Who hasn’t been in a situation where it would be helpful to know how to jump a car? If you realized you left your car lights on and the battery is now dead, or if you’re helping a friend out, knowing how to jump a car is an important life skill that is guaranteed to come in handy.
Jumping a car might seem complicated, but it’s actually not as difficult as it seems at first glance. In fact, it’s even possible to jump a car in seven simple steps. Here’s exactly how to tackle this in case you’re ever in a predicament.
Before You Begin
There are a few things you should note before you attempt this process. The first thing that you should ensure is that you’re taking the vehicle ignition systems into account. If either vehicle that is partaking in the effort has an electronic ignition system or is a so-called ‘alternatively fueled vehicle,’ using jumper cables can be detrimental and can damage the car.
Voltage also needs to be taken into account. Say you’re helping your friend out and jumping their car. You first need to ensure that the battery on their car has at least as much voltage as your car does. If you hook up the cables on the cars correctly, it won’t matter if your vehicle has negative ground and the other person’s vehicle has positive ground. It also won’t matter if your vehicle has an alternator and the other person’s vehicle has a generator.
It is also important to note that you should take a glance at the owner’s manual before you complete this. Sometimes cars are not recommended for jump starts due to their sensitive circuitry.
In addition to this, you should be sure to never jump a battery that is corroded, cracked, leaking, or visibly damaged in any way. You should also never jump a frozen or dry battery; this could potentially be dangerous.
Finally, you should be careful to never touch the clips together. This is important mainly when they’re connected, but you should be sure to get into the habit of never doing it.
What Do You Need to Jump a Car?
If you’re jumping a car, you’re going to need a one key piece of equipment. It’s a great idea to keep these in your trunk, that way you’re always prepared if something pops up. The key piece of equipment, as you might have guessed, is jumper cables. They’re easy to stash in your car, which means that they don’t take up a lot of room. It’s better to be prepared, so be sure you never leave home without these.
The other thing you’re going to need, if your car is the one being jumped, is another source of power. In some instances, this can be a jump battery, but more often, it’s simply another vehicle.
Now that we’ve covered the important things to be aware of before you attempt to jump a car, and you know what you need to have on hand, let’s get into how to tackle the process itself!
Step One: Prepare the Cars
The first thing that you need to do is put the two cars that are partaking in the jump in park or in neutral. Now, turn the cars’ ignitions off, and ensure that the parking brakes are activated. Once you’ve prepared the cars, you’re ready for the next step of the process.
Step Two: Open the Hood
The next step is fairly self-explanatory; however, if you’re not used to having to open the hood of your car, you might be unsure of how to do it. There should be a lever inside of the car itself that will allow you to do so, but if you’re having difficulty finding it, you can always consult the owner manual of the car.
Step Three: Attach the Clips
The next step in this process is arguably the most important one, so pay attention! You now must attach the clips to the terminals in this order:
Red to dead: Use the red (positive) clip and connect it onto the positive terminal located on the dead car’s battery.
Red to donor: Next, connect the positive red clip to the positive terminal located on the donor battery (which will be on the other car).
Black to donor: Use the black clip to connect to the negative terminal of the car that is donating power.
Black to metal: Next, connect the black clip to the unpainted metal part of the dead car. It will not be directly next to the battery, so you will have to look around for it a little. One of the metal struts that are used to prop the hood open would be an ideal location to place the second negative, black clip.
Once you’ve completed this step, the hard part is out of the way. It’s nearly smooth sailing from here.
Step Four: Start the Donating Car
Turn on the donor car so that it can provide power to the dead battery. Once you’ve done that, idle the car for a few minutes to ensure that the dead battery can muster up enough strength to run on its own afterward. When you’re doing this, you can try to test out the interior light in the car that had the dead battery to gauge if there’s enough power yet.
Step Five: Start the Dead Car
Now, it’s time to start the dead car. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if the jumping was successful, or if something went wrong. The car should startup.
Step Six: Remove the Cables
When you’re removing the jumper cables, you want to be sure that you’re doing so in the reverse order that you put them on.
That means that you’re going to first unclip the black jumper clip from the unpainted metal portion of the car, then the other black clip from the negative terminal. Next comes the red clip from the donating car, and then lastly, the red clip from the battery of the car that was previously dead.
Step Seven: Run the Car for At Least 10-20 Minutes
Once the car has been successfully jumped, it should be left to run for at least 10-20 minutes. The alternative option? Take the car for a 15-minute drive, and it will be in good shape. Be sure that you return your jumper cables to the place in your car that you keep them for next time. Congrats; give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve successfully jumped a car in just seven easy steps.
What if the Car Doesn’t Start?
You’ve completed all the steps. You’re convinced that you did everything correctly. The car still appears to be completely dead and isn’t starting. What gives? If the car with the dead battery doesn’t power up after a few minutes of getting power sent to it, you should complete these steps and then reevaluate. You should also try to consider that it might be a different problem.
- Check the connections of the jump cords. Make sure that they’re placed correctly. And since you’re working with power, be sure that you’re being cautious! Once you’ve done that, you can then repeat the process and give the car a jump. Try to start it again.
- If this does not work after several attempts, that likely means that the battery is too far gone, and needs to be replaced.
What if I Don’t Have a Second Car to Use?
It’s possible to jump a car without using a second vehicle, but if you’re going to do that, there are precautions that you need to know to take.
First, it’s important to know that it can be dangerous to jump-start a car, including if you use a so-called “jump box.” You need to make sure you don’t cross the positive and negative cables or short them out by touching the leads together. Pay close attention to following these rules.
Overall, using a jump box is similar to connecting two cars together and using jumper cables. What you’ll do is connect the positive box to the positive terminal. Be careful, as always! After that, you’ll connect the negative jump box cable to either the engine block or a different ground point.
Next, situate the box in a stable spot in the engine compartment or on the ground if you can. Be sure it’s somewhere that it can’t become detached, or fall, or interfere with engine pulleys or fans.
After you’ve got the box situated, simply try to start the car. Then, disconnect the negative cable and secure it to the jump box, and do the same with the positive jump box cable. Ta-da! Success.
Jumping a car doesn’t have to be difficult, or extremely laborious. Knowing how to tackle this procedure ensures that it’s not only quick but also safe. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to jump a car, now you know how to handle it.
That being said, it’s important to avoid having to jump your car extremely frequently for the sake of the battery. And in attention, you should be taking care of your car’s overall health. A great way to begin tackling that is by using Shine Armor’s Performance Booster Oil Additive.
It’s made in America and can be used to treat any oil-lubricated system with the exception of air conditioning and aircraft. It’s especially effective if you’re using it in a small, two-cycle engine. All you have to do is add the Performance Booster formula to the oil before mixing it in with the fuel.
And of course, be sure to read the rules and regulations in your owners’ manual before you make any car (especially jump-starting!) related decisions. You’ll be back on the road before you know it!