How to Jump-Start Your Car

There are few things that can stop you in your tracks faster than a dead car battery. Whether you accidentally left your headlights on, the dome light on or a door or the trunk ajar, having your car battery die is a massive inconvenience—which is why it helps to know how to jump-start your car.

While you can charge your car with a battery charger, sometimes your car’s battery may die when you’re out and about. In that case, you’ll need to use someone else’s car to give yours a jump. Here’s how to jump-start your car.

What you’ll need

You should always keep a pair of jumper cables in your car in case of an emergency; you’ll need these to jump-start your car. It’s also helpful to have a copy of the car’s manual in your car, so you can connect the jumper cables in the proper order. Lastly, you’ll need another car with a working battery that has a voltage equal to yours.

A note on safety

Remember that the cables you’ll be connecting are meant to carry electrical current from one battery to another, so they should be treated with great care and hooked up correctly. Because of where the battery is located and the amount of fumes present, you’ll want to avoid creating sparks. If you have any doubts or are unsure, call a professional. Here’s what else you need to know:

  • Park both vehicles next to each other: The two vehicles should be about a foot and a half apart but should not be touching. Put both cars in park.
  • Turn both cars off: Both cars should now be turned off. Set the parking brakes on both so that they don’t roll away, and take out the keys. Put both cables on the ground for now, ensuring that they don’t touch each other.
  • Attach the red cables: Though you should consult your car’s manual before attaching the cables, here’s one way to do it. Pop the hood on both cars, and find the batteries. The terminals should be clearly labeled. You’ll take the red cable (which is usually positive) and clamp it onto the positive terminal of the dead battery, followed by hooking it to the battery that works.
  • Attach the black cables: Then you’ll take the black cable (or the negative cable) and hook it to the working battery’s negative terminal. Finally, take the free end of the black cable, and attach it to an unpainted metal surface on the car. A clean nut on the engine block works. Don’t attach it to the negative terminal of the dead battery.
  • Start the functioning car: You can now start the working vehicle and wait a couple minutes. Depending on the age of the battery and how dead it is, you may need to let the car run for a few minutes.
  • Start the nonfunctioning car: At this point, the dead car should start. If it doesn’t, give the working car a few more minutes to run. Rev the engine of the working car if the dead car won’t start.
  • Disconnect the cables: Remove the black cables first and then the red ones, not letting the cables touch each other.
  • Let the car run: Take a short drive to let the car recharge itself, or let it run for about 15 minutes.

Call for auto service today

If your car battery died, now you know how to jump-start your car. For dead car batteries or any other troubles, give us a call at Pat Doll Automotive LLC.