Intro: How to Jump Start a Car
This instructable will show you step by step the proper technique used to jump start a car. Being able to jumpstart a car is an important task that all car owners should know how to execute. It is important to know how to jumpstart a car in case your car battery dies at some point. This is something that happens to almost all car owners at some point in their life. Depending on how many attempts it takes to get the car started this task may take anywhere from 20-40 minutes. This task can be completed by anyone with proper guidance. After the task is completed your battery will be charged and your car will be ready to drive.
Step 1: Equipment
- Gloves (Preferably Rubber)-This will help prevent electrical shock if you accidentally touch live cables.
- Jumper Cables
- Car with Dead battery
- Car with Live battery
- Old Rag or Towel
- Safety Glasses
Step 2: Verifying the Issue
Verify that the issue with the dead car is a battery issue and not something else. This can be done by turning on the lights and seeing if they are dead or not.
Dim Lights indicate a low or dead battery. Also, if plugged in electronic accessories are not working this can also indicate a dead battery.
TIP: Before attempting to jump start car make sure to read the owner's manual. Some cars are not supposed to be jump started and may require you to just replace the battery.
Step 3: Set Cars in Position
After confirming that the battery is dead, park the dead and live car hood to hood with about a 2-3 foot gap in between them.
Next, make sure both cars are turned off and open up hoods to both of the vehicles.
TIP: Can also park side by side if area only allows for this type of configuration.
Step 4: Check Batteries
After both hoods are open locate and check both battery terminals for corrosion. If corrosion or dirt is on the terminals it may make it harder to jumpstart the car. If terminals are dirty or corroded be sure to clean them off with the rag.
After checking the terminals you will then be ready to hook up the jumper cables.
WARNING: Put on gloves to protect from electrical shock and other potential hazards in the car. Make sure vehicle is off while cleaning terminals
TIP: Make sure to follow correct order of hooking up cables in the following steps.
Step 5: Hook Up Jumper Cables
Now you are ready to hook up the cables. Make sure to use the correct order when hooking up cables described in the following steps.
First, hook up positive jumper cable to positive terminal on the dead battery.
Next, hook up positive jumper cable to positive terminal on live battery.
TIP: The positive jumper cable is the red one. The positive terminal is usually indicated by something red on the battery. There is also usually a + sign next to it if there is no red indication.
Step 6: Hook Up Jumper Cables
Third, hook up negative jumper cable to negative terminal on live battery.
TIP: The negative jumper cable is the black one. It is sometimes harder to find on the car battery since it is typically smaller than the positive terminal. It can be located by a - sign on the car battery.
Lastly, hook up the negative jumper cable to grounded piece of metal on dead car.
Do not hook up to a painted piece of metal or to a very dirty piece of metal. If you hook cables up to these, connections may not be good enough to get a jump. There is usually a good piece of metal towards the front of the hood to hook this cable up to.
WARNING: Do not hook up negative jumper cable to negative terminal of dead battery. This is because of safety issues. When connecting the last clamp there is a chance that a spark could be created. You want this spark to occur as far away from the battery as possible to prevent the battery from possibly exploding.
Step 7: Start Up Car With Live Battery
After cables are properly attached, start up the working car.
Let working car sit and run for about 5 mins.
TIP: It is okay to rev the engine in the live car around every 30 seconds. This will help produce a few extra volts, but is not essential in getting the other car to start. You will still have enough volts from the live battery to start the dead battery without revving the engine. If you do decide to rev engine make sure to not race the engine by keeping your foot on the pedal the whole time.
Step 8: Start Up Car With Dead Battery
After 5 minutes has passed try to start up dead car.
TIP: If dead car does not start up it is most likely do to a bad connection. If this occurs shut off both vehicles and try to reconnect cables in order listed above. If you are removing all the cables make sure to do so in reverse order of how you applied them.
Step 9: Remove Cables
Once dead car turns on it is okay to remove jumper cables. Remove jumper cables in reverse order of how they were applied.
First, remove cable from ground metal on car with dead battery.
Then, remove cable from negative terminal on car with live battery.
Third, remove cable from positive terminal on car with live battery.
Lastly, remove cable from positive terminal on car with dead battery.
WARNING: Do not touch metal claws of cables together while a cable is still connected to a battery. This could result in electrical shock. (This is why rubber gloves are preferred.)
Step 10: Let Dead Battery Recharge
After cables are removed drive car around for 20-30 minutes. This gives the alternator time to recharge the battery. If car with dead battery is turned off immediately after a successful jump it is likely not to start up again and will require you to do process over.
You have now successfully jump started your vehicle. The hardest part about the process is making sure that the connections are strong. If it doesn't start the first time just make sure to readjust your connections and try again. Also, make sure that the terminals are clean for a good connection. Overall, this is a fairly easy task and one you should never have to pay someone else to do for you.