HOW TO JUMP START A CAR
Whether you left your lights on or you’re just being a good Samaritan, jumping a car is an essential skill that when done with confidence is quick and easy. Just make sure you’ve always got a pair of jumper cables in your roadside emergency kit.
1. Park both cars nose to nose about a foot and a half apart. For automatics make sure the car is in park, for manual transmissions keep the car in neutral and set the parking brake.
2. With both cars turned off and the key out of each ignition, pop the hoods and get down to business. If either car’s battery is corroded or looks suspect, don’t attempt to jump the car yourself—instead call a pro, the battery may need replacing.
3. Identify the positive and negative terminals on each battery. Along with a plus-sign, the positive terminal can be identified by red coloring; for the negative side look for a minus-sign and black coloring.
4. Now, Identify the positive and negative ends of your jumper cables—red for positive, black for negative. Make sure the metal ends don’t touch one another throughout the process. Note: Different jumper cables have different markings. Our advice? Go for the most simple color-coded option.
6. Attach the other end of the red/positive cable to the live battery’s positive terminal.
7. Now attach the black/negative end of the cable to the live battery’s negative terminal first.
8. With the other end of the negative cable, attach it to a metal non-painted part of the car under the hood with the dead battery. Stay away from the battery itself and attach the cable to the engine block—unpainted bolts are a good go-to. Some cars have a jumping post for this purpose—check your owner’s manual and be sure to avoid moving parts like belts or fans.
9. Now clear the area.
10. Start the engine of the car with the live battery. Let it run for a few minutes and lightly rev the engine.
11. Now, start the car with the dead battery. If she starts, let her run for a few minutes. If she doesn’t start the first time, give it another minute to two of rest with the good car running. If it still doesn’t work, you may need to check your connections or call for help.
12. Once the dead car is running, disconnect the cables in the reverse order you put them on (i.e. negative connection on dead car, negative connection on good car’s battery then positive cable from good car’s battery and finally positive cable from bad car’s battery). Always check the owner’s manual to see if your car requires a different process.
13. You’ve just saved your day or someone else’s, celebrate by studying up on your owner’s manual.