Everyone who owns a vehicle should know how to jump-start a car. With a bit of knowledge and a few simple tips, you won’t be left stranded.
A Few Words of Caution
Heed these tips before you begin the jump-start process:
- Examine the battery first. If it’s cracked, leaking, or frozen, don’t attempt to jump it.
- Check the terminals for corrosion, and clean off any white or green powder you see with a wire brush to increase the chance of a successful jump.
- Don’t allow jumper cable clamps to touch once you begin hooking them up.
Step-by-Step Guide to Jump-starting a Car
- Park the helper car as close as possible to the one needing a jump, and turn off the engine.
- Attach the red clamp to the positive terminal of the dead
- Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the good
- Attach the black clamp to the negative terminal of the good
- Attach the other black clamp to a solid, unpainted metal surface of the car with the dead Some models have a grounding bolt in the engine block placed specifically for this purpose.
- Start the helper car’s engine. Then, start the car with the dead battery. Note: If the engine doesn’t turn over right away, wait two minutes to allow the battery to build a sufficient charge.
- Once the jumped car is running at a smooth idle, disconnect the cables in the reverse order in which you attached them—remove the black clamp from the jumped car, the black clamp from the helper car, the red clamp from the helper car, and the red clamp from the jumped car.
- Drive for 20 to 30 minutes to let the dead battery recharge before you turn off the car. Then, park in a safe, open area in case you need to jump the car again. If so, consider this a sign that you should replace the battery.
Jumping a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle
With a growing number of hybrid and electric cars on the road, more people wonder how to jump-start these vehicles. The process is similar to jumping a gas-powered car. Still, it’s important to note that hybrids and EVs have two batteries—a 12-volt battery, like the one in a gas car, and a more robust battery to power the electric motor. Many manufacturers install the 12-volt battery in unusual places, so refer to the owner’s manual for guidance before attempting the jumpstart.
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