At some point in your life, you’ll go out to your car and find the battery dead, most likely when you’re in a rush or on the road. Jump-starting a car is a lot easier than you may think. All you need is a good set of jumper cables and another car with a working car battery.
The first step is finding someone with a working battery and a set of jumper cables or better yet buy your own set and keep them in your trunk. Troubleshooting, towing and roadside assistance can be an option as well as they can provide you jump start car services.
Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to jump start a car.
Table of Contents
Step #1 Getting Ready
- Line up the hood of the working vehicle as close as possible to the one with a dead battery.
- Make sure they’re not touching.
- Turn on both cars and put on the parking brakes.
- Turn off and unplug anything including electrical systems in either car that runs on the battery like headlamps, radios, air conditioning, and everything plugged into the power outlets like mp3 players or cell phones.
- Inspect everything.
- If either battery is crashed or leaking, do not attach the jumper cables to it the batteries could explode and spray acid all over you. A good battery is required.
- Locate the positive and negative terminals to the batteries.
- Conveniently enough every battery is labeled so you shouldn’t have too much trouble determining which is which.
- If you don’t see the markings it’s probably because the battery terminals are dirty just wipe off any corrosion or battery acid near the terminals with a rag.
Step #2 Connecting The Jumper Cables
You’re ready to connect the cables. here’s an easy way to remember how to connect them. You’re looking for a positive outcome to the situation so you want the highest number of positive connections possible. As for the cables themselves, the positive cable has usually a red clamp and the negative cable has usually a black clamp but not all jumper cables are color-coded the same way. So read the instructions that came with them before you start.
- Hook up and attach the positive cable to the positive battery terminal in the car with the dead car battery of the dead vehicle first.
- Connect the other end of the positive terminal cable to the positive battery terminal in the working car.
- Connect the negative cable to the negative battery terminals of the working car.
- Find a solid metal part of the engine on the dead car to attach the other end of the negative cable to, make sure it’s not a part of the battery, and it’s an unpainted metal surface. It should be a clean shiny metal like a nut on the engine block. If it’s dirty or oily clean it off first.
- When you connect the negative cable don’t worry if there’s a little spark, it’s normal.
Step #3 Starting The Car With The Dead Car Battery
Now that the cables are set up you’re ready to start jumping, first turn on the good car’s engine and let it run for a minute or two before you try to start the dead battery. If you want to check that you have the cable set up correctly, turn on the dome light in a dead car. If it comes on, the cables are right.
Now you can try turning on the ignition switch on the dead car. If the engine sounds like it’s trying to crank but won’t turn over completely or you hear a clicking sound give it a few more minutes and then rev the engine a bit on the good car. Once the engine in the dead car turns over you can remove the cables but be sure to leave the engine running though. It takes a while for the battery to fully recharge.
Step #4 Removing The Cables
When you remove the cables, be careful not to let the clamps touch each other or you could be in for quite a shock. Disconnect the cable clamps in the reverse order that you connected them in. Even though your car is running now you want to keep the engine running for at least 30 minutes so the battery can recharge completely.
A bad alternator can be charged using a charger.
See, jump starting your car in a proper way is a pretty simple task. Just buy a quality set of jumper cables from an auto parts store and keep it in your car and you are good to go. Remember to go to schedule service at the service center. The owner’s manual can be of great help to the motorist as well.