Battery Maintenance

How to Jump Start a Car Battery


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Having to jump start a car battery will require the use of another vehicle. In the absence of another vehicle you can substitute just a battery, as long as you know it is fully charged and operational. Before you begin you should really make sure that it is definitely the battery which is causing problems.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Surgical Gloves
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Jumper Cables
  • Spare Battery (charged and working), or
  • Another Vehicle

Step 1 - Preparing

Put the gloves on before you start. Lift the hood and check the placement of the battery in relation to the front of the car. You will need to pull the spare car battery starter vehicle up in front of your own vehicle, so that the jumper cables will reach to wherever the battery is. Park with enough space to walk between both cars.

Step 2 - Connections

Clean the battery terminal connections and then loosen the holding nuts so that the terminal connectors to the battery can be removed. Place them safely away from the battery.

Step 3 - Jumper Cables

You will have one black cable and one red cable. If you look on your battery terminals you will see two little signs next to them. One will have a + sign (positive) and the other will have a - sign (negative). This is the terminal which you will attach the red jumper cable to.

Step 4 - Attaching the Cables

Squeeze the handles on the crocodile clip and place it very securely onto the positive terminal. Take the other end of the cable and secure it to the positive terminal on the other car's battery. Now you can take the black jumper cable and again, squeeze the crocodile clip and place that securely over the negative terminal. The other end of the black cable can either be attached to a neutral piece of metal inside the other vehicle's engine or to the negative battery terminal. Most people favor the negative battery terminal in these cases, but the other option is perfectly viable.

Step 5 - Starting

Once both cables are firmly secured to the terminals of both batteries, start the engine of the vehicle you are using to jump start your own. Let it run for about two to three minutes to get its charge rate higher. Via the jumper cables it will then pass a charge to your own dead battery. After about three minutes, turn your own ignition key and see if it starts. Do not turn the engine over more than twice. If it fails to start, just wait a few more minutes. If your battery is in poor condition or the cells have dried out you will not get it to start or hold a charge, no matter how many times you try. If it does start straight away, leave it running for about five minutes before detaching the cables. Remember to take the cables off in reverse order. Leave your engine running for about 15 minutes.

Step 6 - Restarting

Do not remove the other vehicle away from yours unless you have restarted your engine. Turn the key and switch off the car. Wait for about one minute and then start the car. If it fires up straight away you will no longer need the assistance of the other vehicle and it can be removed. It is always a good idea to take your car for at least a 30-minute drive after jump starting it. Stay close enough to home that you can call out your spare driver and car if things go wrong.

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