Whether it’s in the morning when you are heading to work or while you are driving on the highway, a dead battery can put a damper on your day. Performing essential car maintenance can reduce the chances of part failure but it’s bound to happen at some point. Luckily in most cases, you can quickly jump-start your battery in a matter of 15 minutes to get you back on the road.
Our experts compiled their tips on jumping a car safely and what you need to know to prepare for sudden battery failures.
The Proper Way To Jump a Car
When working around your car’s battery, take special precautions to follow all manufacturer safety measures to keep you and your vehicle safe. The battery in your car holds a substantial amount of power that can cause serious injury if misused. To keep you and your car safe while jump-starting your vehicle, our experts put together a few tips to keep in mind:
- Know the process—Read your owner’s manual to find out the proper jump starting procedures, especially for newer vehicles with sensitive electronics. The steps to jump-start your car’s battery may vary depending on which make and model you own.
- Check for damage—Never jump-start a cracked, corroded, leaking, or visible damaged battery. This can cause significant damage to your vehicle and could even cause the battery to explode if not careful. Have stubborn corrosion on your battery? Use Diet Coke to clean off the remaining residue to get the best connection. If you’re still unsure of what to do, roadside assistance can tow you to a local repair shop to have a certified mechanic decide the best next steps.
- Keep positive and negative clips apart—When you go to jump-start a vehicle, keep the clips apart at all times, especially before you hook up the first battery.
How to Jump-Start a Car at Home
There are a couple of ways to jump-start your car in the comfort of your own home. If you have access to another vehicle, use jumper cables between the running car’s battery and your dead battery. If you do not have another vehicle to use, you can use a jump box or jump starter. These machines store enough energy to charge your battery up to starting voltage. To give you a better idea of how easy it is to jump-start a vehicle, here is a list of what you will need for each method.
Jump-Starting With Jumper Cables
- Jumper Cables
- Additional Car With Charged Battery
Jump-Starting With Jump Starter
- Jump Box/Jump Starter
How To Jump Start a Car Using Jumper Cables
Jump starting a car using jumper cables is one of the quickest, quickest solutions to get you back on the road. Adding jumper cables to your emergency kit in your vehicle can help you in situations where your battery suddenly gives out.
How to Use Jumper Cables Safely
- Inspect the batteries in each vehicle to ensure both are in good condition, and one has enough voltage to power up your vehicle.
- Ensure both cars are off, in park or neutral, and have the parking brake on.
- Attach the alligator clips of the jumper cables to each battery in this order:
- Red to dead—Connect the red alligator clip (positive) to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
- Red to good—Connect the remaining red alligator clip (positive) to the positive terminal on the good battery.
- Black to good—Connect the black alligator clip (negative) to the negative terminal on the good battery.
- Black to ground—Connect the remaining black alligator clip (negative) to a metal, unpainted surface on the grounded car.
- Start the car with a good battery to keep a continuous flow of power going to each battery. Allow the car to run for a few minutes.
- Once an interior light can be turned on in the dead car, try starting the vehicle. This is usually an indication of a charged battery.
- Once the dead car starts, reverse the connection order to remove the jumper cables and store them correctly.
How To Jump Start Your Battery Using a Jump Box
- Ensure that the portable battery jump starter is plugged in or charged up.
- Connect the red alligator clip onto the positive terminal of the battery.
- Connect the black alligator clip onto the negative terminal of the battery.
- Turn on the jump box and allow it to charge your vehicle until it can be started.
- Once started, safely remove the clips from the battery terminals and store properly on the jump box.
What Should You Do If Jump Starting Doesn’t Work?
If you have tried jump-starting your vehicle and it still won’t start, there are a few things you can try before calling a mechanic.
- Check the connections—One of the first things you can check for when your car won’t start after jump starting is the alligator clip to terminal connection. If these connections are not making proper contact, your battery may not be getting fully charged.
- Check the terminals—Another thing you can do is check the condition of the battery terminals. The battery terminals will need to be clean and free of corrosion to make a proper connection.
- Check the jump box/cables state—Lastly, check the jumper cables or jump box condition. If they are visibly damaged or in poor condition, they may not be transferring power properly.
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If your battery suddenly gives out and you need to be towed to a local mechanic within 25 miles from your home, we’re here to help 24/7. Every extended car warranty comes with roadside assistance that can tow, jumpstart, change a flat tire, deliver fluid/gas, or provide lockout assistance. If you want to arrange service through a different towing provider, we’ll still cover up to $50 per incident. The best part? There’s no waiting to use this benefit—you can start today!
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