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How to Jump Start a Car

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If your car needs to be jump started, calling a professional is the safest and the best way to go. However, if you’ve decided to try it yourself, you need to take the necessary precautions to do it safely.

That’s why 5-Minute Crafts recommends that you thoroughly read this whole article before starting. However bear in mind that it’s better to read this article before you actually get a dead battery, so you’re not stranded at the roadside in an emergency, since the information presented here is merely for informative purposes.

⚠️ Precautions (read this first)

Do:

✅ Make sure the environment is safe before jump-starting the car by removing any dangling clothing like scarfs or ties that could get caught up in the engine. Remove any metal objects like rings, necklaces, etc., so they don’t touch the car.

✅ Stop using the jump leads if they get hot at any point.

Read your owner’s manual before attempting a jumpstart. The owner’s manual should spell out any precautions that must be taken.

Verify the voltage of the battery in the vehicle doing the jumping. If they do not match, serious damage can occur to both vehicles.

Unplug any accessories (like cell phone chargers). Headlights, radios, and turn signals (including hazard lights) should be off. Remember you’ll be using a rescue car to jump-start the one that’s dead, so unplug accessories from this vehicle too.

Don’t:

⛔️ Don’t let naked flames or any type of incendiary device anywhere near the batteries.

⛔️ Don’t use a hybrid or electric car to jump-start another vehicle.

⛔️ Don’t jump-start a battery that looks damaged, is leaking, or that has fluids that are frozen.

⛔️ Don’t use jump leads that are damaged.

⛔️ Don’t lean over the battery of either car.

What you’ll need

  1. pair of high quality clean jumper cables (the clamps should be rust free)
  2. Safety goggles
  3. A wire brush
  4. A pair of rubber work gloves
  5. A rescue vehicle with a fully-charged battery

Instructions

1. Line up both cars.

Park the dead car and the rescue car within easy reach of one another. They have to be close enough for the batteries to be within reach of one another, but make sure the cars DO NOT touch each other.

Keep the handbrakes on and shut off both engines.

2. Connect the positive (+) terminals of the batteries using the red jump lead.

Depending on where the batteries are located, open the hoods or trunks of both cars. Once you’ve located the battery, you’ll notice that each of them has 2 metal terminals: one is marked positive (+), the other negative (-). There are also positive and negative jump leads. The red cable is positive (+).

Use the red cable to connect the positive (+) terminal of the rescue car’s battery to the positive (+) terminal of the dead car’s battery.

  • Note: If the terminals are dirty or have corrosion, use the wire brush to clean them off.

3. Connect the black jump lead to the negative (-) terminal of the rescue car’s battery

Now take the black jump lead, which is the negative (-) cable, and attach it to the negative (-) terminal of the rescue car’s battery. As a reminder, the rescue car is the car whose battery is working properly.

4. Identify a metal ground on the dead vehicle to connect the other clamp of the black jump lead to

Find a metal ground within the vehicle with the dead battery to connect the other side of the black jump lead to. It has to be an unpainted piece of metal on the engine block or on the metal frame of the vehicle. Make sure the metal ground you choose is far away from the flat battery and fuel system.

Keep both engines off and wait for 3 minutes.

⚠️ Never connect the black jump lead to the dead car’s battery as it carries a risk of the battery exploding.

5. Start the rescue car

Start the car with the charged battery. Let it run for about 1 or 2 minutes.

6. Start the dead car and let both cars run

Turn on the engine of the car with the dead battery.

❌ If the car with the dead battery won’t start: wait for a moment and repeat this step. If it still won’t start there’s probably a more serious problem that requires professional help, so it’s better to call for help.

✅ If the car with the dead battery starts: leave both cars to idle, at a fast pace, for around 10 minutes and move on to the next step.

7. Turn off both engines and disconnect the jump leads

Turn off both cars’ engines. Carefully disconnect the jump leads in the reverse order in which you connected them, and make sure the jump leads don’t touch one another or the cars as you remove them.

As a reminder, the order in which you have to remove them is:

  1. Black jump lead (-) from the metal ground
  2. Black jump lead (-) from the negative terminal (-) on the rescue car
  3. Red jump lead (+) from the positive terminal (+) on the rescue car
  4. Red jump lead (+) from the positive terminal (+) on the car that was dead

Pick up your stuff, close the car’s hoods or trunks, and you’re done. Bear in mind that you’ll have to drive normally (not in stop-start traffic) for at least 30 minutes for the battery to fully charge again.

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