Can I Push Start an Automatic Car? “Yes, But Not All”

Every time I turn my key, it’s the same monotonous sound: that of my engine trying to start. Eventually, after four more attempts, I’m able to drive away. Recently, I’ve been wondering, ‘Is it possible to push-start an automatic car?’

Dead batteries can be frustrating. However, what if there was a way to solve this issue without it escalating. In this article, I am going to answer the question of whether an automatic car is push-startable as well as look at easy and incredible automatic battery fixes that you can implement.

We shall go through the processes step-by-step so you can effortlessly follow them.

Push-starting is possible with some old automatic cars made before 1967

Modern automatic cars are designed in such a way that they do not support push-starting. The earlier versions could be push-started, but the updated version does not have some functionalities to support the process.

If your vehicle has the following automatic transmission versions, you can have it push-started.

can you push start an automatic transmission
Some early versions of automatic cars can be push-started. For example, one with a Flash-O-Matic transmission can be push-started before 1967.

Why is it impossible to push-start a modern automatic car?

When dealing with a manual transmission vehicle, modern or earlier versions, the process is executable. The reason is that a manual car lets the driver engage different gears at different times. The driver will be required to engage the clutch and then swiftly change the gear. They can switch from the first gear down to neutral.

With a manual transmission, the following process takes place to push-start it:

  1. The car needs to be in motion. The speed should be about 10 to 20 mph.
  2. The driver has to disengage the clutch, which engages the car’s motor to the transmission connections.
  3. If the vehicle has engaged gear, then the transmission is bound to spin. The crankshaft rotation causes the transmission to turn during the rotation of the wheels.
  4. The action is a result of the gear turning the flywheel via the car’s starter. The motion results in a motor rotation causing the vehicle to start.

With a modern automatic vehicle, it is impossible to get it push-started. The driver has little to no control over the gear changes. It is hence impossible to disconnect the gear from the car’s motor. The transmission cannot roll like a manual transmission clutch.

Even though push-starting your modern automatic vehicle might be impossible, there are other alternatives.

What are the alternatives to start an automatic car?

dead car battery
The alternatives for push-starting an automatic car includes jump-starting, charging the battery, calling for help, etc.

Jump-Starting Using Another Vehicle’s Battery

For this process, you are going to need jumper cables and another car’s battery. However, you should check to ensure that the other battery voltage is the same or close. You should also take the following precautions for a safe jump-start.

  1. Read the car’s owner manual.
  2. Do not attempt to jump-start a cracked, corroded, or leaking battery.
  3. Do not jump a dry battery.
  4. Avoid letting the clips touch.

For a safe jump-start, you can carry out the following process:

For this process to be successful, you’re required to use jumper cables. To stay on the safe side, always have a pair on your car’s trunk.

Step 1: Ensure the two vehicles are on either parking mode or neutral, then switch off both cars’ ignition. You should also engage the parking brakes on both cars. Doing so avoids any movement during the jump-start.
Step 2: Connect one red clip onto your battery’s positive terminal (+).
Step 3: Connect the other end containing the red clip onto your friend’s battery positive terminal (+).
Step 4: Pick the end with a black clip and connect it onto the other vehicle’s battery on the negative terminal (-).
Step 5: Connect the remaining end containing the black clip onto an unpainted surface made of metal on your vehicle. Ensure that the surface is not close to the car’s battery.
Step 6: Start the car with the working engine and let it stay on for a couple of minutes.
Step 7: Try starting your vehicle.

If the vehicle does not start, check on the cable to ensure that the connection was made correctly. You can then ask your friend to start their vehicle and leave it running for a couple more minutes. Now try starting your vehicle again. If it does not work this time, then your battery might have a more severe issue.

How you can jump-start your car.

Jump-Start Using A Portable Jump Starter

To execute the jump-starting method, you will require to have a portable jump starter pack. The starter packs are pre-packed and pre-charged. They are also pretty affordable and are available in many automotive accessory shops. It is a piece of essential equipment to have to deal with dead battery issues.

To jump-start your car, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Connect the jump starter’s red clamp onto the battery’s positive terminal (+). If you do not find the battery on the standard engine compartment, find the car’s positive jump post, which is on the engine’s compartment. You can always make use of the car’s manual to locate this component.
Step 2: Connect the jump starter’s black clamp onto the battery’s negative terminal (-). However, ensure that the jump starter is off. If your jump starter pack comes without an on and off power switch, it would help if you connected it to a static metal piece away from your car’s battery.
Step 3: Ensure the clamps and the cables connecting your jump starter and the engine are not on the path of a moving engine component before starting the engine.

You can now activate your jump starter and then start your car’s engine. Next, deactivate your jump starter and disconnect the black clamps from the battery. Follow up by disconnecting the red clamp and then close the car’s hood, and you are good to go.

The process is pretty straightforward and efficient. The best part about it is that you do not need help from anyone. Even when you are not near a power source, you can always use your jump starter pack and get things rolling again.

Follow this video to see how you can jump-start your car with a portable jump-starter.

Change The Car Battery

Suppose the battery dies and does not revive even when you charge it. It might be time for a replacement. The battery-changing process is not challenging, and we are going to take you through it.

