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  • Writer's pictureChristian Turnbaugh

How to Jump-Start a Car

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Car Battery Jumper Cables

Most of us have been there. You walk out to your car, and the battery is dead, and it won't start, and knowing how to properly jump a car is an essential skill. You may think it is stressful, but after you read below, you will realize it is pretty straightforward. First, you will need another vehicle with a working battery and jumper cables. It's that simple. Follow the steps below, and you will be on your way in no time.

What is jump-starting?

Jump-starting is starting your car with a drained battery via jumper cables from another vehicle or power source. This is done by connecting the cables to the correct terminals of both the vehicles and using the power of the running vehicle to start the drained battery.

Steps to jump a car

  • Position the working vehicle

When you are ready to jump-start your vehicle, you will want to position the other vehicle with the working battery within reach of the jumper cables to the vehicle with the drained battery. For most vehicles, that is the front of the car. However, some vehicles have batteries in the trunk, so be aware and check first.

  • Attach the jumper cables

Ensure both vehicles are in park and the engine on the working vehicle is turned off. Now pop open the hood most of the time. The latch is under the steering wheel. You will then feel under the front of the hood for another latch to unlock the hood and lift it up. Each car battery is different; however, the positive terminal usually has a + or a red wire or cover. The negative terminal will usually have a - or a black wire or cover.

  • Attach the Red jumper cable clamp to the positive not working battery terminal

  • Attach the Red jumper cable clamp to the positive working battery terminal.

  • Attach the black jumper cable clamp to the negative working battery terminal

  • Attach the other black jumper cable to a ground, such as a bare metal bracket, do not attach to the negative of the drained battery, for it can cause an explosion due to hydrogen in the air.

  • Start the working vehicle.

Let the working car run for a few minutes allowing the drained battery to charge up.

  • Start the dead vehicle.

After the helper vehicle has been running for a few minutes, try starting the car with the drained battery. If it turns on, let it run for 30 minutes to allow the battery to recharge itself.

  • Disconnect the jumper cables

You can now disconnect the jumper cables if your vehicle was successfully started. Remove the cables in the reverse order they were attached.

  • Negative/black cable from the previously dead battery car

  • Negative/black cable from the helper car

  • Positive/red cable from the helper car

  • Positive/red cable from the previously dead battery car

When disconnecting the jumper cables, it is imperative that the cables do not touch each other while another cable is still attached. This could create a spark and cause major injuries to yourself and others.


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