How to Reanimate a Dead Car Battery with Rope

The death of a car battery is hard to take, especially when it comes unexpectedly. A red light, the school drop-off line, a parking lot on a stormy day, and your own driveway are all sites of battery demise. What do you do about your car emergency?

Surely, the first thing you do is unleash some colorful language, either out loud if you’re alone, or in your mind if you have underage passengers. Once that’s out the way you have several options: grab the jumper cables, start pushing, or call for help. Hopefully the battery in your phone is working.

If one of the options above isn’t an option at all, then this hack might work in extenuating circumstances. Shared by Shake the Future, this trick for starting your car after the battery dies uses a rope and jack. He states that he got the idea from his dad, who successfully performed it.

Pay attention, as quite a few disclaimers are given. This is NOT for automatic transmissions, all-wheel drive vehicles, or cars that run on diesel. Did you catch all that? For those of you who do drive a stick shift, the video warns that this can be risky and/or dangerous, so think carefully before attempting. For the rest of you, feel free to satisfy your curiosity.

Our demonstrator starts with a dead battery, a rope and sturdy jack. To get started, the front wheel is suspended with the jack. It gets hoisted up a few inches off the pavement. He puts the car in 3rd gear, and we’re assuming he applied the emergency brake. The entire rope is wrapped tightly around the tire, as if it were a yo-yo. There is just enough slack left to grip the end of the rope with both hands.

Image of man with stick shift.Shake the Future
He pulls the rope. It’s not a short, easy pull, but one like Popeye or Triple H would do. Besides the wheel spinning with some oomph, the other thing that happens is that the engine turns over. Should you get in a pickle and decide to try this, you must do a Shake the Future dance if you get lucky and this works.

Just like the guy in the video, I don’t know anything about a car’s mechanisms, therefore you won’t get a scientific rundown on how the wheel bone is connected to the engine bone, etc. Instead, you can watch the video to see how this is done, frame by frame. Whether you choose to keep a rope in your trunk is up to you, but as our experimenter explains, be cautious about using this approach.

With over 4,000,000 YouTube hits on this one, folks are interested in Shake the Future’s battery revival method. This one certainly falls under the categories of DIY, cheap, and unusual techniques. So, all you manual transmission drivers, what’s your take on this battery hack? If you were caught in an emergency, would you try to spark it back up on flat terrain? Tell us in the comments!