Whether it’s because you left the lights on, the keys in the ignition, or your battery is old, most car owners will be faced with a dead battery sooner or later (it is probably something you want to explain to young drivers, t00). The good news is that if there is another functional car nearby, you can jump start the car and be on the road again soon. Remember that batteries are not always in the same place. Some vehicles have the battery under the hood, some behind the cab, and some are even in the trunk.
Follow these steps in order:
- Pull the car with the good battery next to the vehicle with the dead battery, or in a place where the cables will easily reach from the battery of one car to the battery of the other. The cars should not be touching and both ignitions should be shut off. Prop open the hood of each vehicle.
- Visibly locate the batteries and their terminals. Each battery has two metal terminals. One is marked Positive (+) the other Negative (-). There are also positive and negative cables in the jumper set. The red one is positive, the black one is negative.
- Connect one red clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery.
- Connect the other red clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the good battery.
- Connect one black clamp to the negative (-) terminal of the good battery.
- Connect the other black clamp to the engine block or another metal surface of the vehicle away from the battery. (NOTE: you may see a small spark when you connect to a good ground.). As a last resort, you may connect to the negative (-) post of the dead battery, but this risks igniting hydrogen gas coming off the battery.
- Make sure none of the cables are dangling into the engine compartment, where they could be exposed to moving parts.
- Start the car providing the jump start. Wait a moment, then try to start the car with the dead battery. Once the car starts, leave it idling for 5 or 10 minutes.
- If it does not start, wait a few moments and try again. If it still does not start, you may need come and see us about a new battery. Or your battery’s cable connections could have corrosion, if so, you will need to clean them. Every time a battery is discharged and needs to be jumped, it weakens the battery. After a few jumpstarts, you may want to consider buying a new battery. At Jeffrey’s, we do sell batteries and would be happy to help you get a new one for your car or truck.
- Now remove cables in the reverse order that you put them on.
Congratulations, you now know how to jump start a battery!