Leave your vehicle’s lights on all night? Battery getting old? If your car has a dead battery, you’ll need a jump start. With a few tools, a helping friend, and this guide, you’ll be able to jump start your vehicle and be back on the road!
What you’ll need:
- Jumper cables
- Owner’s manual
- Donor car with working battery
- Work gloves (optional)
- These instructions! (Print this blog and keep a copy in your glove box for reference)
Before you get started, check these things. Refer to your owner’s manual for any information about jump starting your vehicle. Some cars with sensitive electrical systems have specific recommendations, or advise against a jump start. Make sure your battery isn’t dry, frozen, cracked, or leaking – if it is, you should not jump start your car. If you see corrosion on your battery, clean it off with a wire brush first. Corrosion can disrupt the flow of electrons in the battery. Gather your tools and find a helping friend with a working battery.
Now you’re ready! Follow these steps:
1. Open the hood. Some cars have an extra safety latch that you have to release to fully open the hood. If needed, check your owner’s manual for detailed directions on how to open the hood.
2. Identify the battery terminals. If you have trouble locating your battery, refer to your owner’s manual. Your battery will have two terminals, one positive + (usually red) and one negative – (usually black). These should have plastic covers that open to expose the metal terminal beneath. Likewise, your jumper cables will have a positive clamp (usually red) and a negative clamp (usually black).
3. Park the donor car near the dead car so that the jumper cables can reach both batteries. Once parked and before connecting the cables, TURN OFF the vehicle.
Note: Before you start connecting the jumper cables, keep in mind you’re dealing with electricity and use caution. Never let the clamps touch each other from the time you start connecting cables to the time you’ve removed the last clamp.
4. Connect a positive clamp to the dead battery’s positive terminal post. You want this connection to be as solid as possible. Jumper cable clamps usually have metal teeth to grip the post.
5. Connect the other end of the jumper cable to the donor car’s working battery. (Remember, the car should be OFF). First, connect the positive clamp to the positive + terminal post.
6. Next, connect the negative clamp to the negative – terminal on the donor vehicle. Make sure you use the same end of the jumper cable – Each end of the cable has a positive and negative clamp. One end should connect to your vehicle, the other should connect to the donor vehicle.
7. Take the remaining negative clamp and attach it to a metal surface on the main engine block. A metal nut or bolt on the chassis is usually a good option. Don’t connect to the painted body of the car, instead find a solid surface inside. This works to ground it to the chassis, and should be farther away from the battery.
8. After all the connections are secure, you’re ready to jump start! Turn on the donor car and let it run for a 3-5 minutes. Try starting your car – if it doesn’t start the first time, wait a few more minutes and try again.
9. Once your car starts, let it run for a few minutes to further charge the battery. After it has charged, turn off both cars. Remove the clamps in the reverse order that you put them on.
10. Drive your vehicle for a minimum of 20 minutes before shutting off the engine again to allow the battery to charge.
If the battery does not charge enough, you may need another jump start. If you are finding a dead battery and needing to jump start your vehicle often, stop by to have your battery tested. If the jump start does not work, you might have a bigger problem – it may be the alternator, ignition switch, or electrical components. Call our shop for help at 847-562-5690 or schedule an inspection.