Earlier this week, we showed you how to jump start a car. Jump starting a car is useful when you have a flat battery and someone else with a vehicle is able to assist. However what happens when you’re car won’t start and there’s nobody else to lend a hand? This is where bump starting will come in handy. It’s not a skill you will use often, but if you ever need to bump start a car then you will be glad that you know how to.
Bump starting (sometimes called push starting) only works for manual cars, and is the term used for starting a car via the rotational movement of the wheels instead of using the battery. If your battery is flat but there’s nobody there to help and you still need to start your car, then this is where bump starting will come in handy.
The first thing you need to do if your car won’t start is to conserve as much battery as possible, so turn off your lights, stereo and any other ancillaries that may be drawing power from the battery. With that done, you’re now ready to bump start the car.
Bump start the car
To bump start the car, you’ll need to get it moving anywhere between 3 and 8 mph. The easiest way to do that is to position your car on top of a hill by pushing it. Alternatively if there are other people then they can push the car. Make sure you have enough space ahead of you for when you get the car moving. It is also worth noting that you will need to keep the car running for a period of time afterwards to recharge the battery.
Now you have everything planned, you’re ready to continue. Switch the ignition to position 2*. This is the position just before where the key needs to be if you were trying to start the car. This will also deactivate the steering lock so you can turn the wheel.
Dip the clutch and select the gear you want. If you’re going backwards then that will be reverse. Or first if you are going forwards. If you’re able to get a fair bit of speed up when bumping the car, then second gear will work best. It’s worth noting that power steering and power brakes will not be working at this stage, so prepare to have to turn and brake hard if required.
Get the car rolling, and when the car reaches about 5mph, lift the clutch and then immediately dip it again. This should get the car started. Leave the car running for a while as the battery will be completely dead. It’s best to drive around for fifteen to twenty minutes, if possible.
*If your car has a push start button, then you will need to press this without your foot on the brake, as this is the equivalent of putting the ignition in position 2.