It’s one of those life skills that you think you know how to do until the time finally comes to put the skill to the test. Especially in the craziness of the moment, it can be a stressful situation. Thankfully, we’re here to teach you the basic “how to” of jump starting a car. So the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation, you’ll have the knowledge to save the day.
Step One: Prepare the Cars
Once you’ve found a helpful driver who can help, and you’ve properly thanked him or her, it’s time to set up. The cars should be a little over a foot and a half apart from each other and never touching. The hoods should also be opened and the vehicles placed in park. Lastly, put on both parking brakes, so nothing moves without warning, and turn both of the vehicles off and take the keys out of the ignition.
Step Two: Prepare the Batteries
Once the hoods are propped open and the cars are ready for the jump, locate the batteries. There should be two terminals, usually color coded and/or marked with a + and – symbol. If they look dirty, use a rag or wire brush to clean them off to make the process easier.
Step Three: Hook Up the Jumper Cables
If the battery terminals are color coded, match up the red jumper clamps to the red terminals and the black jumper clamps to the matching black terminals. If the terminals are marked with symbols, the red clamps go to the positive (+) terminals. And the black clamps go to the negative (-) terminals. Here’s the proper order to attach them: 1. Start with the red, positive cable to the dead positive terminal. 2. Next, attach the red, positive cable to the working positive terminal. 3. Third, clamp the black, negative cable to the working negative terminal. 4. And, finally, attach the black, negative cable to the dead negative terminal. Be careful when attaching the clamps! A strong current will flow through the cables and it could cause a nasty shock if not handled properly. Be sure to keep kids a safe distance away from both vehicles and away from the road. To remove the cables, start with the black, negative clamps and work backwards the order you attached them.
Step Four: Start the Working Car
Turn on the working car and let it sit for about a minute. It may take more or less time to give the battery a jump, so be patient. Once the car is jump started, drive around for a while to charge the battery. It would be a smart idea to stop by an auto parts store to have your battery tested, and some places even provide the service free of charge. If your car doesn’t start, there are a number of possibilities for the cause of the problem. Your alternator, a worn out ignition, a malfunctioning spark plug, or a corroded battery could be at fault. If there’s no one around to provide a jump, call a tow truck tech, like us here at Tow Truck Henderson, to give you a helping hand. If you found this step by step jump starter guide helpful, consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. You never know when this information could come in handy and your share may make the difference! And if you have any other important safety tips or tricks for a better jump start experience, comment below to spread the knowledge. Stay safe and good driving!