Most Common Problems With Jump Starters and Troubleshooting

What’s even worse than your vehicle’s battery shutting down is finding out that your jump starter isn’t working. Having a jump starter in your vehicle is necessary and can prevent a major inconvenience, but only if it’s working properly.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the most common reasons for jump starter malfunction and explore what you can do in each case.

Why Isn’t My Jump Starter Working?

If you can’t get your car jump started, a defective starter might not be the only problem. Unless your jump starter simply doesn’t have power or is clearly not malfunctioning, you need to consider other possibilities.

For instance, there could be an issue with your vehicle’s electrical system, such as a faulty alternator and a dead or damaged battery – although a dead car battery can often be jump-started.

It could also be caused by many non-battery-related issues, including a faulty ignition switch, broken neutral safety switch, bad fuel pump, clogged fuel filter, engine failure, and engine block, among other things.

If your jump starter powers on normally and you’re not sure if it’s defective, you can take it to a repair shop so a professional mechanic can inspect it.

Here are the most common problems with jump starters and troubleshooting tips to help you fix your jump starter.

Dead Battery

The battery is the most crucial element of your jump starter and should have the electrical power needed to get your car started.

If the jump starter battery is damaged, dead, or dying, it may not operate properly or stop working altogether. You can detect a dying battery when your jump starter takes longer to charge and loses its charge faster or doesn’t charge anymore.

Most models have indicators to tell the amount of charge the jump starter has. Some others like any Acmount car jump starter come with an LED screen that tells the exact percentage of battery charge. This way you can know if the battery is dead or not.

What You Should Do

If you’ve used your battery for a long time, it might be completely dead or nearing its end. In this case, there isn’t much else you can do except replace it with a new battery.

If your jump starter is getting old and worn out, consider purchasing a new one.

Damaged Battery

A damaged battery is much riskier as a defective cell and can cause an internal short circuit. While it won’t necessarily damage your car, it may well do so if you connect it badly to your battery terminals.

What You Should Do

It’s not easy to know the exact cause of a defective jump starter battery, especially if it looks in good condition outside.

For instance, an HPBS jump starter with a damaged battery requires you to call their customer support hotline for assistance. This is the recommended action in these cases for all jump starters.

Bad Jumper Cables

The jump starter battery cables will get worn out over time and won’t be able to carry sufficient current to jump-start your car.

What You Should Do

Since damaged jumper cables can cause a serious electrical malfunction, you should get new ones. Be sure to get quality jumper cables for better durability and jump-starting efficiency.

Bad Weather

Extreme weather conditions, both hot and cold, can affect your device’s jump-starting abilities. Sometimes, the car won’t start even if the jump starter is fully charged and in perfect working order.

What You Should Do

Assuming there’s nothing else wrong with the jump starter, it will probably work after a few tries, especially if it has just enough power to jump-start your battery.

Poor Electrical Connection

If the jumper cables aren’t properly attached to the battery terminals, they won’t carry the necessary jump-starting power.

What You Should Do

Make sure the jumper cables are tightly fastened to the battery terminals. If you just got your first jump starter, check the owner’s manual for detailed instructions on operating its various modes.

How Long Does a Jump Starter Last?

The once-prevalent lead-acid jump starters mostly last for two to three years. The modern lithium-ion jump starters, however, are much more durable.

How many years a modern jump starter will last naturally depends on how often you use it. If properly maintained, you can expect a quality model to last over five years.

Most quality jump starters support 1000 to 1500 full charging cycles – and you can jump-start a vehicle between 20 and 50 times on a single charge.

How To Maintain a Jump Starter

Taking good care of your jump starter will extend its battery life and allow you to make the most of it.

Here are several good practices to keep your jump starter in good condition.

  1. Keep your jump starter charged.
    The lifespan of lithium-ion batteries is affected when they are discharged for too long. It’s recommended to recharge after every use. Don’t worry about frequently charging them, as that won’t do any harm. If unused for a long time, the battery will gradually discharge. To avoid that, recharge it every two or three months. Ideally, the battery level should stay above 80% as much as possible.
  2. Store it in proper conditions.
    Like all battery devices, a jump starter shouldn’t be left somewhere that’s too hot or humid. It’s best to place it in a cool, dry place with no direct exposure to sunlight or water sources.
  3. Clean the clamps regularly.
    To keep your jump starter clamps in good condition, you should tend to them periodically. Frequent use and contact with electrical accessories will wear them out over time. If there are signs of corrosion, you can clean them using a cloth and baking soda mixed with water. Otherwise, a damp cloth will do fine.

Final Thoughts

The most common causes for a jump starter malfunction are electrical. The main concern is the state of the battery. There are several ways you can fix a malfunctioning starter, but sometimes, it’s no longer serviceable and requires replacement.

In this guide, we dealt with the most common jump starter issues and how to fix them. To avoid these concerns in the future, follow our maintenance tips to keep your jump starter in tip-top shape.