Why you should avoid jumpstarting a modern car

Like most electronics, a power surge can cause damage to the electronic systems of a modern car. A seemingly well-meaning jumpstart can cause said power surge and impact the effectiveness of onboard computers, safety systems, damage the engine and be the result of expensive repairs.

Over the years, trusted battery specialists have assessed many vehicles brought in by customers who have attempted to jumpstart them. Damages have included,

  1. Blown Engine Control Unit (ECU)
    A blown ECU can occur if there is a voltage spike when jumpstarting. This impacts the alternator and other electrical components such as the fuel pump, onboard computer and possibly the fuses.
  2. Compromised traction control systems
    When jumpstarting a car equipped with traction control, it’s important to follow the manufacturer instructions. If these protocols aren’t followed, the cars’ traction control may be compromised, resulting in unstable road grip, which could endanger the driver and other motorists.
  3. Power steering damage
    If manufacturer instructions aren’t followed, the power steering system can be impacted, resulting in a stiff steering experience, making steering your car tougher than usual. This can be dangerous.
  4. Airbag system flaws
    After jumpstarting a modern car, the airbag system may become inconsistent, which could result in airbags not deploying due to an electric fault. The consequences can be catastrophic.
  5. Inconsistency with Start/Stop systems
    Most modern cars are equipped with Start/Stop technology. An incorrect jumpstart may disable the Start/Stop system and may require you to take your car to a dealership for further assessment. Jumpstarting a car equipped with Start/Stop technology is not advisable as the battery used is specialised to that car.
  6. Damage to the boosting car
    Sometimes, a modern car is used to jumpstart an older car, this may cause a power surge to the newer car, resulting in damage to the expensive electronic systems.

Source: Battery Centre