Car won't start with jumper cables


I drive a 97 Subaru Outback, or i should say i hardly ever drive it. It has been sitting for about a month, the battery is dead but even when i try to start it with jumper cables it doesn’t work. It trys to turn over at first but then will make a clicking noise. I’m not sure what to do first


First, remove and clean the terminals. Then fully charge the battery and have it load tested.


The contact points where the battery contacts the cables is corroded. Take the cables off and clean both the battery terminals and cable ends. Start it and then let it run for a while. It should be OK, but if you really feel like wasteing a few bucks go ahead and have a load test done on the batery.


AutoZone and many other places will load test a battery for free.


Have you guys heard of battery testing using the properties of “conductance” in about1996 we recieved a piece of test equipment to test batteries (at a GM Dealer it was essential equipment,meaning the dealer had to by it) could give the batterys CCA even if it was very close to being stone cold dead. Displayed a warranty claim number for the work orded. No load testing involved.


I’ve found that cheap jumper cables don’t get the job done. Either have the battery charged or find a friend with quality cables.


Go to an oldtime parts store and tell them you need 30 feet of heavy welder cable. Cut the cable in half and put heavy duty clamps on the ends. Mark the positive and negative on each end and you’ll have a set of jumper cables that will work.

The store bought ones anymore are at best #6 cable and it’s not good enough not to mention the clips are cheap as well. You need a good conductor to make it work right.



If it is the original battery the least expensive way to go is a new battery. Another thought, keep the car your jumping from running so the “donor’s” alternator can give max output. This is of course after the cleaning reccommended by others.


Connect the jumper cables for about 5 minutes before trying to start the car. This will give the battery some time to take a charge. It’s so depleted that all the current from the donor car is going to the dead battery, leaving little to turn the engine over.

Or, you may just have crummy connections. But it’s ALWAYS a good idea to let the dead battery charge a few minutes before trying to staqrt the car.


I’ve never had any luck with jumper cables at all. You need a battery charger to charge the battery and probably a new battery at this point if it won’t take or hold a charge. No point screwing up the donor car battery and alternator too.