Kevin: I used to have the same problem with my old car.Did you check the battery?

Mary: Yeah. It was dead in the morning. I called the mechanic to give my car a jump.

Kevin: Well, I guess if you need to "jump-start" your car, you probably need to buy a new battery.

Mary: What are you saying? I bought this battery just a couple of months ago. I don't think I should have a problem with it every second day.

Is it about just pushing a car forward physically or to get help from a battery from another car?

  • 1
    "Every second day" is usually said as "every other day."
    – J.R.
    Aug 20, 2014 at 18:45
  • @J.R. I've actually heard it said both ways in native English conversations, often "second" is used to be more explicit about the frequency of an issue as "other" can be used to imply either explicitly "every second day" or colloquially to imply "frequent but irregular occurrence". That being said I have also come across "every second day" being used to imply "frequent" but to emphasise/exaggerate the frequency. Gotta love English!
    – Troyseph
    Nov 13, 2015 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


It's to get help from another car battery.
One would connect a good battery to the bad one using jumper cables, to make sure the battery is the problem.

I have not heard this term used for pushing a car to start it.

  • If the car doesn't have an automatic transmission, you can push the car, get it rolling down a hill, and then pop the clutch to start it. More here.
    – J.R.
    Aug 20, 2014 at 18:47
  • It's not surprising you've not heard this term used for pushing a car to start it. What J.R. describes above is called bump-starting (from the bump/jolt that happens when you engage the clutch). Aug 20, 2014 at 20:55
  • @FumbleFingers I've never heard the term "bump-starting", I've always heard that called "push-starting" or occasionally "slipping the clutch". Perhaps there's a regional difference? In any case, note this does not work on an automatic transmission.
    – Jay
    Aug 20, 2014 at 21:47
  • Or to be technical, it could be any other source of power. There are some products on the market now that are stand-alone batteries you can carry around to jump-start your own or someone else's car. I've bought several and none of them hold a charge for more than a month or so, making them pretty useless, but it's a great idea if they can get the technology to work. I have a more useful gadget than you plug into the wall and then connect to a car to jump-start it. It's not a battery and it doesn't live in another car.
    – Jay
    Aug 20, 2014 at 21:49
  • @Jay: If you live on a hillside and have a car with a dodgy battery, you might bump start it by just rolling down the hill - no push required. I use both about equally often. Mainly depending on whether anyone else has to push or not, but I do think bump can apply regardless, whereas a push usually requires a helper. Aug 20, 2014 at 23:10

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