Hearing the sound of your silence when attempting to start your car is always disheartening. Realizing that your car battery is dead usually provokes a mixture of disgust and shock for most drivers. The good news is that jumping car is not a difficult task, so long as you know the basics. The following is a quick guide to help you get your car running and back on the road without delay.
Prepare To Jump Your Car
It would be nice if you never had to jump your car, but almost everyone will at some point. Even new cars are prone to dead batteries, so being prepared by keeping jump cables in your trunk is a good idea for all car owners. It can also help you aid other motorists if the need arises. Tossing in a printout like this that explains how to jump a car may also help you out so you don't skip any vital steps.
What Should I Check Before Jumping a Car?
Before you get out any cables, make sure that your car is a good match with the one that you need to jump, or you plan on getting a jump from. You need to ensure that both batteries are the same voltage and have a negative ground. If you are unsure what the batteries are, you can find the information in the car’s owner manual. As a helpful tip, most car batteries are 12 volts.
Stay Safe While Jumping Your Car
It is possible to be injured while jumping your car, even though it is a fairly routine car procedure. For this reason, it is important never to get too lazy about it and always keep some basic safety rules in mind. First of all, while the vehicles need to be close to each other for the jump, they should never be touching. This includes an open car door. Second, the ignition switch on both cars and all lights should be off before connecting the jumping cables. Finally, never attempt to jump a frozen battery because it can actually explode causing serious damage.
Identify the Negative and Positive Terminals
For a jump to be effective, and for your own safety, you need to make sure you identify the positive and negative terminals of both batteries. Leave yourself plenty of room so that you can comfortably clamp the cables onto the terminals while you are looking at the battery and setting up for the jump. In most cases, the positive terminal will be connected to the charging system of the car with a red cable and a plus sign labeled on or near it. On the other hand, the negative terminal leads to the vehicle engine and will have a minus sign located somewhere around it.
Place the Jumper Cables on the Weak Battery
Now that you are prepared and ready to jump your car, you want to start with the weak battery. Take the positive cable and connect it to the positive terminal of the battery that needs the charge. Then pick up the negative cable and clamp it onto a clean engine part such as a bracket or bolt head. Do not place it any moving parts. While doing this, make sure that the other ends of the cables do not touch the car’s engine or body or you could end up getting shocked.
Never Place a Negative Cable onto the Weak Battery
Some people will swear that you simply place the cables negative to negative and positive to positive on both cars. However, doing this with the weak battery can actually be very dangerous. Even though it may work sometimes, it can cause hydrogen gas above the battery to ignite if you clamp the negative cable to the negative terminal of the weak battery. Thus, you should always make sure to attach the negative cable to another engine part on the car with the weak battery.
Place the Jumper Cables on the Positive Battery
Now repeat the same process, but this time connect the positive cable to the positive terminal of the battery you are using for the jump. Then connect the negative cable to the negative terminal of the good battery. As you are doing this, make sure that the cables don’t touch anything liquid like a puddle on the ground, or the engine of the other car. While it may seem basic, some people are accidentally electrocuted because of simple mishaps like this.
Start the Good Car
You are now ready actually to start the jump. Have the driver of the car with the good battery start their car and let it run for about five minutes. During this time, the weak battery will start charging allowing it to start. After five minutes try to start the car that has the weak battery.
What Do You Do If the Car Doesn’t Start?
If the car does not start after five minutes, then turn off both cars and recheck the clamps on the jumper cables. Once you are sure they are properly in place then go ahead and repeat the process and attempt to jump the car again. Sometimes it will take a couple attempts for the weak battery to get enough charge to turnover. When the car does finally start, wait about 20 seconds to make sure that there is enough charge that the car is not going to simply stall out.
Disconnect the Cables and Get on Your Way
At this point, you are ready to drive away, but before you can you need to disconnect the cables. To do so, start with the negative cables. Disconnect the negative cable from the car you jumped and then take the negative off the car that you used to jump. Then take off the positive cable from the car that you used to jump, and then take off the positive cable from the weak battery. While doing this, be careful to make sure that the cables to do touch a grounded part of either car.