Can You Jump Start a Car with a Bad Starter?

To simply answer the question – no, you cannot jump start a car with a bad starter. This does not mean that the problem is your starter, though, nor does this mean for certain that you won’t be able to get your car running over to the mechanic.

If you want to start your car and you think you have a bad starter, a good first step is to ensure that the problem is indeed the starter, and to make sure that there isn’t something else wrong with the car. If the problem is indeed your starter, you will not be able to start your car with jumper cables, but might still be able to get your car running over to the mechanic to get it checked out.

First, it is important that you make sure that you cannot jump start your car before you schedule an appointment with the mechanic or go out to the automotive store and buy a new starter. This can be done rather easily, and can help you avoid a false diagnosis. After all, there are many things that can go wrong with a car.

Try to Jump Start the Car

Jump starting a car is a rather easy thing to do. First, you will need a pair of quality jumper cables and another car that is running smoothly. Next, you will need to connect your jumper cables to your car’s battery and the battery of the car that is going to help you.

This can be done by simply matching the color of the cables to the corresponding bolt on each car’s battery. Usually a battery will have a red boot on top of the part where you connect the red clamp, and a bare bolt where you connect the black clamp. Let the smoothly running car run for 5 – 10 minutes while connected to your vehicle’s battery before trying to start your car.

If the car jump starts, the battery was more than likely the issue that needed to be dealt with. If you are still unable to start your car, it is starting to become more likely that the problem is indeed your starter.

Have a Mechanic Test the Vehicle

If you are unable to jump start your car, the smartest thing you can do is take your car over to a reliable mechanic so that you can have a diagnostic test done to tell you what the problem is. Although a bad starter is one of the reasons you are not able to jump start your vehicle, it is still possible that there are other things causing your vehicle problems.

People who are lucky will have something small to fix and will discover that the issue is something small like a spark plug or bad fuse, or perhaps were simply trying to jump start their vehicle incorrectly. However, there are sometimes pretty drastic repairs that can be necessary if you are not able to jump start your vehicle.

If you are unable to start your vehicle to take it to a mechanic, you have a couple of options. You can either have it towed, or if you are lucky, you may still be able to get it running over to the mechanic to have it checked out.

Do You Have a Manual Vehicle? Good News!

If you have a manual vehicle, you are in luck. It is still possible to start your car so that you can have it taken to the mechanic to have them take a look. There are some simple steps that are necessary to start your car with a bad starter for people with a manual transmission.

#1 Make Sure That You Can Turn Your Lights On

Make sure that when you put your keys in the ignition and turn the key to the on position, that you can see your controls light up, and that your lights can turn on. Don’t fire up the car quite yet – we are just gearing the vehicle up for the next step.

#2 Put the Car in Neutral

As soon as you are able, put the car in neutral and get ready to release all brakes so that your car will start moving. This is crucial in getting the car to start, so make sure that you can reach this point before moving on to the next step.

#3 Push Your Car and Start Moving It

Don’t worry, you are not going to push your car all the way to mechanic; otherwise, we would have told you to get it towed! This step is only to get your car rolling so that you can soon fire it up and get the engine (hopefully) running momentarily. If you have a hill you go down, this process will be much easier and will require less force.

#4 Push Down Your Clutch and Switch to First Gear

This is the part that might be the most difficult. Once you get a nice steady speed from pushing your car (preferably down a hill), you will then quickly need to push down your clutch and switch to first gear immediately while jumping back into the car.

If you did it right, your car should now be running like normal. This is the best way to start a car with a bad starter. Of course, the cache is that you need to have manual transmission to do this.

#5 Don’t Stall Your Vehicle

If you stall your vehicle after completing these steps, you will have to start over from step one. This will not be fun to do in the middle of an intersection, so be sure to drive with extra care.

If You Have an Automatic Transmission:

Sorry. If you have a bad starter you will not be able to start your car, either by jumping it or performing an elaborate stunt like the one described above. The only option you have is to tow it. Once your car arrives at the mechanic, you will then be able to have the mechanic look into the issue. If you are lucky, you will only need to replace a starter.