Jump-starting your car involves using the battery of another vehicle to crank up your engine. If your car is making a startup noise when you turn the key in the ignition but do not fully engage, the battery may need an extra boost. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to jump-start a car.
Most of us spend a significant amount of time in our cars, whether it’s commuting or running errands, or simply enjoying the road. But many of us don’t know the basics of vehicle maintenance or repair. With a little do-it-yourself spirit and a few basic tips, you can learn how to do almost anything on a car.
How To Jump Start a Car?
If you’re lucky (and take proper care of your car), you could go years without having to jumpstart a vehicle. If you’re ever in the position of needing to jump your own car, you’ll be happy you know how to do it.
Not knowing could how could leave you stranded for hours. Don’t let this critical skill be forgotten.
- Park: Park the cars close to one another, without touching. Make sure both vehicles are completely off.
- Prep: Pop the hoods, and locate the batteries. Make sure the jumper cables are unwound and untangled.
- Attach: Hook the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Then, attach the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery. Clamp the black (-) to the negative terminal of the working battery. Finally, attach the remaining black (-) to an unpainted metal surface of the dead car.
- Start ‘er up: Start the working car. Start the dead car.
- Remove: Remove the cables in the reverse order you attached them.
- Let ‘er run: Let the revived car engine run for several minutes at least or drive for at least 15 minutes if possible.
If the car won’t start, check your connections and try again.
How Long Does It Take to Jump a Car?
When your car won’t start, and you’re in a rush, it’s good to know how long it takes to jump a car. You need a second car to boost a battery with jumper cables properly. First, you’ll have to pop open the hood, connect the cables correctly, and then start the good car.
As a rule of thumb, it’s good to wait about two minutes with the car running, letting the power flow through. Then, after two minutes, try and start your vehicle to see if it starts working.
If it starts right up, don’t take off immediately; let your car keep running for at least two minutes, giving your battery enough time to juice up.
So, following that guide, the entire process should take about 5-minutes from connecting to charging. If you drive, park, and your battery won’t restart again, you may have a more severe issue.
You may need to either replace your battery or another car part interfering with your car’s battery.
Related Article: How to Charge Car Battery?
What do you need to jump a car?
Before you can recharge and get going, you need a few basics:
- Jumper cables
- Power source either a portable jump battery (a jump box) or another vehicle
Jumper cables are long, thickly insulated cables with toothed clips on one or both ends. These clips are called alligator clips (because they look like alligator heads). The clips are differentiated by color, usually red and black to indicate positive and negative polarity. The red clip is positive. The black clip is negative.
Jump boxes Portable batteries that can be used to start a vehicle without being connected to another vehicle are supplied with special jump cables. These cables connect the jump battery directly to the dead car battery. A jump box is typically used for roadside assistance when assisting blocked vehicles.
What you need to know about car batteries to jump-start a car
Car batteries have two larger nobs, called terminals. There is a positive and a negative connection. Each should be clearly labeled. Connecting wires to the right terminal are important to complete the circuit and provide power to the dead battery.
- Positive terminal: The positive pole is usually the larger of the two terminals. It is marked with “POS” or “+”. It connects to the positive terminal on the jumper wire, which is usually red.
- Negative terminal: The negative pole of the battery is usually marked with “NEG” or “-“. This will be appended to the other clip, which is usually black.
Cautions when jump-starting a car:
- Read your owner’s manual, first. Your manufacturer may advise against jump starting a vehicle due to sensitive electronic circuitry.
- Don’t try to jump a frozen battery.
- Do NOT jump a battery that is cracked or leaking. This is very dangerous. You will need to purchase a new battery at this point, so call a tow truck or a friend that can help you out.
- Ensure that the battery isn’t dry. Check individual cells for fluid levels and add water accordingly. Check your owner’s manual for details and warnings.
- If there is corrosion (white or greenish powdery stuff) on the battery, try to clean it off with a wire brush, aluminum foil or anything but your hand as the chemicals can be damaging to your skin. Be sure you cover your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling the dust as it is a lung irritant.
- Once you begin the process of hooking the cables up NEVER allow any of the hook-up clamps to touch. Each person should hold an end of the cables and keep the two clips separate (one to each hand is a good idea).
Step-By-Step Guide: How to Jump a Car?
