How to Jump Start a Car Battery
It’s happened to all of us. You get in the car, turn the key and hear the dreaded click-click-click. Your battery is dead. Don’t worry, you can be back on the road in no time. Follow these simple tips to jump starting your car quickly and safely.
Always keep jumper cables in your car. As a matter of fact, they are on the list of must haves in any car emergency kit. Jumper cables are reasonably priced, some as low as $10. If you will be buying new ones, it is recommended to get a pair that are at least 20 feet in length and 4 to 6 gauge in size.
Using Another Car
You will need another car that has a fully charged battery to hook up to. Park the other car so the batteries are in reach which typically is front end to front end. If your car is parked in an area where you can’t position the other car front end to front end, position the car where the batteries are as close as possible. In cases like this, you’ll be glad you purchased the extra-long jumper cables. Take care when using jumper cables, it is important to make sure the red and black clamps do not touch. Mishandling can cause a spark or short.
Making the Connection
Before you begin, turn off the car with the good battery. Open the hood of each vehicle and locate the battery. Examine both batteries and make sure you have access to the battery terminals and are familiar with which are positive and negative. The positive should be red and have a + sign on it, the negative should be black and have a – sign on it. If the terminals are dirty, clean them off to ensure a good connection. Connect the jumper cables in the following order:
- Connect one end of the red clamp to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
- Connect the other red clamp to the positive terminal on the charged battery.
- Connect the black clamp to the negative terminal on the good battery.
- Do not connect the black clamp to the negative terminal on the dead battery. Instead connect it to an unpainted metal part of the dead car as far from the battery as possible. This is the safest way to jump start and prevents sparking.
Start the Engine
Start the car with the charged battery. Let it run for a short period of time and then start the car with the dead battery. If it doesn’t start, give it some more time hooked up to the other running vehicle. If it still doesn’t start, you may have another issue and should contact a service center or mechanic. If your jump start was a success and your car is running, remove the cables being sure they do not touch. Keep your vehicle running for a good 20 to 30 minutes to allow the battery to fully charge.
Using a Battery Booster/Jump Starter
If you have a portable battery booster, also called a jump starter, you don’t need another car. Make sure the battery booster is charged and turned off. Remember to use care when handling the cables and do not allow them to touch. Connect the clamps in the following order:
- Connect the red clamp to the positive car battery terminal.
- Connect the black clamp to an unpainted metal part of the vehicle as far from the battery as possible.
Turn on the battery booster. Attempt to start your vehicle. If it does not start on the first try, wait 2-3 minutes in between each attempt. This will allow the battery booster to have maximum power with each attempt. Once your engine is running, turn off the battery booster, remove the black cable, and then remove the red cable. It is a good idea to recharge the battery booster as soon as possible.
There you have it, a few simple steps to get you back on the road. If ever you feel uncomfortable, call a friend, family member or professional for help. To prevent further issues, have your battery checked to make sure it is in good condition and replace if necessary.