuel filter is not clogged. So, check your owner’s manual for disassembly instructions.
7) Perform Systems Checks
If everything is in good condition, then check your key systems to see what’s wrong. The failure of many key systems may also lead to non-boot situations. Many drivers claim that a bad spark plug or a clogged filter makes you think your battery is dead, but that’s not the case. In both cases, the engine turns but does not start.
You can shift your vehicle into neutral first to check if you can start the vehicle right away. If so, this represents that your vehicle’s neutral safety switch is bad.
How To Jump Start a Car
Jump starting a car is very easy. If you want to start your car with the jump, follow the below-given steps:
- First of all, park the two cars side by side with the hoods of both cars facing each other.
- Now open the hoods of both cars.
- Find the battery of each car.
- Now connect the one red clamp of the jumper cable with the positive terminal of the healthy car battery.
- Connect the other one red clamp of the jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
- Connect the black clamp to the negative terminal of the good battery.
- Connect the other black clip to the dead car’s unpainted metal. Sparks can occur if you try to connect this clip to the negative pole.
- Now try to restart the dead car. If your car doesn’t start right away, you should wait a few minutes for the battery to charge.
- Take away the jumper cables in the opposite order you connected them, starting with the jumpers.
- Now start the jumped car off and on again after starting it for just a few minutes.
What to do if car won’t jump start?
- First of all, check the fuel level in the fuel tank and add more fuel if needed.
- Check the jump cables for damage. Your jumper cables must be hooked up correctly.
- Inspect the safety switch for damage.
- Properly check the terminals of your battery for corrosion.
- Check the spark plugs and fuel injectors for damage or blockage.
- Properly inspect the alternator of your vehicle.
How long does it take to jump a car?
If you start the car yourself, expect this process to take 9 to 16 minutes. If you contact a professional to jump-start your car, this process may take less time.
How long to leave jumper cables on before starting?
Connect both cars and let them run for approximately 3 minutes. With the jump-started car running, disconnect the cable in the reverse order of connections and close the bonnet. Run the engine of the jump-started car for about 30 minutes to fully charge the battery.
What repair can start a car with a jump?
One or more of the below-given repairs can help to start the car with a jump:
- Adding more fuel if needed
- Replacing the dead battery
- Replacing the alternator
- Replacing the spark plug if needed
- Replacing the faulty fuel injector
- Replacing the bad safety switch
- Removing the corrosion from the battery terminals
- Replacing the blown fuse
- Replacing the bad jumper cables
- Replacing the bad fuel filter
Can a car battery be “too dead” to jump-start?
No, the vehicle battery should never be “too dead” to jump-start. If the jumping method doesn’t work, the alternator may be defective, or the battery may be dead that need to be replaced.