How do I jump start my car?
We’ve all experienced it, you jump in your car, turn the key and nothing happens. So what do we do next? Most people will call a tow truck and end up having to pay for towing to get their vehicle to a shop just to find out the battery was dead. Chances are the vehicle could have been jump started and driven to a shop (provided the charging system is working normally), and avoiding a towing bill. Jump starting a car can be an intimidating process but once you understand how to do it, its simple to remember. So lets discuss how to safely jump start a car with a dead battery.
There are some safety concerns that must be kept in mind not only for the vehicle that is being jump started, but also for you. After all were playing with electricity when jump starting a car and when done properly there is a low safety risk as long as these safety tips are followed.
- Always attach the positive (RED) cable to the positive terminal on the battery first.
- Never allow the red and black jumper cable clamps to touch each other.
- Make sure cables are routed in such a way they won’t touch other parts of the vehicle.
- Never touch the positive (RED) and negative (BLACK) cable clamps with your hands at the same time.
If these safety tips & instructions are not followed there is a chance of damaging electrical components that are on either vehicle or possible shock to yourself.
Two different ways to jump start a car:
Now that we have discussed proper safety when jump starting, lets talk about the ways a vehicle can be jump started. The typical way to jump start a car is with jumper cables. Jumper cables are two long cables with clamps on either end of them usually colored red and black to indicate positive and negative sides. However with the advancement of technology, we now have the ability to jump vehicles with an auxiliary power box or jumper box. We will discuss how to jump start a vehicle using either jumper cables or the jumper box.
How to jump start a car with jumper cables?
In order to use jumper cables, you will need a set of jumper cables and a vehicle that will start normally. For our example the vehicle that we will be using to jump the vehicle with the dead battery will be Car A, and the vehicle with the dead battery will be Car B.
- Position Car A in front of Car B.
- Install the red handled clamp onto the positive battery terminal of Car A, without letting the black clamp touch anything metal on the car. The positive battery terminal is indicated by a + sign on the battery itself, and is usually wrapped in a red insulator indicating it is a positive connection.
- Then install the red jumper clamp onto Car B’s positive battery terminal. Again, don’t let the black clamp touch anything metal on either vehicle.
- Now we can install the black clamp onto Car A’s negative battery terminal. Indicated by a – sign on the battery.
- Now Car A can be started.
- After starting Car A, install the black clamp on to the negative terminal of Car B. There may be some slight sparking that occurs when installing the black clamp onto Car B, this is normal because we are now completing the electrical circuit.
- Now that both battery systems have been hooked up in series with each other allow Car A to run for about 2-3 minutes to charge Car B’s battery.
- After waiting Car B is now ready to start.
Removing Jumper Cables:
To remove the jumper cables its just as simple, only in reverse of how the cables were installed. After getting the dead car started the steps below will explain how to remove the cables.
- Remove the black negative clamp from Car B.
- Remove the black negative clamp from Car A.
- Remove the red positive clamp from Car B.
- Remove the red positive clamp from Car A.
Now that cables are removed allow Car B to run for at least 5 minutes before driving. If the car with the dead battery wont stay running when the jumper cables are disconnected its usually an indicator that there is something wrong with the charging system. At this point if the vehicle wont stay running on its own its an indication of a deeper electrical issue and its time to call a tow truck.
How to Jump Start using a Jumper Pack:
Using a jumper pack is much simpler than using another vehicle to jump start the dead car.
- Install the jumper cable attachment into the jumper pack if cables are not already installed.
- Install the positive red handled jumper clamp on to the positive terminal of the battery indicated by the + sign on the battery.
- Install the negative black handled jumper cable on to the negative side of the battery indicated by the – sign on the battery.
- If the jumper pack has a power button turn the jumper pack on.
- Start the vehicle.
Now that the vehicle is running the Jumper pack can be easily removed, just make sure the Red and Black handled claps don’t contact each other during removal.
Jumper pack removal:
- Remove the black handled negative clamp from the battery.
- Remove the red handled positive clamp from the battery.
- Uninstall the clamps from the battery pack if possible, and turn off jumper pack if a power button is present.
Now that the jumper pack has been removed allow the car to run for at least 5 minutes before driving. If the car with the dead battery won’t stay running when the jumper cables are disconnected its usually an indicator that there is something wrong with the charging system. At this point if the vehicle won’t stay running on its own its an indication of a deeper electrical issue and it’s time to call a tow truck.
If you followed all the steps and your vehicle stayed running after the 5 minute run period, your car has been successfully jump started! Typically batteries last 3 to 4 years on average, but when a battery is drained to the point that it won’t start your vehicle is an indicator the battery may be starting to fail. It is recommended that after getting your car jump started the battery should be tested to ensure that this problem won’t happen again. At Dickerson Automotive we use state of the art equipment to test your battery. This tester will indicate to us whether or not your battery is in need of a recharge or if it should be replaced. If the battery is just in need of a recharge we have multiple battery chargers to recharge your battery and get you back on the road! If your battery needs to be replaced we use top of the line batteries that are delivered quickly! If you have any questions about how to jump start your vehicle or need suggestions on what Jumper Packs and Jumper Cables we recommend give us a call!