How to Jump Start your Car
Dead Battery? Jump Starting isn’t too Hard
Regular maintenance is an important part of your responsibility as a car owner because it ensures that your vehicle performs as optimally as possible. However, despite your diligence in keeping your car in tiptop shape, there will come a time when something will go wrong with the vehicle. It doesn’t necessarily have to end up in a total disaster, though. As long as you make it a point to learn a few troubleshooting skills that can help you keep your car running, at least until you are able to get the permanent fix needed.
Because one of the most common issues you might encounter is difficulty or inability of your car to start, one of the most basic troubleshooting skills you need to know as a driver is how to jump start your car. Your vehicle’s tool kit should include a set of jumper cables that you can use for the very purpose of jump starting your car when your battery fails. These are easily stowed under a seat, or in a compartment in the trunk.
Steps on how to Jump Start Your Car
- Get out your jumper cables, and have them ready to hook up. It doesn’t take long to jump start a car, but being prepared is always better.
- Next, call a family member, a friend, classmate or colleague whom you believe is nearest to where you are located, or the one who can get to you the fastest. If there’s no one you can think of, your next best bet is to choose a car to flag down. We say choose because you’ll most likely be flagging down a stranger, and a friendly looking one is certainly more preferable than someone who looks suspicious and untrustworthy in some way.
- Once the car you’ll jump from is there, you need to line up your cars according to where your batteries are located, possibly nose to nose, nose to bumper, or side to side. Not all vehicles have the battery in the same place.
- After proper placement, you will need to put both of your cars into neutral (for a car that has manual transmission) or park (for a car with automatic transmission); put on the parking brakes; then turn off the ignitions.
- Next comes the critical part, meaning, this is something you can’t screw up so you need to make sure you know what you’re doing. Get your jumper cables, make sure the clamps don’t touch each other.
- Clamp one of the red clips to the positive terminal of the working car’s battery (the one with the ‘+’ sign), and clamp the other red clip to the positive terminal of your car’s battery.
- Clamp the black clip to the negative terminal of the other car’s battery (the one with the ‘-‘ sign), and clamp the other end to an unpainted metal part of your car that isn’t close to your battery. This will ensure a safe jump start that won’t cause unintended current to flow or electrical sparks to fly.
- Start the other car, let its engine get up to speed, and then try to start your car. If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t get disheartened. Just allow the other car to recharge your battery for several more minutes before you try to restart your car again. The current will flow from the running vehicle into yours.
- Once your dead car comes alive, don’t turn off your engine! Instead, carefully remove the clips, working your way backward, starting with the black clamps, followed by the red clamps. Remember that for safety reasons, the clamps still can’t come into contact with each other until everything is disconnected.
- After disconnecting the cables, thank your friend or whoever the Good Samaritan who helped you is, and drive around for about 15 – 20 minutes to recharge your battery a bit and make sure it doesn’t die down on you again.
The next day, or as soon as you are able to, take your car to a mechanic to have your battery checked and have it replaced as needed.
Keep in mind also that jump starting will only work if your car isn’t starting because your battery is dead. You’ll know this is the issue if upon turning your car key, your car remains dead silent, or tries to rev but just doesn’t have enough juice to turn over.
On the other hand, if you turn on your ignition and you hear a cranking sound, your problem isn’t a dead battery, and jump starting will not do you any good.
Big Sky Collision Center Wants you to be Safe
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we don’t do mechanical maintenance, we do auto body repair. But we want to ensure that you’re safe on the road! As a part of your yearly maintenance on your car, your mechanic should be checking the battery. When it’s about 5 years old, it’s getting toward the end of its life. Of course leaving your lights on will hasten it’s departure.
Need your vehicle detailed for the summer? Give us a call at 406-259-6328, we offer full auto details to those in Billings at the lowest rates around!