How to Jump Start a Car the Right Way – Boost a Dead Battery

  • Learn how to jump-start a car the right way – boosting a dead battery in just a few simple steps.
  • This guide will show you how to get your car started using the correct cables and techniques.
  • See even more How-To and Maintenance guides.

Important Jumpstarting Safety Tips

  • Jump-starting a car is easy, but you should do it with caution. Since the car battery is located in the engine compartment, where flammable gases may be present, a spark could set off a fire.
  • So while you’re hooking up the weak battery to the live battery in the booster car, you’ll want to do it without creating any sparks.
  • Always check your vehicle’s owner manual for the proper jump-starting procedure.

How To Safely Jump-Start A Car

A dead car battery can be a real pain, leaving you stranded and unable to get to where you need to go. But if you carry jumper cables or a jump box in your trunk, and know how to use them properly, you can jump-start your car and be on your way. Jump-starting a car is easy, but you need to be careful not to create any sparks, as the battery is located in the engine compartment where flammable gases may be present.

To jump-start your car:

1. Position the Booster Vehicle

To safely jump-start a car, you’ll need to position the booster vehicle as close to the battery as possible.

  1. Park the booster car next to the dead car, and make sure both cars are turned off.
  2. Open the hood of both cars.

2. Locate Battery Terminals

You’ll need to know where the battery is located in both cars before you can jump-start them. In most cars, the battery is located under the hood in the engine compartment.

  • Once you’ve found the battery, look for the positive and negative terminals. The positive terminal will usually be marked with a “+” sign, while the negative terminal will usually be marked with a “-” sign.

Tip: The red and black battery cables are usually connected to the positive and negative battery terminals accordingly, but do not rely on this to determine which battery terminal is which. The cables could easily be switched which would result in a dangerous situation.

3. The Order In Which You Should Connect The Jumper Cables

  1. Connect one end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  2. Connect the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the live battery in the booster car.
  3. Connect one end of the black jumper cable to the negative terminal of the live battery in the booster car.
  4. Finally, connect the other end of the black jumper cable to a metal part of the dead car that is not near the battery (to avoid sparks).

Tip: Make sure the cables do not touch each other or touch any metal surface on either car, as this could create a spark.

Why Don’t You Connect The Negative When Jumping A Car?

The negative terminal is connected to the ground, so if you connect it to another car’s negative terminal, you could create a spark. This spark could cause an explosion if there are any flammable fumes present in the engine compartment.

4. Jump-Start The Car

Start the booster car, wait about 2-3 minutes and then try to start the dead car. If it starts, let it run for a few minutes. Go ahead and disconnect the jumper cables.

If your car won’t start after trying this method, then you may need a new battery – which you can get from an auto parts store.

5. Disconnect Jumper Cables

Disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order that you connected them:

  1. Disconnect the black cable from the metal part of the car.
  2. Disconnect the black cable from the negative terminal of the live battery in the booster car.
  3. Disconnect the red cable from the positive terminal of the live battery in the booster car.
  4. Disconnect the red cable from the positive terminal of the dead battery.

Now that you know how to jump-start a car, you’ll be prepared next time your battery dies. Just remember to exercise caution and to follow the steps in order to avoid creating any sparks.

ALSO READ: Changing A Tire – What To Know (Easy Tips)

What You Need In Order To Jump-Start A Car

The tools you need in order to jump-start a car are:

  • A good set of thick Jumper cables.
  • Another car with a working battery.

Tip: If there is a good bit of corrosion built-up on the post terminals, you may want to use a wire brush to clean them off first. This will help to ensure a good connection.

How Long Do Car Batteries Last?

Car batteries last anywhere from 3-5 years on average. However, this can vary depending on a number of factors such as:

  • How often you drive your car.
  • How well you maintain your battery.
  • The type of battery you have.
  • The climate you live in.

How To Safely Jump-Start A Car With A Battery Charger

A battery charger is different than a portable jump starter in that it will slowly charge a dead battery over time. This is the preferred method if you have the time to wait for the battery to charge.

To use a battery charger, you connect it to the dead battery and then let it charge for a few hours. Once the battery is charged, you can start the car.

The main benefit of using a charger is that there is no risk of sparks or fire since the charging process is much slower than jump-starting.

On the other hand, a portable jump starter is designed to provide a quick burst of power to the dead battery in order to start the car.

How To Tell If The Battery Is Fully Charged

When a car battery is fully charged, the voltage reading on a charger or multimeter should be 12.6 to 13.2 volts. If the reading is lower than that, it means the battery needs to be recharged.

What To Do After You Jump-Start The Car

After the car has been jump-started, it’s important to drive it around for at least 15 minutes in order to recharge the battery.

If possible, avoid turning off the engine during this time as that could cause the battery to discharge again.

Once you’ve driven around for a while, you can turn off the car and see if it starts back up again. If it does, then the battery is most likely charged.

Tip: Consider driving to an auto parts store that can test your battery for you and give you an idea of how well it’s holding a charge.

How To Prevent Your Battery From Dying In The First Place

There are a few things you can do to help prevent your battery from dying in the first place:

  • Check the battery regularly.
  • Keep the terminals clean.
  • Drive the car regularly.
  • Turn off all lights and accessories when the car is not running.

Signs your battery is dying are the engine is slow to turn over or cranks before finally starting, and there’s a dimming of the headlights.

Jumping a Hybrid Car or Electric Vehicle

Jump-starting a hybrid or electric car is different than jump-starting a regular car.

It is best to follow the procedure from your vehicle owner’s manual for the specifics of jump-starting procedures.

Most electric and hybrid cars have high-voltage batteries that require special care when jumping the car.

J.S. Diyhouseskills

I’m J.S., I created and am the content manager at DIYHouseSkills.com. I do the research and write the articles that appear on this website. I’ve learned many household skills during my life and think it’s important to at least know the basics so that you can save yourself time and money… READ FULL BIO >

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