I tried to start my car today but after a few splutters, the ignition quit (i.e. turning it does nothing now). The inside lights / brake lights don't go on anymore, so I assume the battery's dead. But when I opened the hood, I saw this:

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Normally my roommate maintains this vehicle, but he's out of town. He's a pretty knowledgeable mechanic by hobby, so I wouldn't be surprised if he saw this and just ignored it, if he saw no serious issues with it. But, maybe it's a really old cord and just now finally severed.

Is it safe to jump this battery?

  • By the way, it is possible I left a door not quite closed, draining the battery. So I'm not suggesting that the severed ground is what caused the drain—that doesn't even make sense—I'm just asking if it's safe to jump in this state. Apr 15, 2016 at 22:40
  • 1
    You can jump the battery. The question is though, is the engine grounded to the battery or body or both? if 1 and 3 are true than the engine will run fine if 2 is true and 1 & 3 are false than I doubt the engine will run at all.
    – Ben
    Apr 16, 2016 at 0:02

1 Answer 1


This is a body ground. This is not the main ground, but will affect how anything attached to the ground will work. This might mean your radio or your lights might not work. It might mean the computer in your car (if it has one) won't work. There are any of a hundred things which could go wrong, but you should still be able to jump your vehicle.

With this in mind, get this fixed before you try to get it jumped. Your car will be in much better shape for doing so.

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