When you get in your car, turn the ignition and nothing happens, what do you do? It could be your battery is drained. If you don’t have jumper cables in the vehicle or simply don’t have them, one option for getting the car going again is to push or roll start it.
Here’s how. Note that this procedure only applies to vehicles with a manual transmission. Push or roll starting a car requires two or more people (one behind the wheel and one or more to push).
- Insert ignition key in the on position.
- Put the transmission in Neutral gear.
- Instruct the person outside to push the car forward to gain some momentum and keep pushing until the vehicle reaches a speed of about 5-10 mph.
- Disengage the clutch and shift into second gear and quickly engage--or "pop"--the clutch.
- When the engine turns over, press gently on the accelerator.
- Once the engine has started, disengage the clutch.
- Shift into Neutral and keep the engine running for at least a minute before driving.
Experts warn that you should never try to push or roll start a car that is parked on a hill. If a car’s battery is completely dead, pushing and roll starting won’t bring it to life. Also, manufacturers of some vehicles do not recommend starting them this way. To be safe, check your owner’s manual on any warnings.