Every car owner should know how to jump-start a car. As long as you have a good set of jumper cables and know the proper procedure, it’s quick, easy to do, and can bring a battery back to life. Whether you’re restarting your own car (with the assistance of a good Samaritan) or helping someone else get out of a bind, this is essential knowledge for any driver. Always keep jumper cables in your car, and use the tips below to learn how to jump-start a car safely.
How to Jump-Start a Car
Prepare the cars. If your battery is dead, pull out your jumper cables and find a good Samaritan with a car who is willing to help you. You should park your cars near one another, place them in Park (for automatic transmission cars) or Neutral (for manual transmission cars), engage the parking brakes, and shut off both ignitions. Then, open the hoods and locate the battery terminals. If they’re dirty, wipe them off before you begin.
Attach the red clamps. Attach one of your jumper cables’ red clamps to the positive terminal of the dead battery. You should be able to identify it by a “+” symbol or the letters “POS,” but it will also be larger than the other terminal. Then, attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the working car battery. Do not touch the clamps to anything but the appropriate terminal once the first clamp is attached, as they will be transmitting an electrical current.
Warning: Be sure to place the clamps on the right terminals. Accidentally placing them on the wrong terminals can actually cause the battery to blow up! Believe us – we know from experience!
Attach the black clamps. Attach one of the black clamps to the negative terminal of the working car’s battery. Then, attach the second black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the nonworking car that is not near the battery. For example, you could use one of the metal struts that hold the car hood open or a clean nut on the engine block.
Start the working car. Start the car that works and allow the engine to run for a few minutes. Sometimes just a minute or two will be enough, but if the battery has been dead awhile, several minutes may be necessary.
Start your car. Ideally, your car will restart right away. If it does, don’t turn it off! Drive around for 15-30 minutes to recharge your battery. This will probably be a one-time issue, but if it happens again, have your battery checked out. If it can’t hold a charge, it will need to be replaced.
Remove the jumper cables. To disconnect the cables, start by taking off the black clamps. Then remove the red clamps. Do not allow the clamps to touch each other while any of them are attached to a car battery.
If your car doesn’t start, turn off both cars again and check that the cables are properly connected. Start the working car, allow it to run for at least five minutes, and then try to restart your car again. Sometimes revving the engine of the working car will help.
If your car still won’t start, your battery may need more than a jump-start. Other issues are sometimes to blame as well, such as battery corrosion, a faulty alternator, or a broken ignition switch. If you’re located in Springfield, Missouri, or northwest Arkansas, call ASE-certified Seeburg Service Center for help. Our experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly mechanics will work hard to diagnose the issue, prescribe a remedy, and offer a solution. To get started, please contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!