Have you ever found yourself stuck in a parking lot with a dead battery? If you've got some jumper cables in your trunk, you might want to flag down the nearest motorist and ask for a quick jump. Jumping a stranger's battery is one of those little acts of human kindness that often goes unremarked, but it's not always the best idea.

Instead, you may want to consider calling a towing company to come out and help you get your car started again. While this takes a little more time and might cost some money, it can also save you from a few potential headaches. Here are just three reasons why you might want to call for help with your jump-start instead of using the first running car you can find.

1. You Can Damage Your Car's Charging System

The typical vehicle charging system includes an alternator, battery, and various associated components. The alternator's role is to keep your battery charged while the battery provides smooth and continuous power to electrical accessories. However, most alternators will overwork themselves if trying to restore a heavily drained battery.

You can minimize the risk of damage by taking precautions, including allowing both vehicles to run for a while after jump-starting. While this can reduce the likelihood of damage, a new alternator will still cost more than calling a tow truck for battery assistance. It's usually better to avoid the risk altogether instead of taking a chance at damaging your car's charging system.

2. It Might Not Work

When you buy a new battery, you have to choose one with sufficient juice to get your car's starter turning. Automotive batteries use cold-cranking amps (CCA) to measure how much energy the battery can supply when you first turn the key. Of course, not every car has the same requirements, which means batteries can vary significantly in size.

Getting a jump from a well-meaning bystander may not get your car going again if there's a significant mismatch between the batteries. Even worse, you may cause damage to the donor car's battery if it's substantially undersized. Calling for help from a roadside assistance company will let you avoid potentially damaging a good samaritan's vehicle.

3. Your Electronics Are Vulnerable

Modern vehicle electronics can also be vulnerable to overvoltage conditions caused by jump-starting. Tow truck drivers carry special charging equipment to avoid these situations, but a quick jump from a passing car won't offer the same protection. While this type of damage isn't common, it can lead to problems with your car's highly-sensitive and costly electronic equipment.

While a dead battery may seem like a problem you can quickly solve yourself, calling for help is usually the safest option. A short visit from a tow truck with correct charging equipment will help get you on your way without risking any damage to your vehicle. If you need a vehicle jump start, reach out to a towing service in your area.