My car tried starting but wouldn't turn over. The next day I tried to jump start but now the lights don't even turn on even after leaving the cables on for several minutes. Shouldn't a jump start work to at least get the lights back on and started?
My car has 120000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
Whether a jump start will start a car, or even power lights, depends on how good the connection is and whether or not other issues in the car’s electrical system (such as a faulty battery to body ground cable). Also, even if you have a good connection, if the starter motor is faulty (or there is a problem in the starter circuit), the car won’t start. Generally, jump starts should only be used as a last resort, or in an emergency, due to the risks and the potential for short circuits and vehicle damage. Making things worse, if you battery is dead (or defective) if you are successful in jump starting the car and you drive it, you then run the risk of overloading the alternator as the alternator tries to both re-charge a dead battery and run the car’s electrical system.
To prevent damage, and to aid in diagnostics if it turns out that you have problems in addition to a dead battery, the battery should FIRST be load tested. If the battery fails that test, or even if it "marginally" passes, the battery should be replaced outright. Once the battery is replaced, assuming the car then starts, the charging system should be fully checked out and that is standard YourMechanic protocol once a battery is replaced in a vehicle. Test the charging system ensures that a faulty charging system was not the cause of the battery dying in the first place. If a battery is replaced, due to it failing a load test, and yet the car still will not start, a no start diagnostic would then be performed. If you want all these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a no start diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will start with the battery issue (testing the battery is already included in the no start diagnostic and, as noted, is the first step) and get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.
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