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What's YOUR company policy on jump-starting a BAD car battery?

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Topic Originally Created by DodgeTowGuy134 r54_1559570275.gif in November of 2011:


Let me start off with a little about our company policy and then I'll ask my question/opinion poll at the end of the post:

Our company policy on any jump start call is to first test the battery to ensure that it isn't totally dead, to make sure that the battery isn't bad with and dead or inverted cells and make sure it still had fluid in it and covering the tops of all the plates (in batteries that still have the caps that you can check)...We have this policy as a safety matter to protect our drivers from attempting to jump start a battery that is bad and that could pontentially fail/repture/explode due to off-gassinig + a spark = Boom...Secondly, it's also hard on the equipment if you try to jump a bad battery and that subjects your equipment to overstressinig durinig the jump attempt also, besides the #1 issue of safety.

So, our policy is that if a battery tests BAD, then the customer can get their car towed, buy a new battery from us (we send out a service truck with batteries for sale) or they can have us do no further service and the customer can get a new battery on their own to install themselves or whatever, but if the battery tests bad, then we do NOT attempt to jump start it...

So, my question is: How many others have a similar policy to ours regarding this matter, that you do not attempt to jump a bad battery? .....I'm just looking for a poll of how many others feel this same way as we do about this safety issue..Thanks for your replies.


Blue Stripe aka Chris Flynn said:

If customer wants a jump, we will attempt the jump. If unsuccessful, they need towed. Its hard enough to get people to pay for a jump start service call, let alone extra labor for testing the battery. Even if the battery is completely dead, the car will start when jumped, and stay running provided their alternator is working. We give no warranty on how far they will make it after the jump.

Maybe I look at it differently since we don't sell batteries. Too many parts stores around here that do free install of batteries at such low prices, there is no money to be made with batteries IMO. (at least in Youngstown, people will just go to Auto Zone and buy a $69 battery that will be installed free of charge) There is no such thing as someone paying $100+ for a battery to be installed on location. I'm sure we could sell batteries to be installed on location for the same price, but I'm not going through the trouble just to make 10 dollars over what I paid for a battery. I'd love to know how AAA gets people to pay big money for their batteries.
Chris Flynn, WM 091008


BlackAutoload said:

If someone wants to pay for a jumpstart , I will gladly let them.
If it doesn't work, I waive the jump fee if I get the tow.
If not , my truck stays blocking their car in ... Jumper cables are plumbed by pass door.



Advise the customer that the battery is bad and let the know that damage may occur if jumpstarted and driven. if they still want a jump, and it's a club call I call the club and have them put it on record that it was not recommended(AAA will record call) and have member tell them that "they" would accept all liability. almost got burned by this earlier this year on a caravan.battery was shorted and member wanted to drive to wallyworld and get a cheaper battery, when I removed the booster box it started overcharging and fried the BCM. member wanted me to pay damages, AAA found me not at fault.
It's all about CYA everyday now


concordtowing said:

I check the battery fluid level and overall condition of the battery,if the cables and clamps are nasty I don't clean them too big of a risk on messing up the clamps.You called for a jumpstart that's what you get,if I feel the battery is in too bad of shape to jump start I have the vehicle owner attempt to start the car with my booster pack hooked up and nothing happens,well guess you need a tow to the auto parts store. I use about the same rules as you do dodgetruckguy for battery service.


Santiam01 said:

Who would of thought tow trucks would carry battery testers..........


DodgeTowGuy134 r54_1559570275.gifsaid:

idk what auto part stores charge in your area for a battery, but around here by us, then are usually around $90-100 with a 2-year warranty on them,.....so, you asked how we get someone to pay $125+ for a battery installed on location, well: Battery quality battery with a lot longer warranty, it's also easier for our customer to get the problem fixed onscene to save they any more time of having to get tower to another place to get a battery. We have a battery truck and we do well with it. and we do make more that a $10 margin on all of our battery sales!

On the other hand, someone commented about the AAA batteries and their program: We get ALOT of those batteries as bad and so the customer requests for us to install a new battery from interstate. AAA drives their battery program to those who believe that AAA is the best on earth and that you cant live without AAA, kinda like people who think NAPA is the best, but in reality they (napa) just marks up products and sticks their brand on it, thats capitalism and commercialism....



