What if you drain the battery in the remote wilderness?
Using your 12V rear outlet when the engine is off to power electronics, a 12V cooler bag or a 12V heater (for intermittent usage) exposes your battery to drain below cranking voltage. It’s a risk you may be willing to take on the trail but still a silly way to get stranded for good. If it ever happens, you will have three options:
1. Borrow a battery: If you don’t have jumper cables at hand, yes, you can wait for a good Samaritan to show up and beg on your knees to “borrow” his battery. You’re just asking the battery to start your engine, after all. The problem will occur when disconnecting and giving the “borrowed battery” back while the engine and the alternator are still on. Driving your Jeep without a battery is a sure way to supply most of the car’s electrical components with powerful voltage spikes and pulses that could fry vital circuits, diodes, and possibly the alternator itself. That journey back to civilization could cost you thousands of dollars and put your safety at risk. Instead, maybe you should move your Jeep out of sight, ask for a ride to the nearest store, and hitchhike your way back with the new battery.
2. Jumper cables: If you have jumper cables at hand, yes, wait for someone to show up. If your battery is dead and doesn’t recharge at all, there is 99% chance that it still regulates the voltage properly in the electrical circuit. So, you won’t fry anything. Just keep driving with the dead battery without disconnecting it. Of course, the jumper cables option sounds great, but you will still have to rely on a fortuitous encounter. Wandering alone on abandoned and god-forsaken trails is not the best strategy to meet a lot of new people. You could wait for days. Or even until next summer.
3. Push start: If your Jeep JK has manual transmission, you only need to put it into neutral gear and get some speed (10 mph or 16 km/h). Press the clutch, engage the second gear, and release the clutch. The 3.6l Pentastar engine will rotate, fire noisily, and probably start. But here’s the catch: you are alone and don’t have any pusher. You can use your Hi-Lift jack as a come-along with two straps and move your Jeep, foot by foot, until you reach the closest slope. That method is awfully dangerous because you will have to put your Jeep into neutral, push it until the very last moment, and finally jump into it when it starts to get momentum at the top of the slope. If you fail to jump into your Jeep at the last moment, the vehicle will just go down the slope and probably rollover or worse. And if you succeed to jump into your Jeep at the last moment, as we hope, remember that you are jumping into a moving Jeep with no power brakes and no power steering. It’s a dangerous gamble.