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Complicated dead battery situation-advice needed

I had to go out of town and leave my '03 Corolla sitting in my apartment building’s carport. Most likely when I get back the battery will be dead. But, I have a lot of potential problems getting a jump, and need some advice. My driveway is a fairly narrow U-shape with a steep downgrade. The carports are at the bottom, on the right side, with a small circle near the foot of the driveway. Naturally, I don’t think there’s any way a tow truck can get down that driveway. Also, my car is parked head-in in the carport, and in front there is a higher-level section of the carport on the other side. I don’t have any clue how I can get a jump in this situation, since there is no way to get the truck near my engine, or to tow my car out of its space. Is there some kind of portable charger they can hook up to my battery, do I have to get a new battery from the tow service, or what would you suggest I do?

Thanks a lot!

sounds like a new battery is in order, or a battery charger. When you put new battery in start the car and take off the positive battery cable to check and see if you have a bad alternator. Just a few suggestions off the top of my head. Hope that helps

You can always go purchase one of these.

What does a tow truck driver charge for a jump start?


If the tow truck can make it in the driveway at all, I think you will find that tow trucks have very long jumper cables for just such situations. Also, the truck can tug the car out onto the drive and then come around from the other direction if he can get in but his cables are not long enough.

If you figure that you need a new battery (if this is your original battery, that is a very safe bet) then the simplest solution is to bring a battery with you as you go home, and save the tow truck charge.

With all due respect to the previous post, do NOT disconnect a battery cable on a 2003 model car with the car running to check the charging system. Automotive computers are expensive. The most basic test of the charging system is to get yourself an inexpensive voltmeter. $10 should do it. You should see 12.6 volts DC with the car turned off, and somewhere around 13.5 volts DC with the car running. If the voltage is higher with the car running than with the car off, the charging system is probably OK.

If you can find an outlet my Sears $40 battery maintainer will charge a dead battery in 20 minutes enough to start

With all due respect to the previous post, do NOT disconnect a battery cable on a 2003 model
car with the car running to check the charging system. Automotive computers are expensive.


Unless you’re going out of town for over a month, have a weak battery, and/or are coming back to below-zero temperatures, you should have no problems.

I would also recommend getting one of the rechargeable jump starters if you think you’ll have problems.

And I would second JoeMario’s recommendation that you do NOT disconnect either battery cable while the engine is running. While this was a quick test you could do on 1970s and earlier cars to check an alternator, (and sometimes it would damage the alternator when doing it) in newer vehicles it can cause a power surge that can damage your car’s computers, alternator, audio system, etc.

There are solar battery chargers, and they work if you can get them into decent sunlight. Next trip a solar charger might help.

For now you can buy and charge up a battery “jump box” and it should start your car. Buy a good one (not the cheapest in the store) to make sure it has enough power to do the job. These jump boxes come in handy and many now have a usp port and a 12V outlet so you can power your cell phone, smart phones, and tablet computers if the power goes out.

When you call AAA for a jump start they will leave the tow truck nearby and will use there own jumper box to start your car. So you can call AAA to start your car.

You can also buy extra length jumper cables that will reach a vehicle parked behind your car. Again cheap cables don’t transmit power well, so buy a good set of cables.

Tow drivers can get into some pretty narrow spots. Repo guys especially. My best suggestion is that you may have to push the car out of the carport to be able to hook the jumper cables up.

And NO, DO NOT PULL OFF A BATTERY CABLE WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING! A voltage spike from this could fry some very expensive modules in the car. Just use a volt meter to check for voltage between 13.5 and 14.5 volts.

thanks for that info on not taking battery cable off.

Thanks for the suggestions and advice everyone. I forgot to mention that my car has not been started in about 5 weeks. Since I’m flying back, I can’t really lug one of those jump boxes with me unfortunately. There’s also no outlets in the carport area.

The jump box or power pak is completely portable. It has a small battery inside to provide a boost for car starting. U do not plug it into a 120v wall outlet while u use it. U only plug it into a wall socket to recharge it. U can leave it in ur trunk.

5 weeks is not too long for a battery to hold a charge. Unless it is very old and about to fail, it should start without any help, just plan on driving it for about 10 minutes after you start it.

If it won’t start, if the tow truck can pull up behind you, their jumper cables will reach, they do this all the time on the sides of roads. But if you know how to remove the battery and have the right sized wrench, you could remove the battery and recharge it in your apartment overnight. You will need a small battery charger, 2 amp model, that you can get for about $20.

tow trucks usually have the jump packs with them for when people have dead batteries in parking garages where the truck can’t go without hitting the ceiling. Just call the tow company and explain they’ll need a portable jump starter.

@mcg448, I recently worked on a vehicle that had been sitting unused for over 3 months. It started right up, without a jump.
If your battery is in good order and there is no draw, there may not even be a problem.