Guide to Restarting a Car Battery

If your car is refusing to start you may have a flat battery. Read our guide to find out the causes of a flat battery and how to solve the problem.

What causes a flat car battery

There are a number of things that can cause a flat battery, including:

  • Leaving your lights on overnight

  • A fault with your car alarm

  • Small lights, such as lights in the boot, being left on

  • A circuit draining your battery

Whatever has caused your battery to become flat, even once you rectify the issue, it is worth getting the battery tested by a mechanic to determine whether the battery needs replacing. 

How to restart a flat car battery

Check out our quick guide to restarting your car when the battery is flat:

Push starting the motor

  • 1. Put your car into second gear and switch on the ignition, pressing down the clutch. Please note that this will only work in manual transmissions, not automatics.

  • 2. Get a friend or passer-by to push the car until it reaches between 5-10 miles per hour. If the car is facing downhill you may be able to start the car without assistance but check carefully for other road users before this step to avoid any accidents.

  • 3. Release the clutch quickly when the car reaches 5-10 miles per hour. The engine should, hopefully, 'turn over' (start). Press the clutch again to prevent it from stalling. Once the car has started, drive around for at least 20 minutes to ensure that the battery is recharged before switching the engine off again.

Jump starting a car

Push starting your car can be a great way to get your engine running but it is not always possible. The other alternative is to jump start it. This will require a pair of jump leads and another vehicle.

    1. Place both vehicles in Park and Neutral and ensure the ignitions are turned off in both cars. Engage the handbrakes as well.

    2. Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery. It will either have 'POS' or '+' on it, or will be bigger than the negative terminal.

    3. Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other car.

    4. Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal of the battery on the other car.

    5. Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn't near the battery.

    6. Start the working vehicle and let the engine run for a few minutes.

    7. Try to start your vehicle. If it won't start, make sure the cables are correctly attached. If it still won't start there may be a more serious problem with your battery.

If this works make sure you drive around for at least 20 minutes to recharge the battery.

Should either of these fail it is worth getting an expert to take a look at your battery as it may need replacing. The iKube young driver insurance includes rescue and recovery from the RAC which is perfect for situations like this.