Some precautions to take when changing the battery:

  1. Do not expose any of the batteries (both the new and old) to spark.
  2. Put on some gears such as goggles and gloves when changing the batteries.
  3. Pay extra attention to the battery’s acid; it is pretty corrosive.

Remove the car’s old battery

Step 1: Begin by disconnecting the cables on the battery’s negative terminal (-). You can use a wrench for easier disconnection of the cable.
Step 2: Disconnect the cable on the battery’s positive terminal (+). Ensure the metal part of the wrench does not touch the terminal. Any contact will yield sparks.
Step 3: Loosen the hold-down of the battery, fasteners, and/or connectors that ensure the battery stays in place securely.
Step 4: Lift out the battery and place it in a safe area.

Connect the new car battery

Step 1: Clean up the clamps. Get rid of any dirt, debris, or dirt build-ups on the clamps. Remove build-ups on the battery’s terminal.
Step 2: Insert the new car battery onto the holder.
Step 3: Secure the car battery.
Step 4: Reconnect the battery’s positive terminal.
Step 5: Reconnect the battery’s negative terminal.
Step 6: Test out the car to ensure that the battery is working perfectly.

This video shows you how to change your car’s battery.

Battery registration

Automatic vehicles sometimes require the battery to be registered to avoid premature battery damages. The process is pretty easy:

Step 1: Plug your car scanning tool into the OBD2 port.
Step 2: Turn the ignition on.
Step 3: Select your car model.
Step 4: Scroll down till you hit the body menu.
Step 5: Search for the power supply option and click on enter.
Step 6: Select the second option called battery registration, and you are all done.

Here is a tip for you if you cannot reach out to your family or friends and your car’s battery has died.

Call For Professional Help

Call a tow truck

Calling a tow truck should come as an ultimate last result. It would help if you first try all the tips discussed in this article before you decide to quit.

The towing company charges a significant amount to offer its services. However, on the upside, you get a free ride home to further investigate the car’s issue. You can also instruct them to take the vehicle to your mechanic. There, the problem can be better assessed.

Call a mobile car battery jump-starting or replacement service

Some companies offer mobile jump-starting and replacement services. They charge an affordable amount to jump-start your vehicle or provide replacements. You do not need to worry about not having a jump starter pack or an extra battery, thanks to these services.

Last-Ditch Method – Using Aspirin

Using an aspirin and distilled water solution, you can change the battery’s electrolyte mix, giving your battery enough charge to drive elsewhere. To create this solution, you can follow this procedure:

Step 1: Crush twelve 500gms or 350gms aspirin tablets.
Step 2: Dissolve the now powdered aspirin tablets in about six OZ of distilled warm water.
Step 3: Take the solution and add an equal amount to each cell. Later on, add more water to cover up the plates.


  • Make sure you get the proportions right. Otherwise, you might ruin the battery and any chance of reviving it.
  • When you’ve finished using Aspirin, ensure that it’s completely dry before recharging or using your battery again. Otherwise, this could harm your battery.
  • If your battery is dried out, then the only alternative might be to recharge it.

Charge Car Battery With A Battery Charger

Battery charging is a simple process, and any driver can handle it easily. Of course, you will be required to watch out for some precautions like:

  • Avoid touching your face during the procedure.
  • Ensure you plug in the cables correctly.
  • Ensure the battery is well-positioned.

If your car’s battery is almost completely drained, you will need to jump-start it first to add on some volts. Doing so helps surpass the charger’s voltage threshold since it cannot recharge a battery with too little voltage (anywhere from 3V to 11V, depending on the charger.)

The battery charger should be pre-carried. You should have one in your trunk for battery emergencies. The equipment is pretty affordable and pocket-friendly. They are also available in many automotive stores for accessories. Most batteries work great with standard 12V vehicle batteries, including gel batteries and deep cycles.

After you have acquired this equipment, it is now time to go through the charging process.

The recharge process

Step 1: Check the charger to make sure it is disconnected from any power source. Let it remain unplugged as of now.
Step 2: Choose the correct charge rate and setting that corresponds to your battery type.
Step 3: Identify the negative and positive battery sides.
Step 4: Clip up the red wire onto the battery’s positive side or its positive terminal.
Step 5: Connect the black wire or cable onto the negative battery side or its negative terminal.
Step 6: Connect the battery charger to the power source. You can use a cable extension if the wire is too short.
Step 7: Wait until your battery is fully charged.
Step 8: You can now unplug the charger from your power source—switch off the charging device. Now you can safely remove the negative and the positive clamps from the battery.
Step 9: After unplugging and disconnecting, use the multimeter to test the battery’s charge. It should return 12.6 or more volts.

  • If you search for the positive side, you should check for the following labeling- POS, P, and + symbols.
  • For the negative side, you should check for the following labels- NEG, N, and the minus symbol (-) around the battery’s terminals.
Watch this video to better understand the recharge process.


Although push-starting is not possible in modern-day automatic cars, the alternatives are incredible.

Next time do not let a dead battery slow you down. Just implement the procedures provided in this article and get your car rolling again.

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