How to Jumpstart Car Battery | Jumper Cables

How to jumpstart a car battery with jumper cables? Jump starting your battery yourself requires some tools & knowledge, this guide will help you need to know!

If your battery has died, you may be able to use jumper cables to jump start it from some good Samaritan’s vehicle. If you can safely use jumper cables on your vehicle, make sure that the battery on the good Samaritan’s vehicle has at least as much voltage as your own. As long as you hook up the cables properly, it doesn’t matter whether your vehicle has negative ground and the GS’s vehicle has positive ground, or your vehicle has an alternator and the GS’s vehicle has a generator.

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WARNING!
If either vehicle has an electronic ignition system or is an alternatively fueled vehicle, the use of jumper cables may damage it.

To safely jump a start, follow these steps:

  1. Take out your jumper cables.It’s a good idea to buy a set of jumper cables and keep them in the trunk compartment. If you don’t have jumper cables, you have to find a good Samaritan who not only is willing to assist you but who has jumper cables as well.
  2. Place both vehicles in Park or Neutral and shut off the ignition in both cars.Engage both parking brakes as well.
  3. Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery.It has “POS” or “+” on it, or it’s bigger than the negative terminal.
  4. Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other car.
  5. Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the other battery.
  6. Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery.Use one of the metal struts that holds the hood open.The cables should look like this.

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Make sure to connect jumper cables in the proper order.

  1. Start the working vehicle and let the engine run for a few minutes.
  2. Try to start your vehicle.If it won’t start, make sure that the cables are properly connected and have the good Samaritan run his or her engine for five minutes. Then try to start your car again. If it still won’t start, your battery may be beyond help.

If the jump works and your car starts, don’t shut off your engine! Drive around for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery. If the car won’t start the next time you use it, the battery isn’t holding a charge and needs to be replaced.

How To Jump Start A Car

Your car battery is an essential piece of your vehicle, providing one of the most important functionalities: starting the car. In most traditional vehicle types - that is, cars that run on gasoline - the battery is an SLI, a starting, lighting, and ignition battery. It’s primarily used to start the engine, but also powers auxiliary components of the automobile including the lights and radio. Once the engine is running, the majority of the energy used to power your car is generated by its alternator. But turning the car on is an essential function of the car battery, a function without which the car is rendered pretty useless. When you turn the key and hear some sputtering, or maybe nothing at all, but the engine fails to start, a dead battery is probably the culprit.

A variety of things can cause your battery to die: cold weather, leaving your lights on for too long, or of course, an old or dysfunctional battery. Regardless, a [jump start]# can sometimes do the trick to solve all your battery troubles - or at least get your car started so you can drive it off to the mechanic’s shop and figure out what the bigger issue is. Jump starting your battery yourself requires some special tools and a little bit of knowledge - but never fear, this guide will tell you everything you need to know!

Before you attempt to jump-start your vehicle, take a moment to gather a few pieces of information. Read your vehicle’s manual, specifically any sections related to jump-starts or your car battery. Certain car manufacturers recommend not jump-starting the car, or some may offer you special instructions related to your specific model. Make sure you know where your car’s battery is. In most vehicles, it’s in the front of the car, under the hood, with the engine. But in some models, the battery is located in the trunk. Often, if this is the case, there will be designated terminals under the hood for use in case of a jump start. Take a look at the battery to[ identify the positive and negative terminals]. Each terminal should be clearly marked with a + (plus) sign for positive and a - (minus) sign for negative. It is vital to know which is which, as it’s important to ensure the batteries are connected properly in order to execute a successful jump-start and avoid a dangerous accident.

A set of jumper cables should have one red cable and one black. The colors are important indicators of where to attach the cables. In any electrical system, electrical energy flows from the negative terminal of a battery to the positive through a system of wires, powering something - in this case, the vehicle’s starter - along the way. In order to allow for a jump start to working properly, one must ensure that the correct terminals are being connected. The red cable will always represent the side that should be attached to the positive terminal, and the black should be attached to the negative terminal. [Don’t touch the jumper cable clamps to anything but the intended target.]

You can jump-start a car either using a portable jump starter or with the help of another vehicle.

In either case, begin by ensuring all involved vehicles and tools are turned off. To be safe, remove your keys from the ignition entirely. Take caution that there is nothing flammable nearby. Though uncommon, sparks, fires, and even explosions are possible when jump-starting a car. Car batteries and jump starter packs contain high voltages of electricity, and while jump starters and cables are designed to reduce the risk of improper usage, accidents can happen under certain circumstances.

