How To Jump Start A Car
No matter what type of car you drive, a dead battery is a major bummer and can put a kink in your plans for the day. Knowing what to do will help you stress less and get you back on the road faster.
Before you begin, try to figure out what caused the dead battery. If your battery is completely drained for seemingly no reason at all, you may have to buy and install a new one. But, if you simply left a light on or your power locks wore out your battery, you can use jumper cables and a running car to get it started again.
Ready to get started? Use these simple step-by-step instructions to safely jump start your car:
- Park a running vehicle as close as possible to the car with the dead battery so the jumper cables can reach the batteries in both vehicles.
- Place both cars in park or neutral (neutral is better for cars with manual transmissions) and turn off their ignitions, lights, radio, etc. If you’re in a busy area, turn on your flashers to keep you and others on the road safe.
- Keep the metal ends of the jumper cables away from each other.
- Attach a red clamp to the positive terminal of the dead car’s battery. It will have “POS” or “+” and it could be larger than the other terminal.
- Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the car that still runs.
- Clip the black clamp to the negative terminal on the running car’s battery.
- Then, attach the last black clip to the negative terminal on the dead car’s battery. If your car does not have a negative terminal, attach it to an unpainted metal surface on your car away from the battery.
- Make sure the cables are properly attached to the battery and that they aren’t looping inside the engine area where they could catch on a moving part.
- Start the car with a charged battery, and let it run for a minute or two.
- Try to start the vehicle with the dead battery. If it won’t start after three attempts, wait three minutes and try again. When the car does start, keep it running for 15-30 minutes before turning it off so that your battery has a chance to recharge. If the car won’t start after five minutes, you may have to get a new battery.
- Disconnect the cables in reverse order, starting with the black clamp on the newly started car. Again, be sure the clamps don’t touch each other while they’re connected to a battery.
Note: If the battery you jumped is more than 3 years old, you may want to take it to an auto part store so they can test it and let you know if it’s worth replacing or if you’re good to go for a while longer. In colder regions, it’s likely that you’ll have to replace the battery more often thanks to those chilly temps.
A dead battery is never a pleasant surprise, but follow these steps just once or twice and you’ll be a pro at getting yourself back on the road in no time!