A lot of the cars today are made with automatic transmissions. Vehicles equipped with automatic are much more convenient to drive in the cities in stop and go traffic.
What do you do, though, after the car lights have been left on all night and the car won’t start up in the morning? Or, you’re driving along down a busy highway and the car clunks to a stop and won’t turnover? Can you push start an automatic car the same way you can with a manual transmission?
With a manual transmission, you simply have someone push the car, until it gains momentum, then you engage the second gear and the engine starts up. When you have an automatic transmission, you will also need help from someone, but not to push you. Pushing your car that has an automatic transmission does not work.
With an automatic transmission, you have an open clutch that stops you from being able to push start the car. In the manual version, you can close this to help you crank the engine to get it push started. The only way you can ‘crank’ your automatic transmission’s engine is to jump start it. Your other option is to tow it to a mechanic. It is not possible to push start an automatic car.
Jump Start Your Automatic Car
By jump starting your automatic transmission, you will use another car’s battery to bring yours back to life. You have to connect the booster cables which will transmit the energy and power from that car’s cell directly into your dead battery.
It’s important to remember that you can’t connect to just any other battery with your car to jump start it. If the battery of the other car has a voltage that is higher than yours, it could cause a lot of damage to your car’s battery. Most cars have 12-volt batteries, so it should easy to find another car with the same voltage.
When you are using your jumper cables, the alligator clips can never touch each other or the metal surfaces of the car while you’re connecting the batteries. Alligator clips are on the end of the booster cables. This could result in a spark. Keep the cars off when you connect the booster cables.
When everything is properly connected to your ‘hot’ engine, allow enough time for the power surge to hit the dead battery which can take upwards of several minutes. Don’t rev the engine to initiate a surge of power. Once the vehicle cranks, disconnect the cables by taking off the positive first and then the negative (without letting them touch).
Portable Jump Starter
One thing you need to check out are portable jump starters. These are really perfect for an automatic transmission and don’t need another car or person to work them. A portable jump starter is equipped with a compact battery that can be recharged by plugging it into the wall. This device is as powerful as another car battery. Portable jump starters provide the following benefits:
- They can crank your car with no other vehicle.
- They have reverse polarity protection. (This is when you connect the negative cable to the positive terminal and the positive cable to the negative terminal which will accidently cause a spark with the battery and ignite a fire under the hood; it can also do massive damage to the battery itself.)
- No worries over higher voltage or having overcharge with your dead battery.
- No one needs to stop and help you.
If you have an automatic transmission, you should invest in jumper cables or the portable jump starter and always carry them with you in your trunk or glove box. This is going to be your fastest, easiest, and least pricey option to get your car started.
Other Solutions To Start An Automatic Car With A Dead Battery
There are other choices aside from jumping your automatic engine that are more involved and a bit more costly. Let’s look.
Call a Tow Truck
This may be something that you really don’t want to do. You want your car operational and you want it fixed now. Sometimes, there’s nothing else you can do but get it off the road and to a garage.
The tow person isn’t going to start it for you, and this service is going to be expensive. The good thing is that they will either take you home so that you can further check out what to do next, or you can go to a mechanic of your choosing. By taking it to a mechanic, they can figure out what’s happening and let you know what needs to be done to fix it.
Take Off Fan Belt And Spin the Alternator
This requires an experienced person to help you make it work. Otherwise, don’t try it as it could cause more damage to the car. It is possible to remove the fan belt to start spinning the alternator in order to charge the battery.
Rotating the alternator quickly and for a long enough time is important in order to charge it. There has to be a little bit of power left in the battery so that this is possible. If there’s zero power left in the battery whatsoever, this won’t be an option for you.
Buy a New Battery
When nothing is going your way and there’s no help in site, hopefully you have your cell phone and its on full charge. It’s going to be necessary to find a battery shop. Most likely when you call them, they will deliver a new battery to you and help you install it. Replacing the battery will help you get the car either home or to a mechanic.
Roadside assistance can be pretty costly with their monthly fees, but when you find yourself alongside the road with no help, no jumper cables, no money and an automatic transmission, this would be a lifesaver. You may have to wait for an extended period of time for them to come give you a jump or provide service to you, but they will soon become your next best friend.
It can be pretty scary when you break down and aren’t sure exactly what to do. As long as you have a phone with charge, you’re in business. There are always folks out there willing to help someone in need.