If you’re lucky and take proper care of your car, you can go years without a jump start on a vehicle. If you’re ever in the position of needing to jump your own car, you’ll be glad you know how. With some knowledge and a few simple steps, it doesn’t take long to jump-start a car. You’ll be back on the road in a few minutes.
For Jump-starting your car, you need to connect the dead battery in your car to a fully charged battery in another vehicle with the help of jumper cables. It’s a good idea to keep a good set of cables in the trunk of your car along with other roadside emergency equipment.
This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to jump-start a car with cables.
How To Jump Start a Car?
1. Position the Booster Vehicle.
Park the cars close to one another, without touching. Make sure both vehicles are completely off and engage the parking brake for safety. They must be close enough to allow the jumper cables to reach the batteries.
Read your owner’s manual first. Your manufacturer may advise against jump-starting a vehicle due to sensitive electronic circuitry.
2. Locate Battery Terminals.
Open both hoods and locate the batteries. If necessary, remove the plastic hood. If you’re not sure where to find the battery, your owner’s manual should have instructions or a picture to guide you.
There are two posts “terminals” on the battery. One is positive (+), usually red, and one is negative (-), usually black. Make sure they are free of corrosion.
If there is corrosion white or greenish powdery substance on the battery, try to remove it with a wire brush, aluminum foil, or something other than your hand as the chemicals can damage your skin.
Don’t try to jump a frozen, dry, cracked, or leaking battery.
When using the jumper cables, always remember that the red clamp connects to the positive (+) terminal and the black clamp connects to the negative (-) terminal.
3. Connect Jumper Cables.
Separate the jumper cables and make sure the ends do not touch each other throughout the jump-starting process.
Here is how to connect jumper cables:
- 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. Their car should still be off!
- Clamp the black (-) to the negative terminal of the working battery.
- Finally, attach the remaining black (-) to an unpainted metal surface or grounding spot under the hood of the dead car.
Some cars have a built-in grounding spot under the hood for this task. Read your owner’s manual for more details.
4. Jump-Start the Car.
Once the cables are connected, start the vehicle with the working battery and let it run for a few minutes.
After a few minutes, try to start your car. If your car won’t start, then wait several more minutes and try again. This may take a few moments while the dead battery pulls energy from the other vehicle.
5. Disconnect Jumper Cables.
If your car does start, let it run for a few minutes to help charge the battery further.
How To Remove Jumper Cables? Disconnect the cables in the reverse order: First, remove the negative cable from the car you jumped, then the negative cable from the car with the good battery. Then remove the positive cable from the car with the good battery (don’t touch a grounded part of either car with the clamp of the positive cable).
Finally, remove the positive cable from the car with the weak battery. Remember, both engines will be running, so work carefully as you remove cables to avoid belts, fans, and other moving parts.
Since all clamps have now been removed, you can roll up the jumper cables and put them into your emergency kit, and close the car’s hood.
6. Drive the Jumped Car.
Be sure to drive your car for about 30 minutes before stopping again so the battery can continue to charge with help of an alternator. Otherwise, you might need another jump start.
If Your Car Won’t Jump Start
What if your car won’t start? It’s time to troubleshoot!
- Do you hear a clicking noise? Your starter may be defective.
- Can your electrical system still be switched on? There may be a problem with the ignition switch, battery, starter motor, or fuse.
- Did your car die instantly after a successful jump? Try again and let your vehicle run long after the jump. This will help your battery charge more fully. Learn how to charge a battery at home follow our this guide.
How Long Does It Take to Jump A Car?
Once you connect the cables, starting your car should only take a few minutes. Like five minutes under normal circumstances and 30 minutes under extreme conditions. To fully charge the battery, you must drive for at least 15 minutes after starting the vehicle. If it doesn’t start five minutes after plugging it in, your battery is either dead or defective.