LITHUANIA – AUTO REPAIR
There is probably no driver who has never experienced the problem of a dead battery unable to start a car engine. The colder the weather, the more likely this is to happen. In such cases, drivers most often try to start the car by connecting the jump leads to another vehicle’s battery or to a special external battery. But this method has its own pitfalls.
Egidijus Cesnelis, the manager of car service 222E, says that even though this year’s winter did not bring particularly bad frosts, they still had to repair several cars which could not be started by wires.
"Fragile" auto electronics
Normally this procedure does no harm, but it is not entirely safe for the car’s electronics. In particular, it is not advisable to wire up newer cars, which have many more different control units and computers than older models.
According to Egidijus Cesnelis, in practice there have been cases when attempting to start a car by using the “jump-start” method from another car resulted in rather serious damage.
“We have had all kinds of stories in our practice. One customer, when his battery died, tried to use wires to start his Mercedes from a friend’s car. In the end, the gearbox control unit of the car burned out. As the car was quite old, the man thought it was not worth repairing and the Mercedes had to be scrapped.
There were cases when the engine control units were burnt out too. By the way, we have noticed that problems occur more often in cars in which the batteries are not located in the engine compartment, but in the boot or under the seat. These cars have much longer wiring and sometimes “frayed” wiring, which leads to loss of contacts and even short circuits,” said Egidijus Cesnelis, adding that usually the faults occur in a running car and not in one that is trying to start.
Are boosters safe?
Attempts to start the car using external starting aids, the so-called “boosters”, also do not guarantee 100% absence of consequences, according to the specialist. In these cases, alternators and their charging relays may fail, which, after starting the car with an empty battery, become overloaded.
The safest way to start a car with a dead battery is simply to remove the battery and charge it with a special charger.
And in some newer vehicles, the battery does not need to be removed at all as there are already wires in the engine compartment to connect an external charger.