While certainly not the worst car problem to have, it’s always a bummer to find out that your car battery has died. Fortunately, you can often get your ride back up and running by jump-starting the engine!
This is one of the most useful car DIYs to know because at some point, you’ll either need to jump off your own car, or you’ll be able to help someone else jump theirs. There’s no need to wait for roadside assistance if you can assist yourself. Keep reading to learn how to jump-start a car safely, and remember that you can find jumper cables, batteries, and much more at U Wrench It, your local source for used auto parts in Atlanta.
How to Jump-Start a Car
Get your jumper cables ready.
You should always keep a set of jumper cables in your trunk. Fortunately, if you don’t have them for whatever reason, most people do. If you’re able to get the help of a neighbor, friend, or just a really nice stranger in a parking lot, they’ll likely be willing to loan you their cables and give you a jump.
Park the assisting vehicle near enough that the jumper cables can reach from one car’s battery to the other’s. Make sure both cars are in Park and turn off both ignitions, then pop the hoods and secure them in the open position.
Attach the jumper cables.
- On one end of the cables, clamp the red clip onto the positive terminal of your battery. You’ll be able to identify the positive terminal either by its size (larger in comparison to the negative terminal) or it will be labeled with “POS” or a “+” sign.
- Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal on the other vehicle, then attach the black clip to its negative terminal.
- Go back to your vehicle and attach the remaining black clip to an unpainted metal surface away from your battery. Again, DO NOT ATTACH A BLACK CLIP TO THE NEGATIVE TERMINAL OF THE DEAD BATTERY. Doing so can actually cause the dead battery to explode, which will definitely take your experience from “minor annoyance,” to “Someone call 911!”
You’ll need to ground the black clip by attaching it to an area on the engine block or chassis well away from the battery.
Charge the battery.
Once your jumper cables are connected, turn on the operational vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. This will give the dead battery some time to charge up.
Start your dead car and keep it running. If it really was a battery issue that made your car not start, running your car for at least 30 minutes will charge the battery back up. If the jump-start doesn’t work, you may have another issue, which can range from minor (dirty battery terminals) to more serious (alternator problems).
Finally, remove the jumper cables in the reverse order that you initially put them on. (So this time, you would unclamp the black grounded clip from your (recipient) car, the black clip from the power source car, the red clip from the power source car, and then the red clip from your (recipient) car.