HOW TO JUMP START A CAR BATTERY
3/4/2022 - 9:00 AM
Knowing how to jump start a car battery is an extremely valuable skill for
anyone to have. Whether you're an experienced driver or a brand-new
driver, chances are you will encounter a dead battery in your vehicle at
some point in time. So hopefully the following article will help to teach
you what to do if you're ever in that situation.
STEP 1 - CHECK THE BATTERY
First and foremost, you need to determine if the battery is actually dead.
Check the headlights. Are they dim or bright? (Note that in some
cars you will need to turn the ignition on to test the headlights). If
they are dim, it's likely your battery is dead. If your headlights are
bright, you do NOT have a dead battery and a jump start will not help.
Ensure that the doors will unlock when you push the button on your
key (keyless entry) or try to open the door from the outside.
Check to see if the interior lights work or if the clock or GPS
(if equipped) move or power on.
Put the key into the ignition and see if the dashboard lights up as
usual and also test the stereo. In most cases, even with a low battery
you should see some dashboard lights and get some sound out of the
stereo. If you do not get a flicker from your dashboard, you might have
a problem with the ignition switch.
Try to start the car. If it cranks quickly, you do NOT have a dead battery
and a jump start will not help. However, if it cranks slowly or not at all,
you probably have a dead battery.
STEP 2 - OPEN THE VEHICLE'S HOOD AND LOCATE THE BATTERY
After determining that the battery is in fact dead, open the vehicle's hood.
In most cases, you will need to pull the hood release latch inside the
vehicle (most commonly found under the dash or on the floor on the
driver's side). Then, you will need to locate the battery. On most vehicles,
it will be near the front of the vehicle on the right or left side. However,
on some vehicles the battery may be located near the firewall between the
engine and the passenger compartment. In some cases, the battery may
even be located inside the trunk. It can also be possible for the battery to
be buried underneath other components/electronics. If you're not sure,
check your vehicle's manual.
Once the battery is located, identify the positive and negative terminals.
The positive terminal will be marked with a plus (+) sign and will
usually have a red cable attached to it.
The negative terminal will be marked with a minus (-) sign and will
usually have a black cable attached to it.
STEP 3 - PARK THE WORKING/RUNNING VEHICLE NEAR,
BUT NOT TOUCHING, THE DISABLED VEHICLE
Park the working/running vehicle facing the disabled vehicle and get
it as close as possible without touching and allowing room to walk or
move in between. Turn off the engine of the working/running vehicle
and make sure to turn off the radio, lights, heat or A/C and any other
electrical components on BOTH vehicles.
*NOTE* It is VERY IMPORTANT that the vehicles are NOT TOUCHING
as jumping the battery could cause an extremely dangerous electrical arc
between the vehicles.
STEP 4 - WEAR SAFETY GEAR (GOGGLES & GLOVES) IF YOU HAVE IT.
Inspect batteries for cracks, leaks and other damage. If you find any of
these things, do not jump start the vehicle. Call a tow truck instead -
and have it towed to MONICATTI AUTOMOTIVE SALES & SERVICE! ;)
- or replace the battery.
Check that the battery cables are firmly connected to the battery posts.
Loose cables can prevent a vehicle from starting, even if the radio
and lights seem to be operating. If loose, you can use a properly-sized
wrench to tighten the cable terminal to the battery post. *NOTE:*
Avoid touching any other part of the vehicle with the wrench when it is
on the terminal as a large spark and explosion can occur.
If you notice a significant amount of corrosion on the disabled vehicle's
battery terminals, it might be necessary to remove the battery cables from
the terminals in order to clean both. Corrosion between the battery and
cable terminals can prevent a vehicle from starting. It is best to use a stiff
wire brush to remove all of the corrosion. Reconnect the cables to the battery
terminals once everything is clean and tighten them down as described above.
You might also need to remove the red positive (+) post/terminal protective
cover if your battery has one.
STEP 5 - UNTANGLE AND UNWIND YOUR JUMPER CABLES
Similar to your vehicle's battery, your jumper cables will likely have
both red and black cables and will also have heavy-duty clamps for
connecting to your vehicle's battery terminals.
*VERY IMPORTANT* Make sure to NEVER let the red and black
jumper cable ends touch once they have been connected to the batteries.
