Nobody likes a dead car, but we all have to prepare for the day it happens to us. If you haven’t been in this situation before, you probably dread the day it might happen. Jump-starting a vehicle without prior knowledge can be dangerous, but the steps we outline here should give you the confidence you need to use your jumper cables both safely and efficiently.
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Jumper cables
- A car with a working battery
Depending on how long your cables are, you’ll want the driver who’s going to give you the jump to park his or her car close to yours. It needs to be at a safe distance and avoiding contact. To make the subsequent instructions easier, we’ll name the car with the working battery “Car A” and the car in need of a start “Car B.”
Here’s What You’ll Do
- After making sure both cars are off and in park, locate the red or positive (+) cable on your jumper. Make sure the cables don’t touch each other or any surrounding metal surfaces.
Pro Tip: Lift the emergency brake on both cars for extra security.
- Open the hoods of cars A and B.
- Locate the batteries on both. They should be labeled with a minus (-) and plus (+) sign.
- Attach the red clamp (+) to the positive (+) battery terminal of Car B, while keeping the other cable separate.
- Attach the other red clamp-end (+) to the positive (+) battery terminal of Car A.
- Attach the black clamp (-) to the negative (-) battery terminal of Car A.
- After attaching the black clamp (-) to Car A, attach the other black end (-) to a bolt or screw that isn’t painted on the engine block of Car B – this is essential for the grounding of the jumpstart.
- Double-check that the cables are in their correct positions before starting Car A.
- Start Car A.
- After starting Car A, give it a few minutes to build a charge before starting Car B.
- Start Car B.
- Once Car B has been started and running, remove the black clamp (-) from Car B.
- Remove the black clamp (-) from Car A.
- Remove the red clamp (+) from Car A.
- Remove the red clamp (+) from Car B.
If you still can’t start your car after following these steps, the problem might be something other than the battery. We therefore recommend you have an expert take a look.