Here’s how to use jumper cables if you’re jump-starting your car with the help of another car:

First, identify where each car’s battery is. In most vehicles, the battery is with the engine. Then park the cars close enough together that you’ll be able to connect jumper cables to both cars’ batteries. Be careful, however, that no parts of either car are touching the other. This is important to prevent any flow of electrical current between the vehicles other than through the jumper cables. Both cars should be put into the park and powered off to begin the process. Notice again which terminal on each battery is positive, and which is negative. Then, attach the jumper cables to the appropriate places. The positive (red) cable should be attached to the positive terminals on each battery. The negative (black) cable should have one end attached to the negative terminal of the dead battery, and one end grounded.

The safest order to attach the jumper cables is as follows:

  1. Attach one red jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
  2. Attach the other end of the same cable, the second red jumper cable clamp, to the positive terminal on the working (live) car battery.
  3. Attach one black jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the working (live) car’s battery.
  4. Attach the other end of that cable, the second black jumper cable clamp, to an unpainted piece of stationary metal on the car with the dead battery. Do not attach this clamp to the negative terminal on the dead car’s battery.

Though some may say it’s alright to attach the last negative jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery, this increases the risk of fire or explosion if the jump start doesn’t go as planned. Try to find somewhere [away from the battery], to decrease the potential of sparks igniting any hydrogen gas that could be coming from the battery. Safer options include the car’s chassis, a bolt on the engine, the alternator bracket, or a designated grounding terminal away from the battery.

Next, start the car with a live battery. [This will immediately start charging the dead battery.] In some cases, the car with the dead battery will be able to be started immediately, but in others, it will need some time to charge. Allow the engine to run for a couple of minutes in order to allow electrical current to flow from the working battery to the dead one. Then, attempt to start the car with the dead battery. Turn the key to start and hold for a few seconds, but no longer than that. You may want to try this a couple of times. If your jump-start was successful, the engine should spring to life. Depending on the cause of your dead battery, you may want to have the car immediately looked at. In other circumstances, your car may be okay after the jump start. Driving the car for a while will help to recharge the battery.

The last step is to disconnect the jumper cables. This ought to be performed in the reverse order that they were connected to. Don’t touch the cables to anything else until they’ve all been disconnected, or you risk sending an electrical current somewhere you may not want one!

Thus, it’s best to do this in the following order:

  1. Disconnect the negative (black) jumper cable clamp from the chassis/terminal on the car that received the jump start
  2. Disconnect the negative (black) jumper cable clamp from the working battery’s negative terminal
  3. Disconnect the positive (red) jumper cable clamp from the working battery’s positive terminal
  4. Disconnect the positive (red) jumper cable clamp from the car that received the jump start

Congrats, you’ve jump-started your vehicle! Be sure to thank the good samaritan, friend, family member, or neighbor who helped you out by letting you use their live battery!

If, however, your jump start doesn’t work, and you find yourself turning the key in the ignition over and over again without the engine turning on, you may have a larger problem at hand. In this case, it’s best to have a mechanic look at the car or to have it towed somewhere it can be serviced.

Here’s what to do if you’re jump-starting your car with a portable jump starter:

Portable jump starters, battery packs, and [jump boxes] are often small enough to be carried around in your car, stowed away in the glove box or trunk just in case you need them. Be sure to read their instructions, however, as not all are suitable to be stored in the high temperatures that cars can reach in the summertime heat. As with using another car to administer your jump-start, the jump starter should be off when you begin the process. Your car and it’s auxiliary features should also be off.

Many portable jump start devices and chargers come with two clamps that are permanently connected to the tool. There should be one positive (red) clamp and one negative (black) clamp. Keep them separate, to help avoid the possibility of a spark. If the cables are not connected, you will connect them to the jump starter, while both jump starter and car are still off, ensuring the positive (red) cable is connected to the positive terminal and the negative (black) cable is connected to the negative terminal of the portable jump starter.

Connect the clamp on the red jumper cable to the positive terminal on your car battery, and the black one to either an unpainted piece of metal in the engine or directly to your car’s chassis (the frame of the vehicle). Don’t attach the negative (black) clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery. It is important to connect the cables in that order, and it is safest to connect the negative (black) clamp as far from the battery as possible, in order to reduce the risk of sparking that could cause a fire or explosion.

Once the cables are properly connected, power on the jump starter. Then, attempt to start the vehicle. Turn the key in the ignition to start, and hold for a couple of seconds if necessary. If a couple of seconds doesn’t start the car, give the battery pack a few minutes to cool down and prepare itself before making another attempt. This increases the amount of energy that will be given to your battery in an attempt to start the vehicle.

