How to Jump Start & Charge Your Car Battery

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Jump Start Your Vehicle

How to Use Jumper Cables for Your Vehicle

  1. Line up the cars so the jumper cables will reach both batteries. Make sure both cars are shifted into park with the parking brake applied.
  2. Turn off both cars.
  3. Locate the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals on both of the car batteries. They should be clearly marked – so if you can’t find the symbols indicating positive and negative, try cleaning off some of the caked-on crud from around the terminals. Clean off any battery acid that may have leaked around the terminals. Note: If the battery is visibly cracked or leaking, STOP HERE. The risk of explosion is too high. Instead, go buy a new car battery and swap it out with the old one.
  4. Connect the cables. Generally the positive (+) battery cable is red and the negative (-), or ground cable, is black. But you should always double-check to make sure. Connect the cables in the following order:

5. Start the vehicle with the good car battery and let it run for a minute to build up power. Now attempt to start the car with the dead battery. In some cases, it will jump start immediately while others will take a few minutes to generate enough of a charge. Do not turn off the car to remove the cables as you run the risk of the car dying again. For best results, drive the car for at least 30 minutes (the longer the better) before turning it off – this allows the alternator to recharge the battery while the vehicle is running.

Using a Self-Charging Auto Jumper

  1. Plug in your self charge jumper into your vehicles 12-volt outlet.
  2. Power on the jumper and allow it to transfer power to your battery for 10 minutes.
  3. Start the vehicle.
  4. Keep the car running while you remove the self-charge auto jumper for at least 30 minutes.

An Extra Tip From the Mechanic

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Mike Cote
My 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road Access Cab 4x4 offers bed space to camp in, haul my dirt bike around, and it's been done up to take on the trails. Favorite mods include my Icon coilovers to soak up the bumps. My Walker Evans 501 Legend wheels wrapped in Toyo RT tires give me the clearance from my upper control arms to fit (and they look darn good) and the over-sized tires take on rocks with plenty of traction. My Rigid Industries fog lights have kept me out of a ditch or two when night wheeling. Growing up going to car shows and helping my dad work on the family vehicles ignited my passion. My best memory was the first time I flushed the coolant. My dad forgot to tell me to keep my face out from under the drain plug. Never made that mistake again!

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