Jumper Cables 101: How To Jump Start A Car
It sure can be a frustrating situation when you try to start your car but nothing happens. Car batteries do not start for a number of reasons. The car might have an alternator that is trashed, leading to the battery not being able to start. You might have left your lights on overnight or the cold weather does a number on your battery. Ultimately, if it is none of these things, then you might have a dead battery that is in need of being jumped. Use someone else’s vehicle to help by using their live battery to jump start your dead one.
Make sure to park the vehicle with the live battery next to the dead vehicle. Get them as close to each other as possible without causing any damage to the two vehicles.
If you have the radio, interior lights, or headlights turned on, be sure to turn them all the way off. Even with the battery dead in your vehicle, you will want all these things off to not drain power from the main focus of this task: starting the vehicle’s engine.
To start, turn both cars completely off, and set the brakes to keep them in place. Put each car into park or neutral, if your car is a manual transmission.
Notice where the positive and negative battery terminals are. The positive terminals are always signified by the color red. Also, if you are unsure, be aware that the positive and negative signs are marked as “+” and “-“on the battery. First, see if there is any corrosion on the battery. Clean them off and start the car to see if that was the problem. The Trial and Error Method can be used here. Your battery might not be bad, but just have a poor connection.
The jumper cable clamps need to be separated, so there is no risk of them touching each other, which would lead to a short circuit. Jumper cables usually do not have the same length, when it comes to its leads, so it helps protect from this. But, others are the same length. Make completely sure that the cables have not been damaged or modified in any way. So, be aware.
To get clamping, place one securely on the positive terminal of the dead battery first. The clamps need to be attached completely. For some vehicles, there might be a plastic cover over the positive battery terminal that needs to come off.
For the next step, use the other red clamp and place it over the positive terminal on the live battery. The clamp must be completely secured, and not vulnerable to vibration from the engine.
For the black jumper cables, connect one of them to the live car battery first. Do not mess this step up. If you do, there could be a fire, destroyed jumper cables, or something worse.
Lastly, you will need to ground the last clamp that you have left. This clamp will need to attach to an unpainted metal surface inside the vehicle of the dead battery. Make sure that this is placed as far away from the battery as possible. Some places to put this clamp could be on a bolt from the engine block. This area will be unpainted, and the clamp will “bite down” effectively and hold into place, even when the engine comes back on. The second clamp that is black could go on the negative terminal of the dead car battery, but this could cause sparks and ignite fumes from the battery. Better to be safe than sorry, so don’t ignite your car on fire from hydrogen in the battery. Do not allow any of the jumper cables to dangle in the engine area. If moving parts come back on, when the battery is renewed, they could catch the cables, and cause a real safety hazard.
Now is the time to start the vehicle with the live battery. Let it run for a couple of minutes before you try to start the dead vehicle. The RPMs should be up to around 3,000, as the attempt to start the other battery begins. After this takes place, it is time to start the dead car battery, and we hope it is a success for you!
Finally, with dead battery now live, it is time to disconnect jumper cables properly. Make sure you go in the correct order. First take off the negative clamp that was on the engine block. Next, remove the other black clamp from the other battery. Finally, you will remove need to remove the red clamp from the donor battery that worked all along, and end by removing the positive terminal from the dead battery that has now arisen. To this point, you have done it. You are ready to get on with the rest of your day! Drive safe!
Morris Rollison is a car blog writer. She loves everything about cars. She really appreciates her viewers who take the time to read her articles. She is always open to your questions or reviews. If you need some automotive articles written for your website, contact her at