Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

How To Fix a Dead Car Battery with DIY methods

I will discuss detailed information and simple step-by-step instructions on how to fix a dead car battery. So sit back and relax and let us guide you through the process.

“Living in downtown Vancouver, I find myself facing an unfortunate situation with my trusty Honda Civic 2010. Now, the battery is brand new, installed in 2020, but my own forgetfulness left the car lights on for three long days. To my dismay, the battery now rests completely lifeless. Despite my attempts to remedy the situation with jumper cables and a booster, not even a click or flicker of light is to be seen. I must admit, in a city where everything comes with a hefty price tag, I am at a loss. I’m unsure who to reach out to or what steps to take, all without incurring a bill exceeding $1000. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.”

Search terms: how to fix a dead car battery at home, how to make a dead battery work again, how to revive a car battery that won’t charge, how to fix a dead car battery with jumper cables, how to fix a weak car battery, how to charge a dead car battery at home, flat battery vs dead battery, can a completely dead battery be recharged

Why does a battery die? Let’s explore the fascinating reasons behind battery depletion.

Just like everything else, a car battery has a lifespan. Typically lasting about four years, during this time, they are expected to perform optimally. However, there are several reasons why a battery might weaken or die prematurely, including:

  • Neglecting the car for extended periods without use.
  • Enduring extreme temperatures, especially in freezing weather.
  • Leaving headlights or interior lights on for extended periods.
  • Experiencing charging system failures.
  • Suffering from corrosion.
  • Naturally aging over time.
  • Draining electricity excessively.

Recognizing the Telltale Signs of a Dead Car Battery

It’s not always easy to tell if a battery is dead or if there’s another issue. So, let’s look at some signs that indicate a dead battery.


-Car Won’t Start: You turn the ignition, but there’s no engine cranking sound and the car just won’t start. This could be a sign that your battery is dead and needs a recharge or replacement.

-The Battery Light Is On: If you notice the battery light on your dashboard, it could mean that the alternator isn’t functioning properly or there’s faulty wiring. This can lead to a loss of power as the battery isn’t being charged.

-Check Engine Light Flashing: Keep an eye out for a red signal shaped like an engine on your speedometer. When this light flashes, it’s a clear indication of engine trouble.

-Electrical Problems: Dim or non-functioning lights, radio glitches, and slow windshield wipers are all indicators of potential electrical issues in your car.

-Sulfur Smell: If you catch a whiff of sulfur, it’s likely that your battery is leaking. This can cause the battery to malfunction.

To avoid these issues, it’s a good idea to regularly check the health of your car battery, especially before long trips. Invest in an effective battery tester to stay on top of your battery’s condition.

How To Fix a Dead Car Battery with these engaging DIY methods.

Reviving a dead battery can be accomplished through various methods, depending on the cause of death and the remaining charge. Below, you’ll find some unconventional techniques that may require a basic understanding of battery mechanics. Get ready to recharge!

For Weak Battery (Draining battery)

The battery isn’t completely dead, but it lacks the necessary charge to start a car. Let’s explore the methods employed in this situation:


The most common way to restart a dead battery is by using a portable jump starter or jumper cables and a second battery. You have a few options for jumpstarting: using a portable jump starter, using another car’s battery, hand cranking, or using the chainsaw or 18-volt drill methods. Let’s explore each of these options in more detail.

Using a portable jump starter

First, make sure the car is off to avoid any accidents.

Next, identify the negative and positive terminals of your battery. These are usually marked with (-) and (+) symbols.

Now, let’s locate the positive and negative clamps of the portable jump starter. Double-check that the jump starter is off.

Time to connect the clamps to the car’s battery. This step is crucial to provide the necessary power.

Turn on the portable jump starter and then turn on the car, experiencing the magic of a successful jumpstart.

Using a battery from another car

Here’s a step-by-step guide on jumpstarting a car when the battery is dead:

  • Step 1: Ensure that both cars are turned off.
  • Step 2: Identify the negative and positive terminals of your batteries.
  • Step 3: Connect the terminals properly using jumper cables.
  • Step 4: Start the car with the dead battery.

But remember, it’s important not to attempt this on a frozen battery as it can cause an explosion.

Hard Hand-Cranking method

Tools required:

  • Wedge
  • Rope
  • Toolbox
  • Safety rubber gloves

As the name suggests, hand cranking is a very mechanical method, and it can be challenging if you are alone or don’t have knowledge of cars. Make sure you have your toolbox handy, as this method requires a few tools.

Before you start hand cranking, jack up your rear-wheel drive and ensure the front wheels are clean for better traction. This very old, mechanical technique requires tools like an axle stand to provide extra support. And remember, keep the ignition turned on while performing hand cranking.

