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. 

Up Arrow

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.

Up Arrow

Young driver insurance from Towergate

Our cover for young drivers can cost less than third-party only cover with other insurers, and can include additional discounts for not driving between 11pm and 5am. Our learner drivers insurance also allows you to start earning your no-claims bonus before you pass your driving test, and includes a GPS tracking device, rescue and roadside recovery breakdown and third-party injury claim compensation.

Up Arrow

Motor insurance from Towergate

We can offer a range of motor insurance policies to suit your needs. Read more on our motor insurance webpage.

 All cover is subject to normal underwriting terms and conditions.

Up Arrow

About the author

Chris North FCII, commercial vehicles insurance articles author Chris North FCII is a respected industry leader with over 40 years' experience, who has worked in the insurance industry in a variety of roles, accumulating a wealth of knowledge. He is currently Technical Manager for Towergate's motor division, providing expertise on all matters relating to motor fleet insurance, in particular haulage and self-drive hire fleets.