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Dealing with a Dead Battery


We've all done it!  You leave the movie theater only to realize that you left your lights on.   With fingers crossed, you turn your ignition key only to hear that dreaded Tick, Tick Tick of a dead battery.   Extreme heat, cold, powerful accessories, improper care and age take their toll on your vehicle battery.   A dead battery can leave you stranded at the most inopportune time.    A good set of jumper cables or portable starter kit can save you the long wait and embarrassment of roadside service. 

Jump starting your battery with Booster Cables or Portable Jump Starter can be an easy procedure. Following these simple steps will help save you time and money.

Precautions:   Never, Ever allow the ends of your jumper cables to touch.   Allowing the Positive (usually Red Cable) to touch the Negative (Usually Black Cable) could lead to sparks, fire, battery explosions and serious damage to you and your electrical system.  

- If necessary, uncover your battery posts (Some posts are covered by plastic or rubber caps). 
- Connect the RED or Positive (+) cable to the Positive (+) battery post of the Dead Battery.   Make sure that you have a good connection between the clamp and post. 
- Connect the other end of the RED or Positive (+) cable to the Positive (+) post of the Good Battery.
- Connect the NEGATIVE (-) Black cable clamp (on the same end of the jumper cables) to the NEGATIVE (-) post of the Good Battery.

    Important - Connect the other NEGATIVE (-) Black cable to a Clean (Unpainted)  metal surface under the disabled vehicle's hood.   Do Not connect the Negative cable to the Negative Dead Battery Post as this could cause an explosion.   

    Start the vehicle with the Good Battery and allow it to run for 5 minutes with the cables connected.   It's a good idea to give the host vehicle a little gas to bring it up to a high idle.  This will encourage the alternator to produce more current to help energize the dead battery.

    Make sure that all bystanders are clear of your engine bay.     Battery explosions can lead to Serious Injury, Burns or Death.   It's best to keep bystanders inside their vehicles and clear of your battery.

    Attempt to start the disabled vehicle    If the vehicle does not start, recheck all your jumper cable connections.  You may need to wiggle the clamps to make sure that they get a good bite into the battery posts.  If necessary, relocate the Negative (-) Black cable to a new bare metal location.   It's important to find bare metal that makes good ground contact with your chassis.

    To use a Portable Jump Starter, connect the starter to your battery following steps 1 thru 5 above.   Allow it to charge according to manufacturer specifications, then attempt to start your vehicle.


It's a good idea to have your battery and alternator checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.   This will help insure that your electrical system was not damaged and is charging properly.   A dead battery can leave you stranded, unless you carry the proper tools and know how to use them.


Words of Caution!  

Lead-acid batteries contain a sulfuric acid.  Acid is a highly corrosive poison and can  produce explosive gasses (Such as Hydrogen and Oxygen) when being charged. While working around batteries, always work in a well ventilated area, remove any jewelry and loose fitting clothing.  Always wear protective eyewear and gloves.  Carefully follow all manufacturer directions when  testing, jumping, installing, and recharging batteries.  Should you or anyone around you ever get battery acid on their skin or eyes, call 911 immediately!  Flush the affected area with cool tap water for at least 20 minutes.   Be sure to flush the contaminant away from the affected area, and prevent runoff from touching unaffected areas.  Always follow manufacturers warning labels for your specific product.

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