I’m glad I know how to jump start a car! It happened to me!! I took my daughter to her volleyball tournament on a nasty day in February. Our minivan has automatic shut-off on the lights, so under normal circumstances, there is little chance of getting a dead battery.
Except, if the nasty weather makes it just wet and dark enough that you should have your headlights on but, the headlights’ auto-on feature is set so that the lights won’t come on automatically in that light and you have to switch to manual mode to get them to come on!
The wind had to be blowing over 40 mph and it was raining hard. After the tournament was over, we went out to the car and found that the battery was too low to start the car. The sunk and helpless feeling has to be experienced to be believed! Fortunately, our volleyball coach had an SUV and jumper cables nearby. Also, I know how to jump start a car. She was our guardian angel! We hooked up the cables and the car started fine though in the time it took to jump the car, I got more soaked and colder than I can remember getting in February in Virginia!!
What if this happened to you? Do you carry jumper cables with you or maybe even a jump starter? Would you know the proper way to connect the cables to minimize sparking and get a safe and secure connection on both batteries? In other words, do you know how to jump start a car safely? These days it is an angel of a person who will allow you to jump start your car using their vehicle’s battery. With modern electrical systems and on-board computers, you can cause expensive damage to the donor car if you’re not careful. Nothing will be less comforting to your guardian angel if they’re your cables and you don’t know what you’re doing!!
How To Jump Start A Car: The Steps
Follow the steps below to safely and securely jump start a car:
1. Jumper Cables:
Get out your jumper cables that you carry with you at all times… Remember, if you don’t have jumper cables then your guardian angel has to agree to jump start your car and furnish the cables.
2. Battery Location:
You need to determine where the batteries are located on both vehicles. Hopefully, one of them is not in the trunk but, you never know. If they are both under hood, then make sure you know which side of the vehicles both batteries are located…driver side or passenger side. This is important, particularly where you have shorter cables, so that you will easily be able to reach both batteries with the jumper cables.
3. Personal Safety:
There are few situations more fraught with potential disaster than parking two cars facing each other with you standing between them. Make sure both vehicles are properly placed with their batteries as close together as is safe and then make sure the engines of both vehicles are off and they are both in Park and the emergency brake set.
4. Connect First Red Clamp:
5. Connect Other Red Clamp:
Connect the other red clamp to the positive post of the other vehicle.
6. Connect First Black Clamp:
Okay, red is all done. Next black. Go to the guardian angel’s vehicle and connect the black clamp on that end of the cables to the negative (NEG or -) post or terminal of their battery.
7. Connect Second Black Clamp:
Almost there! Now comes the tricky part. You want to connect the black clamp on your end of the cable to an unpainted metal surface under the hood as far from the battery as you can. Why is this tricky? Often times it can be difficult to find an unpainted metal surface under the hood that will provide the proper ground for a good connection. Sometimes you may have to grind the clamp a little on the metal surface to make a good connection. CAUTION: Avoid as much as possible the urge to connect the black clam to your negative (NEG or -) post or terminal!! Why? You will almost always get a spark when connecting the black cable on your end. That spark can ignite highly flammable gases that escape from the battery and cause an explosion. It is rare these days but, still a concern.
8. Try Starting Your Vehicle:
You will know if you have a good connection when you try to start your vehicle. If your car still won’t start, adjust the black cable on your end until the connection is made. Try to start it again. If despite your best efforts and knowing you have a good connection, the car won’t start, with the cables still connected, ask your guardian angel to start their car and run it for approximately 5 minutes. If your vehicle won’t start after that, you may have a battery problem.
9. Keep It Running:
If you’re able to start your car, don’t shut it off right away. You need to run or drive it long enough to allow the alternator enough time to recharge the battery. If after you have given the alternator enough time, the battery still doesn’t have enough charge to start the car on its own, you have a battery problem that needs to be taken care of. This is all part of knowing how to jump start a car safely.
10. Disconnect Cables:
Now you can disconnect the cables, in the reverse order that you connected them.(a) First disconnect your black clamp from the metal of your vehicle.
(b) Next disconnect the black clamp from the other vehicle.
(c) Next disconnect the red clamp from your vehicle.
(d) Finally disconnect the red clamp from the other vehicle.
How to Jump Start a Car
Need to learn more about Jumper Cables? Please check out our article Top 5 Jumper Cables For 2013!
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Be sure and thank your guardian angel profusely as it is a rare person indeed who will take the risk. Now you know how to jump start a car!