Chainsaw Method

To successfully execute this procedure, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Chainsaw
  • Safety rubber gloves

Now, let’s dive into the process. Just like the hard hand-cranking method, this method requires some knowledge of cars and engines. But don’t worry, you’ve got this! Keep in mind that it’s a risky procedure, so proceed with caution.

  • Step 1: Remove the chain and blade from your chainsaw.
  • Step 2: Take off the pulleys until it resembles a wheel with spokes on one side.
  • Step 3: Connect both ends of the alternator belt to each end using two different holes on each sprocket. Tighten the belt using zip ties or any suitable means.
  • Step 4: Congratulations, you’re now ready to charge up your battery!

Remember to ensure there are no gaps between the connections. Any presence of air might cause electric sparks.

18-Volt Drill Battery Method

Here’s a guide on using a drill battery to jumpstart your car:

Tools required:
18-volt drill battery
Jump leads

Instead of relying on another car battery, this solution utilizes the popular jumpstart method with a twist. Follow these steps:

1)Make sure you have a fully charged 18-volt drill battery and jump leads, which you can find at auto shops.

2)Connect the 18-volt drill battery to your car battery using the jump leads.

3)Start your car, just like you would with the traditional jumpstart method.

For Dead Battery

When the battery is completely dead and jumpstarting no longer helps because it is unable to hold a charge, the following methods can be used:

Using Epsom Salt solution

Tools needed for this DIY battery revival:

  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Distilled water
  • Plastic funnel
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety gloves

If your battery is suffering from low electrolyte levels, this solution can help. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) contains powerful hydrates that skew the chemical balance and provide the necessary charge to kick-start your battery.

Here’s a quick and engaging step-by-step process:

1)Pop the hood of your car like a pro.

2)Determine whether your battery has a negative or positive ground. If it’s the latter, disconnect the cable.

3)Gently remove the battery from its resting place.

4)Get your chemistry game on by dissolving 1 part Epsom salt in 3 parts warm distilled water.

5)Using the handy funnel, pour the dissolved Epsom salt into the battery cells until they’re fully submerged.

Using Distilled Water

Required Tools:

  • Funnel
  • Distilled water

If you’re facing low electrolyte levels and don’t have access to Epsom salt, here’s an alternative method for you.

This technique involves submerging the plates in distilled water, promoting more reaction in the cells and ultimately assisting the engine in its smooth operation.

Using Hot Ash

The last resort should be using hot ash to revive a dead battery. Here’s how it’s done:

First, light a fire and wait for it to turn into ash.

Next, remove the filler caps from the battery and cautiously place it on the hot ash.

Be careful, though, as there’s a risk of fire.

Once the battery is adequately warmed, put it back in the car and start the engine.

Taking care of a Car Battery

Taking care of your car battery is crucial to avoid unexpected setbacks, whether it’s running late for an interview or missing a flight. While it doesn’t require the same level of care as the engine, neglecting it can cause significant consequences.

To keep your battery in optimal health and ensure your car runs smoothly, here are some essential tips:

1)Regularly Use Your Battery: Keep your battery from running out by using it regularly. This prevents strain on the alternator when you need maximum power.

2)Recharge Unused Batteries: Before embarking on a long drive, recharge unused batteries to prevent excessive deep cycling and permanent cell damage due to heat buildup during charging.

3)Check Electrical Components: Ensure all electrical components, such as wiring harnesses, fuses/circuit breakers, ground connections, and starter solenoid, are functioning properly. Look out for intermittent short circuits or faulty grounding points within circuit boards that may cause overheating.

To maintain optimal battery health, follow these additional steps:

Replace the battery every few years: Batteries have a lifespan, so avoid exceeding the recommended number of years.

Check the acid level every six months: Regularly inspect the acid level of your battery or as advised by your mechanic.

Add water carefully: Use a funnel or water bottle for precise water addition.

Conduct regular load tests: Ensure the battery charges correctly under all conditions.

Clean the battery: Regular cleaning prevents corrosion and reverses any existing corrosion.

Secure battery cables: Avoid damage by properly securing battery cables.

Remember, never overcharge your battery.

>>>Related: How To Clean Corroded Battery Terminals

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “How To Fix a Dead Car Battery with DIY methods”

  1. Jump-starting a dead battery alone will not resolve the issue. The battery needs to be charged, and if it fails to hold a charge, it is time for a replacement. Additionally, it is not advisable to charge a dead battery with your alternator after jump-starting, as this can place a significant strain on the alternator. This excessive strain, combined with a deeply discharged battery, can potentially damage an otherwise functional alternator.


Leave a Comment