Q: Why won't it start with a low battery and a good jump start connection?

asked by on October 10, 2016

The engine was a little sluggish to turn over one evening and the next morning it would not engage the starter. I was at a motel so I thought I would get a jump start and drive to an auto parts store to get a new battery. It still would not engage the starter with a jump and 14 volts measured at the battery. I kick started the starter with a screw driver with the ignition on and it would turn over well and run until I removed the screw driver. I eventually got a ride and bought a new battery and installed it. It started up immediately with the new battery. Why did the car do this to me and is there a way to force it the start on a jump?

My car has 185000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi, thanks for writing in. Your battery may not have had enough cold cranking amps (CCA). The volts may be correct but if it doesn’t have enough CCA, it will not start for you.

Batteries that specify cold cranking amps are generally referred to as starting batteries. This specification is the measure of a battery ability to supply a lot of power for a short period of time.

To answer your question, once a battery has lost the CCA, there is no way you can make it start, even by jumping it. Often times people don’t have jumper cables large enough to jump a vehicle without letting it sit for a while. You make look for larger cables because this could help you better next time.

If you would like help servicing your battery, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to do the service for you.

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