We’ve all been there: you’re running late for an important event, and need to get on the road ASAP. But when you turn your key over to start the engine, all you hear is that sickening sound: click-click-click-click, and then silence. Yes, your car battery has died at the worst possible time.
Fortunately, if you have a pair of jumper cables close at hand and another vehicle nearby, then you may be able to jump your car in a few short minutes and get your schedule back on track. Here is a step-by-step process on how to jump your car:
Step 1: Park the Second Vehicle Within Range of Your Car Battery
Most jumper cables only go so far, with a length that could be anywhere from 12 to 20 feet. That should give you plenty of room to work with, but it’s still a good idea to move the second vehicle as close to your car as possible, so that its battery will be well within range of your battery.
Step 2: Locate and Identify the Battery Terminals
Every car battery has a positive and negative terminal. Both terminals should be clearly marked: the positive terminal will have a “+” sign on it, and is usually covered by a red cap; the negative terminal will have a “-” sign, and is colored black. Correspondingly, your jumper cable’s clamps should be colored red for positive, and black for negative. It’s important to known which terminal is which, because you’ll be temporarily connecting your jumper cable clamps to each car’s terminals.
Step 3: Connect the Cables to the Terminals
During this step, make sure that none of the jump cable clamps touch one another, especially the red and black clamps at either end. There is a specific procedure to connect the jumper cables to both sets of terminals. It goes as follows:
- Connect the red jumper cable at one end to the positive (red) terminal on the dead battery.
- Connect the other red jumper cable to the positive terminal on the second vehicle’s battery.
- While you’re at the second vehicle, connect the black jumper cable on that end to the negative (black) terminal on the second vehicle’s battery.
- 4. Finally, go back to your vehicle. Find an exposed piece of metal that’s part of your car’s body, such as an unpainted bolt that is sticking out. Attach the black jumper cable to this metal surface. Never attach it to your dead battery’s negative terminal, since this may cause sparks to shoot out from your battery. There is even a small chance that your engine will catch on fire!
Step 4: Start Your Engine
Turn on the second vehicle’s engine, and let it idle for about 3 minutes. Then, try to start your car’s engine. If that doesn’t work, let the second vehicle idle for about 10-15 minutes. Try to start your car again. Hopefully your engine will crank up this time; if not, then your battery may be beyond repair, or there may be another major issue with your engine.
Step 5: Disconnect the Cables
Once your car has started, disconnect the cables in this order while ensuring that they do not touch one another:
- Disconnect the black cable from the exposed metal on your car
- Disconnect the red cable from your car battery’s positive terminal
- Disconnect the red cable from the second vehicle’s positive terminal
- Disconnect the black cable from the second vehicle’s negative terminal
It can be frustrating when your car doesn’t start, but by following the above steps you may be able to jump-start it without too much hassle. Of course, it your car doesn’t start on a regular basis, then there is probably something more going on than a low battery charge. If you need help in determining what the issue may be, reach out to our team of friendly automotive experts at (305) 908-5548, or schedule an appointment here.