How to Jump Start a Car

How to Jump Start a Car in 9 Steps

If you’re stranded on the side of the road with a dead battery. And you have a question How to Jump Start a Car? The answer is There are plenty of ways to jump-start your car, and many of them don’t require another person. Of course, if you have someone to help you, that makes the process much easier and faster, but you can still get things going by yourself with the right tools and some know-how. Read on to learn how to jump-start your car in 10 simple steps that even beginners can follow.

Understand the Basic Concept

If you’re unfamiliar with how jump-starting works, it may seem intimidating at first. It doesn’t have to be. The concept is pretty straightforward: We need a way to transfer energy from one battery (the car with a non-working battery) into another battery (our functional car). To do that, we need some kind of physical connection between both batteries—hence jumper cables. Typically, cars will already have enough contact through their clamps and posts for us to pass energy from one car’s battery into another. However, if your vehicle is new or hasn’t been maintained properly, sometimes we need to add additional contacts. That’s where an old piece of metal comes in handy. That metal can come in many forms, but most commonly it takes on the form of a coat hanger. Coat hangers are great because they are cheap and can easily connect to both vehicles’ battery terminals without much effort. They also provide more surface area than our hands alone, so they increase our chances of making an effective connection with both vehicles’ terminals.

Step 1: Check your cables

Before you try to jump-start your car, be sure that both of your jumper cables are fully functional. Test them on another car or truck by attaching each cable’s clamps to its battery terminals. If you don’t get any lights, it could mean that one of your cables is faulty, so replace it before proceeding. Each end should have a positive (red) and negative (black) terminal with corresponding colors on their respective cable ends. The positive terminal connects with positive and vice versa for negative ends, but if there’s ever any doubt about which side is which, label them before connecting either end.

How to Jump Start a Car

Step 2: Connect The Cables Properly

The positive or red cable is usually marked with a + sign. Connect that end of your jump starter’s red alligator clip to your car battery. Make sure you connect it securely so it doesn’t move or come loose at all. Once connected, touch and hold down on the other end for two seconds with your bare hands.

Step 3: Connect the Other End of the Cable

Now that you’ve got one end of your jumper cable plugged into your car, it’s time to move on to connecting it to your donor vehicle. This means locating and identifying terminals on your donor vehicle. In most vehicles, these will be colored red or black. If you’re unsure about what they are, look for a diagram in your car manual that shows where parts like batteries and starters are located inside your vehicle.

Step 4: Attach Clip-On Terminal To Positive Terminal on Dead Battery

Position one of your heavy-duty jumper cables clips on top of one of your car’s battery positive terminals. If you’re unsure about which terminal is positive, see if your owner’s manual has information about how to differentiate between battery terminals. If not, attach it to one of the large battery posts. Then move on to Step 5.

Step 5: Attach Clip-On Terminal To Ground on Good Battery

Attach one end of your red alligator clip to an unpainted piece of metal on your car (like a bolt) that’s ground. If you can’t find any unpainted metal, then you may have to wrap some electrical tape around something metal until it’s got a thick enough coating of tape on it for your alligator clip to stick securely.

How to Jump Start a Car

Step 6: Turn On The Engine Of The Good Vehicle

Once you have found a working vehicle, it’s time to turn on its engine. Do so and make sure that it’s running before proceeding. If you don’t start your car and you hook up jumper cables incorrectly, there is a risk of getting electrocuted when touching one of the clamps. Make sure your good vehicle is turned on before hooking up cables.

Step 7: Crank Up Dead Vehicle’s Engine Until It Starts (Do Not Let it Idle)

When your car is cranking but not starting, it’s extremely important that you do not let it idle—the battery will drain and further complicate matters. Continue to crank up your dead vehicle until its engine roars to life. If your car doesn’t turn over immediately, don’t keep pushing down on that gas pedal; give it another minute or two before trying again.

Step 8: Get out of Your Vehicle and Remove the Cables, Starting with Dead One First

The vehicle that needs jump-starting is no longer being powered by its own engine, so at some point, you’ll need to remove its battery from service. That’s why it’s best if you start with removing (and labeling) your dead battery first and then move on to your starting battery—leaving yours connected throughout will allow you to return if necessary.

How to Jump Start a Car

Step 9: Get back into Your Vehicle and Start It Up. Drive For Five Minutes.

As your car is starting up, it may stall again. If that happens, just restart it and keep driving for another five minutes. Once you’ve driven it for five minutes, stop and let it sit until you can tow it somewhere or call someone who can jump-start your car. Also know that after you’ve jumped-started your vehicle, you should never drive more than 20 miles (32 km) before having a mechanic inspect your battery and charge system.

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