Few things are more frustrating than a dead battery when it’s time to go, but you don’t have to stay stranded forever. While some motorists invest in a self-contained car jump starter, rescues are possible without sophisticated equipment. No matter if you’re the stranded driver or you’re willing to help a fellow driver in his or her time of need, it’s always a good idea to keep a set of jumper cables in your car. Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to safely jump start a car so you can get back out on the road.
- Prepare Both Vehicles
Before you attempt to jump start a car, it’s important to make sure both automobiles are prepared for the procedure. Make sure the Good Samaritan’s vehicle doesn’t have a hybrid or electric engine because the connection won’t work and could even cause damage. Have the working vehicle pull up next to your auto so the engine compartments are close together. Shift both cars into “neutral” or “park” and engage the parking brakes. Shut off both engines and start to unravel your jumper cables.
- Attach Cables
Start hooking the jumper cables between both vehicles, starting with the red cable. Clamp it on to the positive terminal on your own battery and do likewise on the positive terminal of the working car. The black cable goes from the negative terminal of the working vehicle and runs to an unpainted piece of metal in your own engine compartment as far away from the battery as possible. A good place to look is one of the struts responsible for holding your hood open.
- Perform the Jump Start
Have the working vehicle start up and run for four or five minutes before attempting to jump your vehicle. Use your vehicle’s ignition system as usual and wait for the engine to turn over. If your car won’t start after a few attempts, shut both vehicles off and check the cables for proper placement. Once you’re sure everything is connected properly, make a few final attempts to start your own vehicle before calling for assistance from a roadside professional. After a successful jump start, keep your engine running and drive around for at least fifteen minutes to help your battery build up its own charge.
Hopefully, the inconvenience of the situation is inspiration enough to prevent the situation from ever happening again. The next time you take the automobile in for service, have the technician use a car code reader to make sure there’s nothing wrong with the alternator or any other part of the electrical system. You should also be vigilant about keeping your headlights and other electronic components off when the vehicle isn’t running.
If your vehicle won’t start after you jumped it and drove around for a while, it’s probably time for a replacement battery. When shopping for a new power cell for your car or truck, work with a trusted retailer and ask a member of the staff for a recommendation. You’ve invested a lot in your automobile, which is why you should protect it by insisting on quality parts from a reputable store.