Back around 1978, my wife and I bought an old Fiat 124 sedan. It was at the owner's house and the battery was dead. I disconnected the battery terminals and connected the jumper cables from our car directly to the battery terminals and the car started. After the Fiat was started, I connected the cables back to the dead battery, and I could tell the Fiat's system suddenly had a heavy load on it but continued to run. It was starting to get dark and I got the Fiat home as quickly as possible without turning on lights, radio, etc. Made it home fine and got a new battery the next day.

My questions are: can modern cars be started this way? Will it damage the electrical/electronic system?

Thanks! Chaz

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Aug 20, 2018 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


I can be started that way, but I wouldn't advise it. The issue is leaving the car running while reconnecting the battery cables. You run the risk of damaging the alternator if one of the "jumper" clamps slips off.

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