A quick and easy guide to help jumpstart your car, or someone else’s.
It’s not a great feeling walking out to your car, loading the groceries and hopping in only to find that nothing happens when you turn the key. Don’t worry, we’ll get you back on the road soon… just follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way home to hear your kids complain about you buying the wrong brand of cereal!
- Jumper Cables. It may seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t keep a pair of jumper cables in their car at all times. It may seem like a waste of space, but you’ll be glad you put up with them in the trunk the first time you’re stranded in the parking lot when it’s cold outside.
- Turn off the car and put it in park. This is good practice when dealing with high voltage batteries like car batteries. When dealing with that much power, it’s always safer to minimize the risk by shutting off the engine to cut the flow of electricity. It’s also a good idea to engage the parking brake on both vehicles as well.
- Attach the cables. Now is when you want to be sure you are paying attention to the order you are attaching the cables to the batteries.
- Attach the red clip to the positive terminal of the DEAD BATTERY
- Attach the other end of the red clip to the positive terminal of the working car’s battery
- Now attach the black clip to the negative terminal of the working car’s battery
- Finally, attach the other end of the black clip to any unpainted metal surface (that isn’t near the battery) on the DEAD CAR
- Start the working car’s engine. Now that all of the connections are in place, it’s safe to start the car who is giving you a jump. It’s good to let the car run for a few minutes to charge the other battery a little before you try and start the car.
- Try starting the other car. After a couple minutes, try starting the other car. If it is getting close without quite making it, try pressing the gas a little bit on the running car while you attempt to start the dead car. If it still isn’t working, let the battery charge for a few more minutes before starting it again.
- Drive the car. Yes, I know…it sounds dumb. After you get your car started, you should drive it around for about 10 min, or at the very least keep the engine running for 10-15 min to let the battery charge up.
Now you’re all set! If your car starts up again next time without any issues, then you probably just left a light on or something that drained the battery. However, if the car doesn’t start the next time you try it, you may need to buy a new battery. Either way, I bet you’ll always keep a pair of jumper cables on you for times like these!
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.