It is imperative that drivers learn the skill of jumpstarting a car. Be sure to ground the circuit and have all the cables connected to the right terminals.
It doesn’t matter the type of car you have, at any time the need to jumpstart might arise. The process of jumping a car is quite easy, but it can go south if you don’t follow through with basic precautions as stipulated.
You should replace or service your battery if you experience such battery problems that make your car to experience a leak or lose charge. However, a pro advice is to engage the services of an experienced mechanic or technician if you are not sure of what you are doing. This way you can avoid damaging both your car and the car you are using to jumpstart it.
What you need to know about jumping a car battery
- One pair of jumper cables which are high-quality and have rust-free clamps.
- Rubber gloves.
- One pair of auto-repair safety goggles rated splash-proof polycarbonate.
- Wire brush.
- A vehicle with fully charged battery voltage rated as same as one on the car to be jumped.
What you should do when jumpstarting a car
- Familiarize yourself with your car’s owner manual before you begin your jumpstart. New model cars have places where you should attach your cables, unlike the older model cars where cables are attached to the battery terminals directly. Also, some manufacturers prefer you don’t jumpstart your car at all, and if you go against this, you would be voiding your car’s warranty. Before jumpstarting some vehicles, you are required to take certain precautions like turning on the defroster or removing a fuse. All these are contained in the owner’s manual.
- Confirm that the voltage of the battery in both cars are matching before you begin jumping as if they don’t match you can seriously damage the two cars.
- Park both cars in proximity to each other to ensure the cables reach, but the two cars shouldn’t touch.
- The car with a good battery should have its engine turned off.
- Disconnect any plugged-in accessory to avoid damaging them by the power surge from the jumpstart.
- You should either place both cars in Park or neutral (make sure the parking brake is engaged).
- Turn off the radios, headlights, and turn signals (hazard lights included) in both cars.
- Remember to wear your safety goggles and rubber gloves before the jumping procedure.
What you shouldn’t do when jumpstarting your car
- Don’t lean on either of the car’s battery.
- Don’t smoke while you are jumpstarting a vehicle.
- If fluids are frozen, don’t jumpstart the battery to avoid an explosion.
- If you notice a crack in the battery or a leak, don’t jumpstart to avoid an explosion.
Your first point of call is to get to the batteries of the two cars. Some cars have their batteries tucked away in the engine area making them inaccessible. In this case, they have probably have jumpstart lugs, so locate the jumpstart lugs.
You have located either the lugs or the batteries as the case may be; examine them to ensure that you can figure out their positive and negative terminals. Usually, the positive terminal of the battery should have a (+) sign and red wires or cover as the case may be while the negative terminal would have a (-) sign alongside black wires or cover. You might need to move the terminal cover to have access to the main terminal.
If there are dirt or some corrosion on the terminals, make use of the wire brush to wipe them off.
For you to properly jumpstart your car, you would need to have a circuit path which would transfer the current from the battery with a charge to that which needs to be jump-started. For you to successfully do this, you would have to connect the cables using this order:
- Link an end of the positive jumper cable (red) to the red post (positive) of the dead car battery.
- Link the other positive (red) end of the jumper cable to the positive (red) post of the car battery which fully charged.
- Link an end of the negative –ve jumper (black) cable to black post (negative) of the car battery which is fully charged.
- Link the other negative (black) end of the jumper cable to any part of the car which is unpainted and metallic, making sure that it is as far away from the battery as can be. This is to prevent possible exploding of the dead battery and also to ground the circuit and curb sparking.
- Confirm that the cables are not in contact with any engine parts which would move when the car engine is started.
There are technically two ways to complete the process of car battery jumpstarting;
The Safe Way: This method involves starting the car to be used for the jumpstart and let it idle for about 5 to 10 minutes with the aim of charging the dead battery. After which the engine should be turned off and the cables removed in reverse order. When removing the cables, be careful not to let them touch to avoid sparking. Now try to start the car’s engine with the dead battery to see if it comes up.
The not so safe way: Power the car with its battery fully charged and let it stay idle for about 5 to 10 minutes with the aim of charging the dead battery. Now without shutting off the engine of the car used for jumpstarting, try to start the car with the dead battery. If it refuses to start, let it stay for a couple more minutes and re-try. If it still doesn’t start, adjust the positive (red) cable attached to the terminal to see if it would get a better connection. Now reattempt the jumpstart. If it powers on this time remove the cables in the opposite direction, they are attached and try to avoid them touching to prevent sparking.
Don’t forget to say thanks to the person that assisted you with jumpstarting.
Let the car with the dead battery run for about 30 minutes to allow the alternator to fully charge the battery. If however, you notice that your battery keeps losing charge, it’s time to contact a certified mechanic to diagnose the problem.