- Start by protecting your clothes and your hands with protective clothing or a blanket on the ground and gloves.
- Open the hood to your car. Sometimes when you “pop” the hood, you need to also release the latch. This can be found by running your fingers under the slightly open hood until you find a little lever to push on. Use the stick to prop the hood open while you work.
- Locate the battery. If you aren’t sure where to find the battery, your owner’s manual should provide instructions or a picture to guide you.
- Ensure that the donor car is parked close to yours and that it is turned off before you start.
- On the battery there are two post “terminals”. One is positive (+), usually red and one is negative (-), usually black.
- The positive terminal post (+ or red) should have a plastic cover that opens easily to expose the metal beneath. Keep in mind that when you begin to attach the cables to each component, you want it to be as solid as possible to ensure a safe and complete connection.
- Take a POSITIVE (red) clamp and attach it to the dead car’s positive terminal post (+ or red). The clamps should have metal teeth that help them grip the terminal post.
- Take the POSITIVE (red) clamp at the opposite end of the cables and attach it to the positive terminal post (+ or red) of the good, working battery. Their car should still be off!
- Next, take the NEGATIVE (black) clamp on that end and attach to the (-) terminal of the good, working battery.
- Take the final NEGATIVE (black) clamp and attach it to a non-painted metal surface on the main engine block of the car that is being jump-started (yours). A good metal surface could be a metal nut or bolt and farther away from the battery is better to allow for solid grounding.
- At this point, once all of the connections have been secured, start the donor car. After a few minutes, try to start your car. If your car won’t start, then wait several more minutes and try again.
- If this doesn’t work, stop. Working in reverse order, unhook each of the clamps and thank the owner of the donor car. It’s time to call for professional help.
- When the dead car is started, check the battery light on the instrument panel. If it is on, this may mean that the alternator is not charging the battery and the driver should not run the vehicle very long. If this is the case, call for professional help.
- If your car does start, let it run for a few minutes to help charge the battery further.
- Unhook the clamps in the reverse order of how you put them on. Be sure to drive your car for about 30 minutes before stopping again so the battery can continue to charge. Otherwise, you might need another jump start.
For the true do-it-yourselfer, look into a Jump Start Box or Jump n’ Carry. These small boxes run about $150, but they can provide you with a solo jump-start regardless of where you are. Be sure to read the details and your owner’s manual to ensure this is an option for your vehicle.
how to jump a car with jumper cables?
To safely jump a start, follow these steps:
- Take out your jumper cables: It is a good idea to buy a set of jumper cables and store them in the trunk compartment. If you don’t have jumper cables.
- Put both vehicles in Park or Neutral and turn off the ignition in both vehicles. And also apply both parking brakes.
- Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery. It has “POS” or “+” or it is larger than the negative terminal.
- Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other car.
- Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the other battery.
- Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery. Use one of the metal struts that holds the hood open. The cables should look like this as per shown image.
- Start the working vehicle and let the engine run for a few minutes.
- Try to start your vehicle. If it doesn’t start, make sure the cables are connected properly and let the Good Samaritan run his engine for five minutes. Then try starting your car again. If it still does not start, your battery may be of no help.
After the car is jump-started:
Unclip the clips in the reverse order you connected them:
- The black clip on the unpainted metal
- The black clip from the negative terminal
- Red clip from the donor car
- Red clip from the dead car’s battery
Allow the car to run without stopping for a minimum of 10-20 minutes.
What if the car doesn’t start after the jump start?
If the dead car doesn’t start after a few minutes of being powered then:
- Check the connections and repeat letting the car giving the jump run.
- Try starting the car again.
- If the car does not start after several attempts, the battery may be too far gone to be jump started.
How do you jump a car?
How to jump-start a car:
- Park. Park the cars close to one another, without touching.
- Prep. Pop the hoods, and locate the batteries.
- Attach. Hook the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
- Start ‘er up. Start the working car.
- Remove: Remove the cables in the reverse order you attached them.
- Let ‘er run.
When jumping a car which cable goes on first?
Remember, when connecting the positive cables to the batteries, you should always start by connecting the dead battery first. If you feed energy into the cables before they are connected to your battery, you can cause a safety hazard.
What happens if you disconnect the positive terminal first?
It’s important to disconnect the negative side of the battery first, otherwise, you can cause an electrical short if the positive is removed first.
