If you’re driving an older vehicle, chances are you’ll have to do this at some point – jump start your car’s dead battery. While it may seem easy to those in the know, many of us are left googling what exactly should be done with those mysterious/intimidating jump-start cables when the time comes to use them.
Lucky for you, jump starting a car battery is a pretty simple procedure that can kick your car to life long enough for you to take it to a repair shop and have it recharged or replaced (if this isn’t the first time it’s failed you). Here’s how to jump start a car battery in 11 easy steps.
- Enlist the help of someone willing to lend their perfectly healthy car to jump start a dead car battery, and position the batteries next to each other.
Once you’ve accomplished this sometimes difficult task of finding a friend/good samaritan (Do not choose this guy, who inspired a hilarious story!), position the cars so they’re facing each other* and pop the hood on both. Be sure the engine is off in the healthy car you’ll be using for the jumpstart.
* Note that some batteries are in the trunk. If you can’t easily find yours or your jump-start friend’s battery, try the trunk, and if all fails, consult the vehicle’s manual.
- Remove the plastic battery terminal covers from both batteries.
- Take the jumper cables in hand and remember: positive to positive (red!), negative to negative (black).
- First connect one positive cable clamp (red color) to the positive battery terminal on the dead car.
Positive and negative are indicated directly on the battery with the symbols + and -.
- Connect the other positive cable clamp (also red) to the positive battery terminal on the car with the working car’s battery.
- Connect the negative cable clamp (black) to the negative battery terminal on the car with the working battery.
- Connect the other negative cable clamp (also black) to any solid metal part under the hood of the car with the dead battery. This serves as a safe “ground.”
- Turn on the car with the working battery.
- While one person revs the engine in the car with the working battery, turn the key in the car with the dead battery.
The borrowed charge from the operational battery should give it enough of a boost to start it.
- Keeping the engine running, remove the battery cable connections in reverse order.
Start by removing the negative ground on the formerly dead battery. Next, remove the negative clamp from the booster car’s battery, followed by the positive clamp from the booster car. Finally, remove the positive clamp from your jumped battery.
- Don’t turn off your engine.
In order for it to recharge fully, you should leave your vehicle running for at least a half hour before turning it off – otherwise, it may not start again and you’ll need to do it all over again. Ideally, you’ll find an excuse to drive it and/or leave the car on for a while to fully recharge the battery.
Often, a simple jump start and an extended period of time running may be enough to fully recharge your battery.
Would you rather avoid having a dead battery in the first place? Here are some Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car Battery.
If you experience needing another jump start soon after, your best bet is to book service with a repair shop near you, via Openbay, for either having your battery recharged or completely replaced. Openbay’s is also available for iOS and Android for easy repair and maintenance booking on the go.