Tips On How To Jump-Start Your Car

Posted on: 8 October 2015


Learning the skill of jump-starting a car using another car's battery can come in handy during an emergency, where emergency in this case refers to the failure of your car battery. A car battery may succumb to failure due to various reasons, including corrosion on the terminals, a bad alternator, and old age. When it comes to age, a car battery should be able to work for around 3 to 5 years. Leaving your headlights on for a long time may also be a reason for the deterioration of your battery's health.

In most situations, a car battery doesn't give a warning when it is about to go flat. But that doesn't mean that you should remain stuck in the middle of the road and call for towing when it does so; not if you can jump-start your car.

What is Jump-Starting?

Jump-starting a car simply means to use another car's battery to spark your car back to life. 

How Do You Jump-Start A Car?

The skill of jump-starting a car is not hard to master. You just need jumper cables to start the process. Here are the steps that are involved in the process:

  • Move the donor car next to yours. The cars should not touch but they should be in a position where the batteries can be connected using jumper cables.
  • Ensure that both cars' transmissions are in neutral mode and turn the ignitions to OFF position. Also ensure that accessories such as radios and headlights are OFF.
  • Identify the negative and positive terminals of the batteries. Negative terminals are usually smaller than positive terminals. You can also identify the terminal posts by color. The positive terminal is red in color and negative is black.
  • Take your jumper cables and attach the positive clamp to your car. Take the other positive clamp of the cable and attach it to the positive terminal of the donor car. Positive clamps of the jumper cable are red in color.
  • At the end of the cable that is attached to the donor car, take the negative clamp (black) and attach it to the negative terminal of the battery. Then take the other negative clamp and attach it to the engine block of your car, not the negative terminal of your car's battery. Attaching the negative clamp to the negative terminal of your car's battery might generate a spark, which may cause your battery to explode. A good metal surface on the engine block of your car could be a bolt or a nut that is far away from the battery.
  • Once you are satisfied that all connections are secure, power on the donor car.
  • Wait for at least one minute before starting your car. This should effectively jump-start your car, but if it doesn't start, give your battery a few more minutes to charge before starting the car again. If it fails after this, stop. Turn off both cars and unhook the clamps. Note that unhooking the clamps requires you to work in a reverse order.

Car batteries generate electric current. Therefore, if jump-staring has failed, do not force it. Instead, seek the services of a mechanic, such as those at West End Mechanical