At some point in time there may be a need for jump starting a car and every driver should be prepared. Jump starting a car is a very easy thing to do. The first lesson to learn is how to recognize a dead battery. The second and most important part of jump starting a car is the proper order and placement of the jumper cables to assure safety. Learn the correct process for jump starting a car and you will never be stuck with a dead battery again.
To jump start a car, you will need:
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight (for night)
- Another working car
- Make sure the battery is actually dead. Turn the key in the ignition. If the engine tries to turn over slowly, then fires up the battery is giving a warning that it is dying. When the key in the ignition is turned and you hear a click or hear nothing, the battery is dead. If the engine turns over and over but never starts and the heater, radio, or windshield wipers still, work chances are the battery is fine and the starter is faulty. In that case, jump starting the car will not help. Determine if the battery is dead before proceeding.
- Position the car. The dead car and the good car should be facing nose to nose with their hoods open leaving. Shut off the engine to the running car.
- Clean the battery. Use a cloth or rag to wipe away road grime or corrosion from both car batteries near the terminals to make is easy to locate the positive (marked with +) and negative (marked with -) terminals. If the marks are not visible, remember the positive terminal is slightly larger than the negative terminal.
- Jumper cables. Jumper cables have four connecters, two red and two black. The red connectors are attached to the positive terminal and the black to the negative terminal or ground.
- Step to Jump Starting a Car. With the engines turned off, connect a red connector to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Connect the other red connector to the positive terminal of the good car battery. Connect one black to the negative terminal of the good battery. Connect the other black end to a solid piece of engine metal (nothing painted) on the dead car. It is normal to see a small spark with this procedure. Note: never place the second black end on the dead battery to avoid a chance of explosion. Start the good engine (all accessories including headlights should be off) and run it for a minute. Start the dead battery car. The engine should start right up. If nothing happens, check that all jumper cables are well connected and try again. If jump starting the dead car is unsuccessful, call for help and replace the battery. Remove the jumper cables in reverse order for safety.
Tips and Warnings:
- The best way to avoid a dead battery is to check it regular signs of a dying battery that include dimming headlights or when the ignition key is turned to the accessories position none of the accessories work like windshield wipers, heater, or the radio.
- There is always a reason for a car battery to go dead. Once the dead car has be jump started, do not shut the car off, and drive it straight to an auto repair shop to get the battery checked out by a professional or to get it replaced. If there is a crack in the battery where fluid is leaking out, do not jump start the battery, replace it immediately.