Jumper cables attached to a car battery

How to Jump-Start a Vehicle

Guide on Jump Starting a Dead Car Battery

We’ve all been there, and if you haven’t, you might sometime in the future. You go turn on your vehicle and you find that your battery is dead. So, what do you do? Until you can charge your battery or replace it with a new one, you may need to request the help of another to jump-start your car. If you don’t know how to jump-start a vehicle and you have some cables handy, follow this guide.

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Steps on Jump-Starting a Car with Cables

Two cars hooked up with jumper cables
  1. Double check that both vehicles are powered off. Make sure the booster car is parked close enough to the one with the dead battery so the cables can reach and that you can walk between them. The cables should be thick, not have any tears, and the metal on the ends should be clean.
  2. Before you begin, make sure you take precautions with where the metal ends go. Never let the metal ends dangle as they may come in contact with parts of the engine.
  3. Clamp a positive jumper cable end (red) to the dead battery’s positive terminal. The clamp should “bite” the battery terminal to stay secured and give a strong electrical connection. If there is corrosion on the terminal, twist the jaws until they reach the metal of the terminal. The black cable clamps should not be touching any metal surfaces.
  4. Clamp the other end of the positive jumper cable to the positive battery terminal in the other car. Double check it is the positive terminal before clamping.
  5. Connect the negative cable (black) to negative terminal inside the booster car.
  6. Attach the other end of the negative cable to a clean and unpainted metal surface on the engine of the car with the dead battery. This metal piece should be at minimum several inches away from the dead battery itself.If that vehicle has a remote negative terminal, use that instead. This is to avoid any sparking from occurring.
  7. Double check the connections of each of the cables and ensure that the jumper cables are not close to any moving parts. If everything looks good, start the booster car.
  8. Let the booster car run idle for several minutes to build a charge in the dead battery. Newer car batteries will likely charge faster while older ones may take longer.
  9. Start up the car with the dead battery and let both cars run idle for a few minutes. If it still isn’t starting, there may be a different problem with the vehicle.
  10. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order. Carefully detach the black negative cable from the metal from the car that used to have the dead battery. Have someone hold that cable away as you detach all the others.
  11. Drive your car for at least 20 minutes to charge the battery. If your battery is old, consider stopping by an auto shop to have it tested after you drive it around. There, they can replace your battery if it’s on its last leg.

[ READ MORE: How to Tell If Your Car Battery is Failing ]

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