Tips To Jump-Start a Car
It’s easy to jump-start a car, but you have to be cautious because of the battery. Although you wouldn’t get anything like a massive electric shock, there is the risk of the car catching fire if poor wiring overheats or arcing and sparks come into contact with fumes. It’s important to know how to connect your battery to another car’s for your safety so here is a really simple step by step guide on how to jump-start a car.
Make sure you always carry car jump starter cables. It’s not enough to dig out any sort of cable and hope for the best. Car jumper cables are specially used for the task. They have thick cabling, strong metal clamps with gripping teeth and insulating covering. A good brand will come with a handy schematic to show how to use them as well as a bag for easy storing.
Bearing in mind the position of the battery in each car, park the car with the strong battery near to the one with the dead battery leaving enough room to move between them. Secure each handbrake and switch off the engine and all other electrical equipment including the radio, air-con, and lights. If the cars are safely parked, switch off the hazard warning lights too.
Open each car’s hood to reach the battery and its terminals. In some cars, the battery is hidden and instead there will be a housing with remote positive (+) and negative (-) links designed for jump-starting. Some modern cars have a negative wireless link but it’s usual to reach the battery and the terminals with a cable.
Run the jump cables from car to car but rest the ends on the ground. Jumper cables come with colored cables. Red for positive, black for negative. Each car needs the ends of its cables to be one of each.
When you hook up the cables hold them securely so there’s no chance of them falling into the engine compartment where the heavy clamps can damage sensitive components.
Each terminal is either red positive (+) or black negative (-). Always hook up positive first. Clamp the positive (red) at the positive battery terminal on the dead battery. To provide a good electrical connection, make sure the clamp bites down on the battery terminal. If there is corrosion or dirt on the terminal, rotate the clamp’s jaws to slice through it.
Repeat with connecting the negative cable to the negative terminal so you have a red and a black cable clamped to the battery. It is essential that the metal ends don’t touch each other or any metal. This will produce dangerous sparks and arcing. It is harder than it looks when there’s so much that could be made of metal under the hood. If there’s someone available to help ask them to focus on keeping the ends of cables apart so you move between the two vehicles safely.
Repeat the process for the car receiving the charge.
Make a final check to make sure there are no shifting engine pieces around the jumper cables, and then turn over the engine in the donor car. Let it run on idle for a few minutes to build up a decent charge.
Start the car with the dead battery and let the two cars idle.
Once you are sure the jump-started engine is going to keep going, turn off the donor car engine and disconnect its jumper cables and before disconnecting the cables from the other battery at the other end too.
Run the jump-started vehicle for at least 20 minutes for the alternator to recharge the battery.
If the battery you have jumped is more than three years old think about having it checked or replaced. Generally speaking, the older the battery, the longer it takes to charge but recently the technology has changed and these cars have to be jump-started differently.
Jump starting an older car is very simple and really anyone can do it. As far as the cables go, it’s just remembering ‘like to like, healthy to sick’. Perhaps it’s not the mechanics of the job that puts people off. Perhaps it’s the idea of getting a shock and lighting up like a bulb. Rest easy. A 12-volt battery can’t hurt you. The voltage is way too low. Think of jump-starting a car as creating a simple electric circuit like the ones you built in elementary school. It’s that easy.
Once you know how to jump-start a car you will never unlearn it. Hopefully, as technology moves on, you may never need it so if nothing else, know how to jump-start a car quickly and safely and impress the neighbors.