Do you remove jumper cables while car is running?
Disconnect the black jumper cables first, then disconnect the red ones. Once the dead car is running, you may disconnect the jumper cables, starting with the black, negative cable clamps. Do not let the clamps touch each other while any part of the cables is still attached to a car.
Why don’t you connect the negative when jumping a car?
Never connect the black cable to the negative (–) terminal on your dead battery. This is very dangerous, as it could result in an explosion.
How long should I run my car after a jump start?
After getting a jump, you should leave your car running for at least 30 minutes. For more reliable results, drive it around instead of letting it idle. This should fully charge the battery so it won’t die on you again.
How do I start a dead battery without another car?
- Direct your friends to the rear of the car and have them get ready to push.
- Hop into the driver’s seat and turn the ignition to “on.”
- With the parking brake still engaged, push the clutch in and shift to second gear.
- Press the brake pedal and release the parking brake.
What happens if you connect negative first?
If you connect negative first, there are chances of short-circuiting. Note that, Red cable is positive (+) and the Black cable is negative (-). Never connect the red cable to the negative battery terminal. Connect the red cable to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal.
Do you hook up red or black first?
“Positive first, then negative. When disconnecting the cables from the old battery, disconnect the negative first, then the positive. Connect the new battery in the reverse order, positive than negative.”
Can you jump a car in the rain?
Experts say jump-starting a car in the rain is safe because the voltage of a vehicle is not high enough. “The water is not an issue as long as you do it in the right sequence,” Spring said. “Drivers need to make sure there is no water dripping on the cables.”
How long does it take to jump a car?
Jumpstarting your car should only take about 5 minutes once you have the cables hooked up. If it won’t start after leaving it connected for 5 minutes, your battery’s either dead or being jumped wrong.
Should I wear gloves when changing car battery?
While not necessary to remove the battery, rubber gloves can add a small degree of safety when dealing with electricity. Never connect any cables that shouldn’t be connected. That means avoid swapping the wrong battery cables and battery posts or putting the cables anywhere they’re not supposed to go.
What happens if jumper cables touch each other?
Once jumper cables are connected to a battery, consider them live; touching two of the clips together or letting them touch the ground may cause a shower of dangerous sparks and can also be bad for the battery. You can also shock yourself or someone else pretty easily if you’re not careful.
Can a battery drain with the negative cable disconnected?
Be safe: always disconnect negative first. Disconnected either terminal will prevent drain, as stated already. A battery tender is another safe way to maintain the battery.
Is it bad to jump-start a car?
Jump-starting a car is safe provided that the battery isn’t damaged and the correct steps to jump-start a vehicle are followed. However, in a case of a defective battery, there’s a potential fire risk as you attach the jumper cables. Also, touching the positive and negative leads together is another fire risk.
How do you jump-start a car without another car?
To jump-start your car with only one vehicle, you’ll need a jump starter box or a battery jump starter pack if you have automatic transmission. On the other hand, cars with manual transmission will require a push-start by a few friends to get the engine running without battery power on the vehicle.
Can a car battery be “too dead” to jump-start?
No, a car battery can’t be too dead to jump-start. If your vehicle doesn’t respond to the jump-start, you may be dealing with another mechanical issue, such as a broken alternator, or you need a new battery.
How long does it take to jump-start a car?
A jump-start usually takes about two minutes and up to five minutes with colder weather. After successfully starting the car, you need to drive for at least 15 minutes to recharge the battery.
How to jump a car off?
Here’s what to do!
- Step 1 – Get the Vehicles Ready.
- Step 2 – Attach the Jumper Cables.
- Step 3 – Start the Donor Vehicle.
- Step 4 – Test the Dead Battery.
- Step 5 – Start the Dead Car.
- Step 6 – Unclip the Jumper Cables.
- Protect the donor battery.
How do you jump a dead battery without cables?
Can you jump-start a car through the cigarette lighter?
The simplest fact is that, no, you can’t jump-start a car through the cigarette lighter socket — at least not according to the traditional definition of the term.
How do you jump a car without a negative terminal?
If you can’t access the negative terminal on the dead car, it’s not a problem. In fact, when jump-starting a vehicle, experts recommend connecting the negative clamp to a metal ground instead of the negative terminal of the dead battery. Use an unpainted metal part of the engine block.