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Dead battery?

My Grand Caravan wouldn’t start yesterday morning. I turned the key and it made a tick-tick-tick noise and the gauge needles all flipped over tot he side as long as I was attempting to turn the engine on. A security guard at the doctor’s office where I was with my sick infant son jump started the car with a portable battery charger (not cables). He started it, I drove it home, thinking I’ll need to buy a new battery today (I was also sick yesterday. Of course, the car won’t start today, but when we tried to jump start it using our Focus, no go. What gives? I called out mechanic (who is now sending a tow truck), and he says even if the battery is really far gone, you should be able to jump it. Could it be something else?


Yes, you have a dead battery and it need to be replaced. When you get to the shop ask to have the charging system checked out. Many shops (AutoZone, Advance Auto, maybe Pep Boys too) do this check for free.

The battery may have simply expired due to old age but it is possible you also have a weak charging system. That will also require a replacement alternator. You need to find out.

It is not unusual for a jump start to fail. Inferior jumper cables won’t always get the job done. Quality cables will work when cheap ones fail.

If the battery is really gone, a jump will not start the car. The battery may have an internal short and absorb so much of the power that nothing is left to crank the engine. I had a battery die at a gas station right after I filled the tank. I pushed the van to the side and called my motor club. The van wouldn’t start with a jump. I had the tow truck driver tow my car to the house and then I replaced the battery the next day and solved the problem. The battery van was eight years old and this was the original battery. It gave no warning signals before it died.

Thanks for your replies. It was indeed a dead battery. Had the battery replaced, oil changed, and the car is running like new.

Glad you solved your problem, AND told everyone of it. When a battery gets about 5 years old, and there’s a start problem, the battery’s life is the first suspect.