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What To Do If Your Car Battery Dies

There's nothing more frustrating than a car that won't start, especially when you have a million things to do and places to be. Chances are, it's a dead battery. What do you do? Here are five tips to deal with the dead battery problem and help prevent it in the future.

1. Call the Auto Club or other roadside assistance plan. If you are a member of the Automobile Club (AAA), you can take advantage of their battery service, offered as part of their roadside assistance. A battery technician will test and charge your battery and replace it if necessary. (Not all are available, depending on the make and model of your car.) If you signed up for a roadside assistance plan with the dealership where you purchased your car, you can also call them.

2. Jump start using a jumper cable. With the help of a "rescue" car belonging to a family member, friend, neighbor or your local auto repair shop, do the following:

  • Park your car and the rescue car facing each other or side-by-side.
  • Connect one end of the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal on the rescue car's battery and the other end to the positive terminal on your dead battery.
  • Connect one end of the negative (black) cable to the negative terminal on the rescue car's battery and the other end to a grounded, non-moving part of your car's engine, such as the manifold.
  • Start the rescue car's engine and let it run for at least five minutes.

  • Try to start your car with the other car's engine still running. If it doesn't start, let the rescue car's engine run for another five minutes and try again.
  • If your car does start, let it run for at least five minutes.
  • Disconnect the jumper cables in reverse order of how you connected them.

  • WARNING: Don't use this method if your battery is cracked or leaking. Never connect the positive and negative cables at the same time and avoid touching the positive and negative knobs.

3. Call a towing service. If jump starting your car doesn't work, call a local towing service. You local auto repair shop or your dealership can safely and quickly replace your battery and fix any underlying problems that may be causing your battery to die.

4. Be prepared with your own emergency kit. Buy your own jumper cable, voltmeter and charger and keep them handy. You can find them at your local auto parts store or dealership.

5. Prevent breakdowns with regular service. Taking your car for regular check-ups and maintenance goes a long way to prevent breakdowns. Establishing a good working relationship with a local La Jolla auto repair shop can be very helpful and convenient, even in addition to dealership service. Be sure to keep a record of your service and all receipts and warranties. Most car batteries last between three and four years.

The auto service businesses in the La Jolla California Blue Book guide are a great place to start looking for a qualified company. As the trusted source for all things La Jolla, our directory includes some of the top car service companies in the business, who have worked in the local area for many years. If you don't already have someone you can trust, we encourage you to contact a few listed with us and see if you find a good fit with one of our providers.


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