My car won't start without a jump. I’d jump it with cables, it will start with no problem, but as soon as I turn it off, I won't turn over.

  • 1
    Have you had the vehicle battery tested? Is the battery in need of a charge - have headlights been left on? Is it charging? Are any warning lights on on the dash when the engine is running - battery indicator for example?
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 24, 2018 at 5:18
  • How long did you drive after jump-starting? If you drove for half an hour or more, the battery should have charged enough to enable starting.
    – Hobbes
    Aug 24, 2018 at 7:22
  • And how old is the battery? If it's still the original one, it's probably time to replace it.
    – Hobbes
    Aug 24, 2018 at 10:36

3 Answers 3


Had a Rav4 do same thing. I thought it was alternator. Took ground post off while running turned headlights on at same time but it keep running, so not alternator. advance said no not bad battery, but I put a new one in no more trouble. Hope it helps.

  • 3
    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair. For future diagnostics, on cars from the last 30 or so years, taking the leads off the battery while the engine is running can be detrimental to the charging system. The procedure you describe worked when engines had generators. You can do serious damage. Aug 24, 2018 at 10:03

That sounds like an empty battery. Now the question is, is the battery just empty or is it in need of replacement.

After jumpstarting, you should drive the car for about half an hour-45 min. That's enough to charge the battery. Then stop the engine and try to start again. If the engine starts, chances are the battery is still usable. If it doesn't, it's time to replace the battery.


How much do you drive it? It takes a while to charge from being totally dead, but batteries don't like to go dead, so by now, you may need a new battery.

One thing to be aware of is that the alternator is not designed to charge a dead battery; it's designed to keep it charged with daily driving. Using the alternator to charge the battery can eventually burn it out due to overheating.

What you need if you don't drive often enough to keep the battery charged, or if your battery goes dead, is an external charger, like a trickle charger, such as the "Battery Tender" brand. I got one at Costco for $35, and it can charge a totally dead battery in several hours. Much cheaper than a new alternator.

  • This adds nothing to the existing answers.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 6, 2023 at 10:35
  • @Chenmunka: Yes it did. Hopefully, others that read this will have better reading comprehension than you, and will benefit from it. Your comment, on the other hand, added nothing to the existing discussion. Dec 7, 2023 at 1:58

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