How To: Jump Start Your Car

If your battery is dead, meaning that when you attempt to start your car, there is a low whining sound, the quickest way to get it going again is to perform a jump start. This simple technique only requires a few minutes of your time. Jump starting your car doesn't require a lot of equipment; a set of jumper cables and another running vehicle is all that is needed.

Keep a pair of jumper cables in your vehicle, don't think that someone else will have cables. Jumper cables wind up quickly and can be stored out of sight under a seat or in the trunk.

When you purchase new cables, look for ones that are around four to six gauge in size and at least twenty feet in length. Sturdy cables with heavy-duty clamps are more effective and provide a better grip and a better connection. It is not always possible to get the two vehicles right next to each other, so it is a good idea to have longer cables on hand; this way, you are prepared for less than ideal circumstances.

Handling Jumper Cables

Make sure you keep the red and black clamps from touching each other. It is not crucial, but it makes things easier if there is a person at each end of the wire when forming the connection. If the clamps touch when they are connected to the battery, you could cause a short in either vehicle and create some dangerous sparks.

Park the running vehicle so that the working battery is next to, engine to engine, the vehicle that needs the "jump". Open both hoods, locate the batteries, then remove the plastic hoods covering the battery posts. Once the battery post covers are removed, determine which post is positive and which one is negative in both vehicles. The positive post may have a red cable attached to it, but it is best to look for a (+) or (-) sign to determine polarity.

Before attaching the clamps, remove any dirt or gunk from the posts to ensure you are creating as clean a connection as possible.

  1. Connect one end of the red clamp to the positive post on the dead battery.
  2. Connect the matching end of the red clamp to the positive post on the functioning battery.
  3. Connect the black or negative clamp to the negative terminal on the good battery.
  4. Locate unpainted engine bolt or part of the vehicle's frame and secure the last clamp to that. This will ensure a safer jump situation.

Turn the helper vehicle on first, then try to start your vehicle. If the interior lights come on and you hear the engine turnover, but it doesn't start, and you hear a clicking sound, you could have an issue with your starter.

If your vehicle starts up, you are in business. The jump was successful. Once the vehicle is running, leave it running and carefully disconnect the cables, remembering not to let the clamps touch. Keep your vehicle running until you reach your destination; this gives the battery plenty of time to recharge.

If your jump start isn't successful and you need a car battery replacement, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!