Whether you accidentally left your lights on all day, your battery needs replacing, or it’s below zero and you’ve drained the battery trying to get your vehicle to start, it’s likely you’ll need a jump-start at some point in your life. It’s important to take a few steps to protect your safety and to prevent damage to your vehicle.
First, identify where each car’s battery is. In most vehicles, the battery is in the engine compartment, but it may be in the trunk, under the seat, or may be hidden behind a wheel. In cases in which the battery is hard to reach, the manufacturer has often thoughtfully included remote terminals. Check your owner’s manual for the location, if you’re not sure.
Then park the cars close enough together that you’ll be able to connect jumper cables to both cars’ batteries. Be careful, however, that no parts of either car are touching the other. This is important to prevent any flow of electrical current between the vehicles other than through the jumper cables. Both cars should be put into park and powered off to begin the process. Notice again which terminal on each battery is positive, and which is negative. Then, attach the jumper cables to the appropriate places. The positive (red) cable should be attached to the positive terminals on each battery. The negative (black) cable should have one end attached to the negative terminal of the dead battery, and one end grounded.
The safest order to attach the jumper cables is as follows:
Though some may say it’s all right to attach the last negative jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery, this increases the risk of fire or explosion if the jump start doesn’t go as planned. Try to find an unpainted grounding point away from the battery to decrease the potential of sparks igniting any hydrogen gas that could be coming from the battery. Safer options include the car’s chassis, a bolt on the engine, the alternator bracket, or a designated grounding terminal away from the battery.
Next, start the car with the live battery. This will immediately start charging the dead battery. In some cases, the car with the dead battery will be able to be started immediately, but in others it will need some time to charge. Allow the engine to run for a couple of minutes in order to allow electrical current to flow from the working battery to the dead one. Then, attempt to start the car with the dead battery. Turn the key to start and hold for a few seconds, but no longer than that. (Prolonged cranking could overheat and damage the starter motor.) You may want to try this a couple of times. If your jump start was successful, the engine should spring to life. Depending on the cause of your dead battery, you may want to have the car immediately looked at, such as if the charging system is faulty. In other circumstances, your car may be okay after the jump start, and driving the car for a while will help to recharge the battery.
The last step is to disconnect the jumper cables. This should be performed in the reverse order they were connected. Don’t touch the cables to anything else until they’ve all been disconnected, or you risk sending an electrical current somewhere you may not want one!
Thus, it’s best to do this in the following order:
Congrats, you’ve jump-started your vehicle! Be sure to thank the good Samaritan, friend, family member, or neighbor who helped you out by letting you use their live battery!
About Spirit West Motor Carriage
Spirit West Motor Carriage Auto Body Repair is a family-owned and operated company founded in April 1977. We take great pride in teamwork and our commitment to making sure our team receives training on the latest innovative state-of-the-art equipment and collision repair techniques.
We are proud to say our team is family and we treat our customers like family, too. Be assured that your car will receive this treatment, and upon completion of the repairs, you will drive away safe and satisfied!
Give us a call today to see how we can get your car back into shape and back on the road.
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