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How to Jump Start a Car

last updated May 16, 2019

If you own a car, it is likely that you will experience a battery failure at one given time. This makes it very important to know how to jump start a car as it comes in handy. You can jump start a car with or without cables and in this article, we are going to give you a simple guide on how to use both of these methods.

How to Jump Start a Car

Precautions before Jump Starting your Car

Read the manufacturer’s manual

Some cars are not supposed to be jump started and this will be indicated in the manufacturer’s manual.

Cracked or Frozen Battery

At no time should you try to jump-start a cracked or frozen battery? If you find that your battery is cracked, frozen or leaking, it is advised that you call a towing truck to help you take the car to your mechanic for professional help.

Corroded terminals or dry cells

If the terminals of the battery are corroded, a scrap of the deposits while wearing protective gear before trying to jumpstart the battery. You should also check the water levels in the cells of the battery and refill them according to ensure efficient transmission of the charge during the jump start.

How to Jump-Start a Car with Cables

To jump-start a car with cables, follow the following step by step guide.

  1. Ensure that both cars are turned off.
  2. Put on protective gloves to protect you from coming in contact with dangerous chemicals. You can also use a blanket on the ground just in case you may need to check the condition of the car components.
  3. Connect the red head of the cable which is the positive end to the dead battery and then the other end to the other battery.
  4. Connect the black head of the cable which is the negative end to the good battery and then the other end to the stalled battery.
  5. Start the engine to initiate the jump start.
  6. Remove the cables starting with the one that you put last.
  7. Keep the car on for more than 30 minutes to allow the battery to accumulate sufficient charge.
  8. If the car did not start, keep the clips on the battery for a while before trying again. If it fails, it is time to call a towing car to help you get the car to the mechanic.

How to Jump-Start a Car without Cables

If you don’t have to jump starting cables and you happen to be in a high place, you can jumpstart your car by doing the following

  1. Push the car to the beginning of a downhill stretch and put it in first gear
  2. Depress the clutch and turn the on the ignition of the car
  3. Release the brakes, fully press on the clutch and let the car roll downhill
  4. When you achieve a speed of 7 mph, release the clutch and you will hear the sound of the engine restarting.

 How can I boost my battery?

You can boost your battery by using a portable car battery charger. Many jump starters are available in the market but you should be careful to choose one that is compatible with your battery type or else you will find yourself stranded with a dead battery and the wrong jump starter.

Safety precautions

  1. Before using the jump starter it is recommended that you follow the following safety precautions to avoid spoiling your battery or coming in contact with the hazardous material.
  2. Switch off the jump starter before putting the leads on the negative and positive nodes of the battery.
  3. Ensure that all the car electronics such as air-conditioner and radio are switched off to avoid passing unstable current through them which may cause damage. To be on the safe side, remove the car keys from the ignition.
  4. Ensure that the positive and negative terminals of the jump starter don’t come into contact with each other. You should also avoid putting things that can conduct electricity between the two terminals.
  5. Keep flammable liquids away from the jump starter pack or your battery as a slight contact can lead to an explosion.

How to boost your battery using a jump starter

After adhering to all the above precautions, you are now ready to boost your battery using a jump starter pack. To boost your battery, follow the following steps in sequential order;

1.Setting up the jump starter

Remove the jump starter pack from its casing and connect the negative and positive terminals to the jump starter as illustrated on the jump starter.

2.Connection of cables

After ensuring that the car and the jump starter are both switches off, connect the negative and positive cables of the jump starter to those of the battery. Ensure that you apply firm pressure on the clips so that they don’t come off when you try to restart the car.

3.Switch on the jump starter

With the clips firmly holding on to the two nodes of the battery, turn on the jump starter so as to boost your battery.

4.Turn on the car

Turning the car only in an attempt to see if your battery has been boosted allows the jump starter to deliver maximum energy to the battery. If the engine doesn’t respond at the first attempt, give it some time before trying again to avoid overheating of the battery from all the energy flowing to it with each attempt.

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5.Removing the jump starter

If your engine restarts successfully, this means that you have given your battery a boost and it is now time to remove the jump starter from the battery. This is done by removing the negative terminal first followed by the positive terminal.

You should remember to charge your jump starter so that it can help you again in case your battery fails again. It is also recommended that you have your battery checked by your mechanic to determine if it underwent any damage as a result of the discharge.

How long should you drive after jumping a car?

After jump starting a car, it is recommended that you should keep it running for more than 30 minutes to give the battery adequate time to recharge. If you don’t keep the car running for more than the recommended time, it is likely that the battery will die again requiring you to give it another restart.

After the car has restarted, you should first check the battery light on the panel and if it blinking then this means that the alternator of the car is not recharging the battery and therefore, you should not keep the car running. You should call your mechanic who will help you determine the cause of the problem. Driving the car with the battery long will cause the battery to die after the charge it has stored during jump starting has finished. Multiple discharges may also cause permanent damage to the battery requiring you to replace the battery which may be expensive.

Can a car battery be too dead to jump start?

A battery can be too dead to jump starter and this might require you to get a new battery. A new car that is well maintained should use its battery for about five years before it starts to develop problems. Although the battery can’t hold a lot of power to last it for that long, it is designed to be recharged by the alternator as it is being used to power the car. To determine if your battery is dead to the point that you can’t recharge it, look out for the following signs;

  • Creation of a whining sound every time you try to start the car
  • Failure of the car to start again after a successful jump-starting the car within the same day.

If you experience any of the above problems, then your battery is dead and jumpstarting will not work on it.

Tools needed to jump-start a car

As a driver, it is recommended that you keep the following items in your car at all times;

  • Jump starter cables
  • Mechanic Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Overalls
  • Owner’s manual

To jump-start your car, you will need to find a car that you can connect the jump starter cables and transmit electric charge from one battery to another. It is recommended that you call a friend to come and help. If you can’t find a friend nearby, ask a passing car but watch out as it is not all people who have good intentions.

How much does it cost to jumpstart a car?

If you don’t have jumpstarting cables in your car and are forced to call AAA or your insurance roadside rescue, you may have to part with 70 dollars. A cheaper option to this is calling a friend to come to your help or asking kind strangers to help you push the car downhill. You can also call an Uber and once the driver gets there you use their jump starter cable to recharge your battery. The only cost that you have to incur in this case is determined by the distance the Uber driver travels to get to your location.



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