You can run your car with a dead battery – but that doesn’t mean that you should. You can get away with it if you’re not planning on driving like that on a long-term basis. Other than that, a battery replacement should be the next item on your to-do list.
If the engine is the heart of your car, the battery is like the lungs of it.
Sure, you need the battery for the car to work like it’s supposed to, but you can rely on a respirator of sorts if the lungs aren’t working properly.
Does that mean you should depend on a respirator forever? Of course not! You should use that clutch until you can fix your problem (i.e., get another battery).
So, can you run a car without a battery? You can. When the battery is dead, the alternator will take care of things. In that situation, you have to take an extra step or two to start the car, though.
Should you run a car without a battery? You should try and avoid doing that if you can. Running a car without a battery is something that you should only do when necessary.
Can I jump start my car without a battery?
The only way you have to start your car with a dead battery is by jump-starting it. When you do that, the alternator receives enough of a kick to get things going – and will be able to get your car going as well.
Just to be clear, this situation is the same as above.
Can you jump your car without a battery? Sure. It’s easy to do.
Should you jump-start your car without a battery? It’s far from recommended – and I highly suggest you only do so if you have an emergency.
There’s a reason why jump-starting your car without a battery could bring you trouble.
Without the battery, your car will rely on your alternator to provide the necessary energy to run. Here’s the thing, though: the alternator isn’t as reliable as your battery.
Why is an alternator not as reliable as the battery? Because it doesn’t provide a constant amount of power. Your car may get an energy spike out of nowhere – and that’s how you wreck something electrical.
And, it goes without saying, the alternator doesn’t store power but only generates it (or rather, transforms it – but that’s another subject.)
So, with only the alternator to rely on, you’ll have to forever jump-start your car.
Why does my car need a battery?
Your battery provides energy for all things electrical in your car. Without it, you only have subpar alternatives to deal with the electric needs of your vehicle (or none at all).
Your battery supplies energy to your lights, heater, radio, ignition, and a few other things. It also kick-starts your engine.
This little black box is also in charge of storing energy, so you can go out of your car, come back, and start the whole thing with no trouble.
Simply put, a battery is at the heart and center of your car.
Here’s a quick example to understand its importance: without a battery, the alternator provides energy. As I’ve said before, the alternator doesn’t always provide a constant energy output; so, you may experience an energy spike from time to time.
When that happens, the battery is there to take the extra charge, so your car doesn’t take any damage.
Are all car batteries the same?
There are different batteries for different cars. What kind of battery you need depends on your car model. If you buy the wrong kind of battery, you may face all sorts of trouble, ranging from poor performance to damaging your car.
There are three possible scenarios when you buy a car battery: you bought one a size too small for your car, a size too large, or the perfect size.
If the battery size is too large, you won’t be able to fit it in your car. That’s it. You either have to re-sell it or return it. If you manage to fit it inside your car, the unusual temperatures may shorten its lifespan way earlier than expected.
If the battery is too small, it may be loose inside your car. It can also provide less energy than necessary, so you may experience weak AC, a malfunctioning ignition, dead lights, and a few other things.
If the battery has the right size, you have nothing to worry about. Your new battery will work the same way as the old one – and you’re ready to hit the road with a perfectly working car.
How do I know what battery to buy for my car?
There are three things you need to know before you buy a car battery: size, amperage, and cell type. Once you have that sorted out, you can decide the brand and warranty that you prefer.
How to find the size of your battery
There are a couple of ways you have to find the right battery size for your car.
The straightforward method is to check your car’s manual. That’s the foolproof way.
If you don’t have a manual, you can search for it online. You’ll have to be as specific as possible, so make sure you write down the make, model, year, and engine of your car.
The third option (and the one I wouldn’t recommend for used cars), is to look it up on the battery you already have in your car. Sometimes, the size will appear on the front of it. Then again, if it’s the wrong size, you’re going to repeat that mistake.
How to find the amperage of your battery
Once again, you can check your manual for this information. Or you can do so online. As a last resort, you can look it up on the battery you have already – but remember to do so if you’re sure that’s the right battery for your car.
How to find the cell type of your battery
You can pick between lead-acid, enhanced-flooded, and absorbent-glass-mat batteries. The first is the most common one, the latter the most expensive one, and if you don’t know much about batteries it’s better to pick the common one.
On brands and warranties
At this point, whatever you choose is up to you. There are no definite right and wrong answers, it’s more about your budget and what you want.
I’d recommend not trying to save money and buying a cheap brand, though. A cheap battery may end up becoming an expensive nuisance down the road.