Drivers may wonder how frequent jump-starting affects their vehicle’s battery. More importantly, however, you should be concerned about and investigate why you have to jump-start so often in the first place.
As long as the battery is not weak, too old, or damaged: You can jump-start a car many times. Its battery can withstand it frequently, as it only causes a little stress. However, it shouldn’t be attempted more than 3 to 5 times at a stretch, and you should allow the car to run for a couple of minutes before disconnecting the jumper cable.
But if you have to do this too often, you should investigate what is draining the battery and whether the battery needs replacing.
I also mention some safety precautions and give some jump-starting tips below.
Although jump-starting your car frequently is generally safe, I don’t recommend doing so very often.
So how many times can you keep jump-starting a car battery? Technically, you can jump-start a car battery as many times as you need. The battery should be able to withstand frequent jump-starts without issue.
But it’s probably too much if you’re jump-starting more than once a week or two or three times a month. You shouldn’t rely on having to jump-start this often. Also, I don’t recommend doing this indefinitely because you shouldn’t need to jump-start your car all the time.
If you’re having to do this too often, you should ask yourself:
- How does frequent jump-starting affect the battery’s long-term condition?
- Why does the car need frequent jump-starting?
- What can you do to avoid frequent jump-starting?
- When will a jump-start not work?
We’ll consider each of them below.
Impact on the Battery
Jump-starting a car only causes a little stress on its battery.
Normally, you can safely jump-start without experiencing any negative impact on the battery. It means no more than 3 to 5 consecutive jump starts.
However, the long-term impact may not be good if the consecutive jump-starts are more or if it’s too frequent overall. It will weaken over time. If this is the case, investigate why the car needs to be jump-started so often.
Why the Car Needs a Jump Start
If your car needs jump-starting frequently, try to find and fix the underlying cause.
It might need jump-starting if the battery is drained or weak. If you check the battery’s voltage, it will probably be below 12 volts, whereas it should be around 12.5-13.5 or 14 volts.
It will drain even quicker if the battery is weak or nearing its life’s end.
If the jump-starting fails to start the car, the battery is probably defective or dead and needs replacing.
Avoiding Frequent Jump Starting
To avoid frequent jump-starting, check the battery’s condition.
It may be weak and need replacing. Otherwise, it could be some heavy appliance or device draining it quicker than the alternator can charge it.
If you’re sure there is no such device, inspect the battery:
- Does the battery have enough water?
- Is the battery older than its expected lifetime?
- Are the battery’s terminals corroded?
- Is the battery physically damaged?
Failed Jump Start
Jump-starting the battery will most likely fail if the battery is too weak, damaged, or dead.
In this situation, you must replace the battery.
How to Jump Start Safely
It would be best if you jump-started a car battery properly. You could damage the jumper cables, battery, and alternator if you don’t.
Things to Avoid
Avoid incorrectly connecting the jump-start cable, and remember to turn everything off.
Connecting the jumper cable incorrectly will prevent the current from flowing in the right direction. Consequently, it may create heat and gases that could damage the battery. A short circuit can also damage the battery.
The heat due to a wrong connection can also damage the jumper cable if it’s not strong enough to withstand the abnormal current. They might melt or even burn. Either that or the cable’s clamps will get damaged.
Turning everything else off while jump-starting is also important.
Nothing else must be connected directly to the battery at the time, ideally, not even the lights or car alarm. Without disconnecting them, the car’s alternator can receive a power surge. If the power surge is too high, it could cause overheating and damage to the alternator.
Other things to avoid:
- Don’t bend over either of the two batteries.
- Don’t smoke while jump-starting your car.
- Don’t attempt to jump-start a battery with frozen fluid inside. Otherwise, it could cause an explosion.
- Also, please don’t attempt to jump-start a cracked or leaking battery, as it could cause an explosion.
Here are a few tips to jump start-safely:
- Ensure you connect the like terminals, so connect the two positive terminals with the same cable (usually red) and the two negative terminals with the other (usually black). Alternatively, you can use a jump-starter machine like the one below.
- Ensure the two cars are not touching one another. They should only be close enough for the jumper cable to reach the two batteries, but the chassis should not be in direct contact.
- Only start the target car’s engine after you’ve turned off the lights and other loads and connected the jumper cable at both ends.
- When jump-starting a car, avoid cranking it more than three times.
- Once the car has jump-started, don’t drive away immediately. Allow it to run for at least a couple of minutes.
- If you doubt how to jump-start safely, check your car’s manual.
- For extra safety, wear goggles and rubber gloves.
If the car needs jump-starting again after only driving a short distance, the battery probably needs replacing.
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