If the jump start is successful, you should hear your engine turn over and begin to run on its own. Congratulations! You can now disconnect the jump starter cables. First, remove the negative (black) cable from the car, then remove the positive (red) cable from the battery terminal. Depending on the cause of your dead battery, you may want to have the car immediately looked at. In other circumstances, your car may be okay after the jump start. Driving the car for a while will help to recharge the battery.

If, however, your jump start doesn’t work, and you find yourself turning the key in the ignition over and over again without the engine turning on, you may have a larger problem at hand. In this case, it’s best to have a mechanic look at the car or to have it towed somewhere it can be serviced.

Hopefully, this guide was helpful in showing what to do (and what NOT to do) when attempting to jump-start a car. If for any reason you do not feel confident that you can safely perform the jump start, it’s best to call professionals. Of course (shameless plug) Urgent.ly is always happy to lend a hand.

How Long Does It Take To Jump A Car

The “jumping” actually takes only as long as it takes to turn the key or switch on the ignition. A few seconds is all that it takes to jump a car. That is if the only thing wrong with the car you’re jumping is a discharged battery.

In some cases, it takes two or three attempts at “jumping” before the engine starts. How long that will take depends on you, the driver. But, if after the 3rd attempt, the battery is still dead as a dodo, stop at three because the reason why the engine won’t start may not be the battery but something else. Continuing to jumpstart the battery can result in damage, not only to the battery but also to the car’s electrical system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to jump a car without another car?

It is one of the worst nightmares in the world. You wake up late because you did not hear the alarm, get ready in a matter of minutes, and even skip breakfast so you won’t be late for work. You get into your car; turn on the ignition and nothing. The battery is dead.

What will you do now? Do you call a cab? Or go look for your neighbor to help you with their car so you can use their battery to jump-start yours?

Unfortunately, this is a situation that has happened to almost everyone who owns a car. The amount of time it takes to get that neighbor to come out and help you feels like forever.

While this is not an ideal situation seeing that you are already late, it could be worse. You can find that everybody has already left for work and no one is around to help. Or it can happen in the evening when you are working late and everybody else has left you behind.

So, what do you do when you can’t find jumper cables and another car to jump-start your battery?

There are 2 methods to do so. Both methods are described below:

Method 1: Use a Jump Box

If you can’t find someone to help you with the original jumpstarting method, you will have to use these two other alternatives.

Some people call it a jump box, others a battery pack but every driver should own one.

Well, a jump box is simply a small battery that holds enough power and you can use it to charge other electronic devices. It comes with its own jumper cables and instructions on how to connect to the dead battery. It is also known as a jump starter.

What this means is that you can now jump-start your car battery without calling anybody to help you. Even if you are in the middle of nowhere, the battery pack will sort your battery issues right up.

Advantages of A Jump Box

  • The battery is very small usually 3” by 5” so you can easily put it on the glove compartment
  • It can start a 12V engine
  • It retains its charge for a full 3 months and it has an indicator to alert you when the charge is down
  • You can use it to charge your mobile devices as well
  • It’s convenient and cheaper than buying a new battery
  • It works for all types of transmissions

Method 2: Push Starting

The push-starting method only works on manual transmission vehicles because of the clutch.

As the name suggests, somebody needs to push the car from behind so it can start moving even if the engine is not on. The movement will help it gain a little momentum which will trigger the engine to work.

  • Set the ignition key on but not fully. You don’t want to fully start the engine by fully turning the key so just turn it a little to the right.
  • set the car into gear 2
  • Step on the clutch and depress it along with the brakes.
  • Once someone has started to push the car, release the brakes so the vehicle can move but keep the clutch depressed.
  • Let the car move a bit and then release the clutch as well. The transmission will turn the engine over at this point and cause it to start.
  • Once the engine starts, it will charge the battery so the car will continue running.
  • You can step on the clutch and release again and again if it doesn’t work the first time.

2. How to jump start a manual car?

The most common way to push start a vehicle is to put the manual transmission in second gear, switching the ignition to on/run, depressing the clutch, and pushing the vehicle until it is at a speed of 5 to 10 mph (8 to 16 km/h) or more, then quickly engaging the clutch to make the engine rotate and start while keeping the gas pedal partially depressed, then quickly disengaging the clutch so it does not stall.

References

References
  1. https://batterymanguide.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-jump-a-car-battery/
  2. https://carcolonel.com/how-to-jumpstart-a-car-without-another-car/