Left your glove box open on accident again? You were in a rush and left your lights on while at work? We’ve all been there. A dead car battery happens to us all at least once in our life. Let’s discuss how to safely jump start your car battery.
However, thankfully it’s not a big deal and quite an easy fix. That is if you know what you’re doing! You just need a pair of jumper cables or a buddy who has some, as well as a car with a working battery.
Once you have found a buddy with a working battery and have a pair of jumper cables you’re ready to go. We do suggest keeping a pair of jumper cables and some protective eyewear in your trunk, so you’re ready in the case that your battery ever dies.
So let’s get to it. What should you do if you think your battery is dead? First, let’s make sure it is actually your battery. At this point you’ve tried to start your car, however have had no luck. Listen to the noise the car makes, as you attempt to start it. Do you hear nothing? A faint clicking noise? Or perhaps you hear the engine trying to click over. If this is the case then you are most likely experiencing battery issues.
What should you do now? Find a pair of working jumper cables. As we mentioned, it’s best to keep a pair in your trunk. You never know when you or a friend might need them. Pro tip: not all jumper cables are built the same. They come in different lengths and gauges. Longer cables can be more handy, because you never know how much space you’ll have to cover to jump your car. Gauges refer to the power of the cables. A lower gauge will provide more power, the standard gauge level is six.
If you want to prepare even more, it is best to get a portable power unit or jumper pack. We say this because using jumper cables may cause computer issues, especially with newer cars. Also if you have this on hand, you don’t need a second car and can jump start your car battery yourself. However, even if you have a portable power unit, we suggest having a pair of jumper cables ready as well. Just in case.
Now that we have the necessary equipment, let’s talk about safety. Make sure those who are not involved with the jumping of the car are a considerable distance away from the vehicles. When connecting the cables, we recommend wearing a pair of safety glasses, as sparks may come flying your way. Jumper cables carry an electric current so they should not be viewed as just any old tool. As well, check your owners manual to see if there are any additional safety measures mentioned in there before you jump start your car battery.
Now that you have all the necessary equipment and know what to do in terms of safety, let’s talk about next steps. If you are using a pair of jumper cables, you’ll need another car. Get the working car to be as close as possible to the one with a dead battery without touching. Try to have the cars facing hood to hood, and before moving on, make sure both cars are turned off.
Cars are in position? Perfect, let’s get started! Place the jumper cables on the ground and make sure the clamps aren’t touching. From there, open both hoods and locate their batteries. Look at both batteries, locate the positive terminal, which should be red. Now find the negative terminal, which should be black. These will match the colors on the clamps. From there, connect one of the red clamps to the dead battery’s positive post. Then connect the other red clamp to the working battery’s positive post.
Now onto the black clamps. Do not do the same thing, the process will be a little different. Attach the black clamp to the negative post of the good battery. Do not attach the other black clamp to the negative post of the dead battery. Instead take the remaining black clamp and attach it to an unpainted and clean part of the car under the hood. Please don’t overlook this step, attaching the black clamp to the negative post of the dead battery car can lead to your car catching fire.
As well, please note to never touch the positive and negative clamps together when the other ends are connected to a car battery. This will create sparks.
Ready to move on? Great, this is the last step! Once you have connected all the clamps to their correct place, let the working car run for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes have passed, now it’s time to start the car that has the dead battery. In an ideal world this will start the car. However if your engine still won’t start, don’t worry. There are a few reasons it may not have worked.
If your car did not start, try to reposition the negative jumper cable to a different unpainted and clean metal area that is under the hood. Another possible solution is to have the driver of the working vehicle step on the gas so that the engine can give off more amperage. Hopefully, now your car has started! Once your vehicle is back running, disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order that you connected them. Then keep the car that had previously had the dead battery on and running for at least 30 minutes, so the car battery can recharge.
Hopefully by the time you are reading this section, your car is running again! But if you have gone through these steps a few different times and your car still won’t start. It is probably time to replace your battery. Most car batteries have a lifetime of 4 to 6 years. As well, we recommend you call your local mechanic.
We would just like to finish by reminding you to always check your owners manual before starting and to take all proper safety precautions. We hope now you’re back on the open road and driving happy!
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