Allowing them to touch can result in serious arcing and/or damage to
one or both vehicles.
STEP 6 - CONNECT THE JUMPER CABLES IN THE ORDER BELOW:
Connect one RED clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the
Connect the other RED clamp to the positive (+) terminal of
the GOOD battery.
Connect one BLACK clamp to the negative (-) terminal of the
Connect the other BLACK clamp to a piece of grounded metal
on the disabled vehicle, preferably the bolt where the thick negative
cable from the battery connects to the chassis. If this is not practical,
look for shiny metal (not painted or oily) that is attached to the engine.
Typically a nut, bolt or other protruding shiny metal will work. (You
might notice a small spark when you connect to a good ground) As a
last resort, you can connect to the negative (-) terminal of the BAD
battery. However, this can risk igniting any hydrogen gas coming off
of the battery.
*NOTE* As mentioned above, some vehicles have the battery buried under
other components/electronics. If this is the case, most vehicles will have the
terminals exposed for jump starting purposes. So you will need to look for the
positive (+) and negative (-) terminals. ALSO, make sure that none of the cables
are hanging down into the engine compartment where they could potentially be
exposed to moving parts once the vehicle is started.
STEP 7 - START THE WORKING/RUNNING VEHICLE
Start the working/running vehicle and let it run or idle for a few minutes.
Then rev the engine a little bit above idle for 30 to 60 seconds. This is
done to charge the dead battery as the starter in the disabled vehicle will
draw most of the required current from the good battery, NOT through the
cables. Charging the dead battery is a MUST! If 30 seconds doesn't do the
trick, try charging for the full 60 seconds by keeping the working/running
engine at a high idle. A good, clean connection between the battery cables
and the battery terminals is essential.
STEP 8 - ATTEMPT TO START THE DISABLED VEHICLE
Attempt to start the disabled vehicle. If it does NOT start, shut both
engines off and disconnect the last connection. Then twist or wiggle
each of the four jumper cable clamps to make sure you have a good
electrical connection. Restart the working/running vehicle again and
allow approximately 5 minutes for charging before attempting to start
the disabled vehicle again. If this still doesn't work after a few attempts,
call a tow truck instead - and have it towed to MONICATTI AUTOMOTIVE
SALES & SERVICE! ;) - or replace the battery.
If the disabled vehicle DOES start, proceed to the next step.
STEP 9 - REMOVE THE JUMPER CABLES
Once the disabled vehicle has been started, remove the jumper cables
in the REVERSE order from which they were attached.
*NOTE* As mentioned previously, do NOT allow the clamps to touch
each other and make sure the cables do NOT hang down into the engine
Disconnect the BLACK clamp from the grounded metal on the
previously disabled vehicle (or from the negative (-) terminal of
the previously DEAD battery if you ended up attaching it to that).
Disconnect the BLACK clamp from the negative (-) terminal of
the GOOD battery.
Disconnect the RED clamp from the positive (+) terminal of the
Disconnect the RED clamp from the positive (+) terminal of the
previously DEAD battery.
*NOTE* Replace the red positive (+) post/terminal protective cover if
your battery has one. This cover can help prevent accidentally short
circuiting the battery.
STEP 10 - ALLOW THE PREVIOUSLY DISABLED/NOW RUNNING
VEHICLE TO RUN FOR A WHILE.
Once everything has been disconnected and the jumper cables have been
put away, close the hood of both vehicles. The originally working/running
vehicle can be moved and turned off. HOWEVER, allow the engine of the
previously disabled vehicle to continue running for 5-10 minutes before
shutting it off. This should give the battery enough of a charge to start again.
At this point, shut off the vehicle and then attempt to restart it. If the vehicle starts,
you are good to go. If it does NOT start, you may have a dead battery or even
a bad or dying alternator. In which case, you need to contact MONICATTI
AUTOMOTIVE SALES & SERVICE! ;)
*IF ALL ELSE FAILS, FEEL FREE TO CONTACT OUR MONICATTI AUTOMOTIVE
SERVICE CENTER AT 1-844-463-6722 OR FILL OUT OUR ONLINE CONTACT FORM
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT AND WE WILL GET YOU BACK UP AND RUNNING!*
(Note: Information taken from an article posted on the WikiHow website.)