How to Jump Start a Car

How to Jump Start a Car

You may have forgotten to turn off your car’s headlights for some time only to come back and find the battery dead. The car simply won’t respond no matter how many times you turn the ignition key.  This is when you realize the battery is dead.  This is something that can happen to anyone but fortunately, you can bring your car back to life by jump starting it.

Jump-starting a car battery is only possible if you have a Good Samaritan with a working car nearby or if you’re not stranded on a deserted highway with no traffic passing by. The car can only be jump-started by another car so you’ll need to flag down a kind-hearted driver to help you out and get your car working again. Jump-starting a car is quite simple. All you need is a set of jumper cables and another car that is running. It takes less than five minutes.

Initial Preparation

When performing basic maintenance or repair of your car always consider all safety risks. Safety comes first. For a jumpstart, you need proper jumper cables, safety glasses and a running car with a fully charged battery of similar voltage to the dead car’s battery. You may also need a wire brush and gloves.

Park the running car so that the vehicles face each other, a distance of 18 inches apart. Make sure the cars do not touch each other. Both cars should be turned off, keys removed and the parking breaks be engaged to prevent sudden movements. Make sure the headlights, the interior lights and the radio of the car being jumpstarted are switched off before you begin.

Open the hood of both cars and inspect the batteries. If the battery is not in good condition i.e. frozen, leaking cracked or shows signs of damage do not attempt to boost. It may explode. You can check if the electrolyte solution containing sulfuric acid is frozen by removing the detachable vent caps. Also, if you see cracks in the battery’s casing, do not jumpstart.

Make sure the batteries of the two cars have equal voltages then determine the two poles of each battery. Check for the positive (+) and negative (+) signs on the battery. You can easily tell this because the positive terminal often comes with a cover and a clamp.

Attaching Cables

Now begin attaching the jumper cables in a specific order.

  • Using the red positive cable, clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery and attach the other end to the positive terminal of the functioning vehicle’s terminal. Ensure a firm connection by wiggling the clamps.
  • Connect the black cable to the negative terminal of the starting vehicle and the other end to the negative terminal of the dead battery, particularly to its engine block. Also, ensure a solid connection.

Start the Car

When ready, move away from the hoods of the vehicles. Put away cigarettes if you were smoking and ensure you have your safety glasses on. Start the vehicle with the functioning battery. Wait for a few minutes then start the vehicle with the dead battery. If it does not work, wait a little longer then try again. If it fails again, you might need towing services.

Once the dead car is running, disconnect the cables in reverse order starting with the black cable. Always ensure that the clamps do not get in contact with each other while any part of the cable is still attached to the car. Now take a short drive with the jumpstarted car to allow its battery to build up a charge. 

After the jump start is successful, you may need to check if your battery has enough voltage by measuring with a voltmeter. It should read at least 12 volts or otherwise a new battery may be an option. Keep your set of jumpers in your car safe in the event of a similar occurrence.

If your car battery suddenly dies and the engine cannot start, we can help you get back on the road safely. We’ll tow or jumpstart your car wherever you are. We are present in all the big 250 cities in the US. Just choose your city here and call our nearest tow truck service.