Skip to main content

Having to jump-start your car can be a downright pain sometimes, especially if you know that it’s just going to die again eventually. Multiple jump starts can be caused by a faulty battery, alternator, or something more major. But can jump-starting a car multiple times a week be bad for its battery?

How many times can a car battery be jump-started?

A driver of a Toyota Prius helps jump-start the dead battery on a Subaru vehicle.
A driver of a Toyota Prius helps jump-start the dead battery on a Subaru vehicle. | ROB KERR/AFP via Getty Images

It’s OK to jump-start a battery using another car once, but you shouldn’t try to crank it more than three or four times in a row if the dead car isn’t starting, according to Pep Boys. If the dead car isn’t starting, then it could possibly need more time to charge. But after trying to charge it for a longer period of time to no avail, then it’s possible that the dead car has a completely dead battery that needs to be replaced.

In my personal experience, my car needs to be jump-started multiple times a week due to a parasitic draw from the aftermarket alarm installed on the car. The battery can usually hold a charge just fine for a week in the summertime. But once the weather starts to get colder, I get to hear the dreaded “click, click, click” about every other day. Fortunately, I have my handy Shell portable jump starter to give my car the boost it needs and revitalize it back to life. It even works in single-digit temperatures.

However, I can imagine that jump-starting the battery multiple times a week must be harmful to at least the battery, if not some other parts of the car. According to Axle Addict, “12-volt batteries simply lack the power to cause significant damage to electronic components.” That’s a relief, but it’s still safer to only jump-start the car once or as little as possible.

The safest way to charge a dead battery

two cars get a jump start in the winter
Kestrel Hanson Neathawk, right, gets a jump start for her dead battery from her neighbor Sara Born, left, along Ridge Road on March 23, 2016, in Nederland, Colorado. | Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

In case you’re worried about charging the battery safely, there are a couple of different ways to safely jump-start a car. While using a portable jump starter or another car with a good battery are perfectly acceptable ways to jump-start a car, it’s safer to let the dead battery charge fully.

You can do this by connecting the dead battery to a good one and letting it charge or taking it to your local auto parts store where you can get it charged for free. That way, when you start the car, you won’t run the possible risk of putting any strain on the rest of the car’s components.

If all else fails, get a new battery or fix the underlying problem

A service worker starts a car battery
ADAC serviceman starts a car battery in Laatzen, Germany. | Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you find yourself having to charge or jump-start your car’s battery multiple times a week like I do, then you may want to replace the battery completely. If replacing it doesn’t help and the new battery keeps draining, then you may need to address the underlying issue – like a parasitic draw – first. Also, if your car has an aftermarket alarm, then you may want to consider driving the car every day to keep the battery charged or replacing the alarm like I obviously need to.


Can Cold Weather Damage Your Car’s Battery?