Need car parts? Select your vehicle
Reading Time: 4 minutes
  • If you don’t have jumper cables, you can jumpstart a vehicle with a dead battery via the push start method.
  • You can also call roadside assistance for help, use a jump-start box, or use solar power.
  • It’s trickier to jump-start an automatic vehicle, but you can use a portable battery charger to get the job done.

Stuck on the road because of a dead battery? If you’re driving a manual transmission vehicle, jump-starting could solve your problem. The process works best with jumper cables, but there are ways to do it without them.

How to Jump-Start a Car Without Jumper Cables

As frustrating as it is to have your ride die in the middle of the road, there are many ways to charge a dead car battery enough to get it running. Some of them require a helping hand or two.

Here are several methods to jump-start your daily driver without using jumper cables.

Use the Push Start Method

The first way to jump a car without jumper cables, and arguably the one that’s most widely known, is the push start method. Bear in mind that this only works with manual transmission vehicles.

You cannot do this method on your own. If you don’t have passengers to help you push your ride, you might have to ask for helpful strangers for assistance.

See also  How Long Can a Car Battery Sit Unused?

Park your vehicle on a flat road or at the top of a slight include. Then, once your assistants are ready to push your vehicle, you can start implementing the following steps.

  1. Turn the ignition on.
  2. Shift the clutch to second gear while the parking brake is still engaged.
  3. Push the clutch all the way down to the floor.
  4. Ask everyone to push your vehicle from the rear.
  5. Release the clutch with the key still in the ignition.
  6. Once you start moving at a speed of 5mph, drop the clutch.
  7. If the engine starts, you’re done. If it doesn’t, repeat the steps at a higher speed.

If your vehicle still doesn’t start up, you might need to replace your car battery.

Call Roadside Assistance

jump start car battery roadside assistance
Roadside assistance offers quick fixes, helping drivers deal with emergencies with their services, and that includes jump-starting a dead battery if needed.

Another reliable way to jump-start your vehicle without jumper cables is to ask for help from people who do.

A surefire way to get a responder is to call a towing company. Roadside assistance offers quick fixes, helping drivers deal with emergencies with their services, and that includes jump-starting a dead battery if needed.

Of course, roadside assistance can also help you resolve other issues, so it pays to know how to contact them in a pinch.

Use on Jump-Start Boxes

Jump-start boxes are a great investment, providing a quick fix for dead batteries.

These portable batteries help prevent damaging voltage surges. They have jumper cables, and some extra features like A/C outlets, USB ports for device charging, and safety lights.

If you have one, follow these steps to use it to jump-start your ride safely.

  1. Take off all jewelry and wear protective gloves and goggles.
  2. Turn off your vehicle and remove the key from the ignition.
  3. Connect the red clamp of the jump-start box to the positive post of the battery.
  4. Connect the black clamp of the jump-start box to an unpainted metal surface on the vehicle’s frame.
  5. Turn on the jump-start box.
  6. Turn the vehicle on. If your vehicle won’t start, leave it for a few minutes before trying again.
  7. Turn off the jump-start box once your vehicle is working again.
  8. Remove the black clamp first, followed by the red clamp.
See also  Automobile Battery: Everything You Need to Know

If your vehicle still won’t start after following these steps, there’s a good chance your car battery is damaged and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

Rely on Solar Power

A solar charger converts energy from the sun and turns it into power. If you want to utilize it the next time your battery runs out of energy, you’re going to need a solar panel and your ride must have an auxiliary power outlet.

  1. Plug your solar panel into the auxiliary power outlet, also known as the car cigarette lighter.
  2. Let your solar panel rest in a place where it can gather sunlight easily. The solar panel will turn sunlight into electricity, charging the car battery.
  3. Unplug your solar panel once the car battery is full and drive your vehicle as normal.

Bear in mind that this method only works on vehicles with manual transmissions, and it usually takes a long time to finish. It takes roughly 5-8 hours for a 200-watt solar charger to fully charge a car battery, so you might need to wait a while even if you don’t intend to charge it all the way.

Can You Jump-Start an Automatic Car Without Jumper Cables?

Though there are multiple ways to jump-start manual vehicles, it’s trickier to start an automatic vehicle with a dead battery.

If you drive an automatic, you can’t charge the battery using the push start method, but you can power it with a portable battery.

See also  The Starting System

All you need is a jump-start box. It’s a good practice to pack one with you wherever you go in case your car battery dies – or if you’re feeling generous, if someone else’s car battery dies.

Jump-start boxes don’t take up too much space so there’s no harm in keeping one in your cargo space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the questions many people ask about jump-starting a car.

Is it safe to jump-start a damaged car battery?

No, you should never jump-start a damaged car battery. Doing so runs the risk of causing a fire, or in more severe cases, an explosion.

Can you jump-start a car without gloves?

Yes, you can, but it’s not recommended. Although mishaps are rare with car batteries, there’s a slim chance the battery can explode or leak harmful chemicals. These chemicals can irritate and damage your skin.

Can you use soda to clean car battery terminals?

Yes, you can use soda to clean corroded car battery terminals. It’s only a temporary fix and it’s not recommended to use as a go-to solution for corrosion, but it can be used in a pinch to break down corroded material.

For a long-term solution, you’re better off using baking soda and a steel wire brush. Boiling water also works as a suitable alternative.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Electrical System , DIY Tagged With :
bumpers and components
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

View all Questions & Answers

expand_more Answers BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY: Share your knowledge & help fellow drivers Join Now