Dodgeguy, I will agree that the previous AAA batteries made by exide are/were poor quality which is why they changed to DEKA/EastPenn brand the older ones were numbered as XX-36, the new ones are XX-C or XX-H the program has worked well for us since the changeover and warranty rate have dropped dramicly. One thing everyone who does any type of battery service has to do is learn to "read" the customer. if customer says vehicle sits alot it will ruin ANY battery,it also helps identify any precluding issues. we get a lot of snowbirds in our area who go south for the winter and have a second vehicle there, so that their vehicle here sits for months. I recommend a battery tender for them so they don't have any issues. testing the electrical system also catch's problems before the before battery replacement.

Santiam, we do not send out Towtrucks for road service. It's more economical to send a service truck, non dot driver, better fuel economy, easier to get around traffic and under buildings.


DodgeTowGuy134 r54_1559570275.gifsaid:

Yeah, "OCTOWMAN" you're right about reading customers and asking them questions about if they have any idea why their battery went dead...That's part of our dispatch/call taking protocall and also gets asked by the driver who arrives onscene for service.

Our service trucks that carry batteries also carry tenders for sale also and we do a good sale of those too...

As for the changeover of brands for the AAA batteries, I can only say that we get ALOT of AAA customers who call us wanting a new battery and mad at AAA for their battery being bad already. We do use an actual battery tester to confirm that a battery is bad and not just connect a booster jump-pack but not turn it on and tell the customer to try to start it and of course it dont start, we actually use a real tester...

Now, back to my original pst..... I was asking how/what others do when to asked to jump a BAD battery. as "sunshine" pointed out, I also have seen others have batteries explode due to unsafe jumping...

So, I guess it comes down to this second question: How many people actually TEST a battery BEFORE attempting to jump it? We do and it's for safety and also to let the customer know whats going on with their battery. As someone pointed out, a bad battery can cause other damage to the vehicle and about CYA too, so we do test batteries,..... Do You? (do you test batteries or just connect them and go by the, "well lets see if it will start up now" motto)


twinbulls said:

We offer jump starts .... and if the car runs we let it roll.... if not we tow it with a little discount going toward the tow...

We offer batteries installed starting at $125 and up >>>> Interstate Batteries....Seems many are just minor problems lose wires corroded and whatnot.... basic road service starts at $75 and up...

When asked to test battery we test it... as for safety ...... be safe ..... Dont jump frozen batteries.... Our jump boxes read the battery and will tell us what was going on .....


harrys said:

Sounds like some of you need to learn how to hook up jumper cables properly so that you dont run the risk of the battery exploding. You DO NOT put both cable clamps on the battery. You attatch the positive cable to the battery first then you


DodgeTowGuy134 r54_1559570275.gifsaid:

I'd take a guess and say that alot of those here already knew that... but, thats NOT always a battery explodes!..just some food for thought! and attempting to jump start a BAD battery has the potential for the battery to fail and it's doesn't have to be because of a spark from connecting the cables...


annettemcd said:

We have two situations with batteries.

1) Because of our long distances, we always try to determine why a jump-start is needed. No one is going to be happy if we send a service vehicle 80 miles to do a jump-start only to discover that the battery is BAD or the alternator has failed and the vehicle needs to be towed. Not only would we have 160 miles of driving and 3 hours of time for which no one wants to pay, but we have delayed getting a tow truck there by 1.5-3 hours. We ask a number of questions on the phone. If we decide to send a tow truck, we do not spend a great deal of time on scene testing the battery, inspecting the cables, or even attempting a jump-start because if we do get the vehicle started, people and motor clubs do not want to pay for the tow truck being sent and there is a possibility that the jump-start will not get them to where they need to go, so a second call results and again no one is happy. So, we send a service vehicle is we are fairly sure that a jump-start will solve the problem and we send a tow truck and tow them without spending much time messing with the battery if we do not think that a jump will work.

The other consideration which we have relates directly to the original question about BAD batteries. This time of year we get many calls for jump-starts. Usually it is -20 to -40 degrees, the vehicle has not been winterized and/or has not been plugged in for more than one hour, the battery is old, tired, and weak, and the person has tried repeatedly to start the cold engine and has drained the battery. With these parameters, a jump-start is not going to start the car; the engine is too cold. But the other consideration is that if the battery has been drained, it is possible that it has frozen. A frozen battery can be badly damaged and will not take or keep a charge, but also runs the risk of exploding. There is no way that we will dispatch someone to jump-start a battery under these conditions. There are a few choices: tow the vehicle to some place warm and park it there until it warms up; plug the vehicle in for a few hours until it warms up; after either one of the these events, it still might be necessary to buy and install a new battery. If the person or the motor club still insists on a jump-start, we usually refuse the job.




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