Get Ready for Car Jump Start (a Useful Checklist to Keep With the Cables)




About: So many things to learn and make, so little time! I like things that are cool, useful, efficient, well crafted.

Battery cables saved my day numerous times. Hard to remember the order to connect them (plus, minus, which car?).

This instructable will make you ready for such unexpected events (or to provide help), by having a jump-lead pack consisting of the cables, plus a one-pager with concise instructions.

It will help only in the event that the battery is simply discharged. If the battery or the dynamo is dead, it will not help.

It is assumed that you are familiar with the usage of jump-leads and only need a quick checklist. For more info see

It is the one-pager document in step 2 that is central. The text has been reviewed (in fact, rephrased) by Lemonie.

I take absolutely no responsibility for any consequences of your following this instructable. It does not relieve you from being smart and using your common sense ! In case of doubt, please consult your car's manuals.

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Step 1: Buy Cables, Have a Bag

Buy cables preferably with a bag, or find a suitable transparent bag.

The transparent bag will allow you to immediately identify the contents.

Step 2: Add the One-Pager Instructions

  • Print the one-pager instructions (PDF file attached, or DOC if you need to edit it).
  • Fold and staple, insert into bag.

(Should print OK in A4 and Letter, if not, please let me know)

Step 3: Keep It in Your Car

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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I found some other important tips on boosting the battery


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't quite understand this. If you know how to use jump-leads, please tell us how, and post pictures of you using jump-leads. If the The one-pager document is central to the Instructable you should be sure of it being right before publishing - and the whole instructable as a .pdf should serve that purpose?


    8 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your feedback.
    • This is only about preparing your jump-leads pack; it is for people who know how to use it, but, like me, don't always remember the steps order. That is maybe unclear, thanks, I will clarify that in the intro.
    • So no steps with photos of me between two cars. Not very interesting, and would take much paper.
    • Maybe somebody writing another ible explaining how to use jump-leads would be useful.
    • The one pager, to remain a one pager, has to be an attached document. You don't want the ads, the table of contents, the comments, the steps to prepare the packs, etc. inside the pack.
    • I will make the one pager a Word document (rather than a pdf), something that anyone can edit to fit one's pack size. Before that, I will publish the corrected pdf.
    • The help I need is to double-check the steps, and correct my English (it's not my native language).
    I hope it will make more sense...

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    1/ Both vehicles
    - engines off
    - handbrakes applied
    - gear in neutral
    - open hoods
    - locate battery terminals

    - red cable to bad battery +ve first, then good battery +ve.
    - black cable to good battery -ve first, then bad battery -ve.
    (although I don't know why you do it this way)

    - start the engine of the good vehicle

    - attempt to start the engine of the bad vehicle
    - turn over for not more than (how long?)
    - rest for 1 minute and attempt again if it fails to start (how many tries?)

    (disconnect cables, close hoods, repack your cables and instruction sheet)
    (drive for so long / so far before stopping the engine)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! thanks so much!

    (Now I have to work... In the mean time, people can edit the document and paste your comment ;-) )

    For 2/ it is indeed a counter intuitive order at first (one would want to connect the - first), but I found it was better to do so some years ago, and the wordy instructions coming with the cables confirmed that order. Here is why (my theory):
    • - is connected to the car body
    • by connecting the + cable first, it does not matter if you accidentally touch the 2nd car body while looking for its + terminal, because the other pole is not yet connected
    • the worst thing to do is to connect both cables to the first car, and leave the other ends of the cables lay on the ground
    • so, for the 2nd (black) cable, by connecting it to the 2nd car first, you tend to keep this cable rolled in your other hand while you connect the first (red) cable: this way they won't mix up, and you minimize your footsteps.
    Hum It's not so easy (for me at least) to clearly explain, that's why I felt the need to make myself this one-pager checklist.

    BTW what does +ve stand for ?

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It's a good idea, "I have the leads - how do I use them?" - you've packed instruction with them - no problem. L


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    ... and I will add after 4/ "Say thank you to the person who helped you."