If we could have one extra check added to the driving school curriculum, it would be 'how to jump start a car'. It is a simple yet very crucial life skill. And still, one too many people don’t know how to do it. But don’t worry, with our easy to follow steps, you’ll be able to master the art of jump-starting cars in no time!
Before we tell you how to jump start a car, let us first look at how you can be sure that your battery is the culprit?
How to Tell If Your Battery Is Dead:
It's super easy to determine whether or not it is your car battery that is acting up. If you turn your car’s ignition on and hear the engine’s crank, then your issue isn’t a dead battery. So, your knowledge on how to jump start a car can’t get you out of this pickle. However, if you turn the key and nothing happens at all, then the battery is likely dead. It is your chance to flex your newly-acquired car jump starting skills.
There are, of course, some precautions you should take when you are jump-starting or teaching somebody, how to jump start a car. So, here are the ones we think you should know:
Safety Precautions To Follow When Jump Starting A Car:
1. Although you might have managed to get your car to start, for now, you will need to recharge your car’s battery for it to be fully useable. We recommend getting a high-quality charger and letting your battery charge for a few hours.
2. Right after you have jump-started your car, drive it for around 30 minutes to recharge the battery a little. Do not do this in a heavy traffic zone.
3. Before you use the jump leads or start up the battery, check for any clear signs of damage on them. If you find any, stop right here and contact a professional. If the jump leads have any exposed wires, replace them. Do not attempt to cover these with electric tape.
4. Remove any metal jewellery you are wearing, and be careful not to let anything come in contact with the battery terminals.
5. Examine to ensure that your jumper cables are free of rust and corrosion.
6. In case your car fluids have frozen, do not jump start your battery, as it can explode.
7. Keep the cable ends away from each other and ensure that nobody touches the hood area of the car.
8. Set your car’s parking brakes.
So, now you have established your battery is the culprit, and you also know all the safety precautions. It is time to move on to the next step.
How To Jump Start A Car In 10 Easy Steps:
1. Start by turning off any electrical systems or devices in your vehicle. These include the lights, the radio, the media player, the sat-nav system, etc. Try lowering the driver’s window too.
2. Park your car as close as possible to the second vehicle so that the jump leads can comfortably reach from one battery to the other. Make sure the vehicles are not touching each other.
3. Ensure that neither vehicle is on. Remove the ignition key once you’ve shut both the cars down.
4. Take the red jump lead and attach it to the positive terminal of the flat battery. You can identify the positive terminal by checking for a plus symbol on it. It might also have a red plastic cover that you’ll need to pull back to access the terminal.
5. Now attach the other end of this red jump to the positive terminal on the live battery of the second car.
6. Next, get the black jump lead. Connect one end of this to the negative terminal on the healthy battery.
7. The other end of this black jump lead will serve as the earthing cable. You need to attach it to a good earth point on the broken-down vehicle. Any solid metal part of the engine should be good to go.
8. Turn the second vehicle on.
9. Finally, turn the ignition in your car. It might take a few attempts. But if it still does not work, then you may have to solve the issue some other way.
10. However, if it starts, let both vehicles run for a few minutes. Pat yourself on the back because you’ve just mastered how to jump start a car!
But you're not exactly done yet. You’ll still need to get rid of the jump leads, and no, you can't just rip them out.
How To Detach The Jump Leads:
Removing the cables carelessly can cause serious damage to the electrical components of both cars. The proper way to do this is to switch off the ignition on both vehicles. And then remove the cables in the reverse order of attaching them. In case you’ve forgotten that, follow these steps:
1. Carefully disconnect the black negative jumper cable clamp from the chassis/terminal of your vehicle or of any car that received the jump.
2. Disconnect the other end of this negative black jump lead from the negative terminal of the second vehicle, or whichever vehicle had the live battery.
3. Remove the red positive jumper cable from the positive terminal of the working battery.
4. Lastly, disconnect the positive red jump cable clamp from the car that had the dead battery.
And, just like that, you’re done!
If a dead car battery is a recurring issue for you, then just knowing how to jump start a car isn’t going to benefit you for long. To avoid the stress of a dead battery repeatedly, we advise that you figure out the problem and solve it permanently.
So, what are some common and uncommon reasons why your car battery might be dead?
Reasons Why Your Car Battery Dies:
1. You leave the headlights, interior lights, or other electrical components on when you turn the car off. Most modern vehicles have headlights that automatically turn off in case you forget them. However, older cars’ headlights keep running until they drain the battery.
2. Another cause for battery failure is using the fan and other electric devices without switching the car on.
3. Leaving your vehicle in storage for too long will also drain its battery. Therefore, whenever you pick your car up after not having used it for a long time, we recommend you take a battery pack and our how to jump start a car guide with you.
4. Your battery needs regular maintenance. So, remember to check all the connections and components to make sure they’re not corroded or loose. It messes with the battery’s ability to transmit power.
5. Extreme weather is another common culprit behind battery troubles. Cold winter and hot summer days can both cause problems for your vehicle’s battery. The issues are more likely to occur if your battery is old.
Knowing how to jump start a car is a vital life skill that can get you out of many unfortunate incidents. Despite being so important, not many people take the time to learn it. This guide breaks down the process into ten easy steps to help you jump-start your vehicle! If you still need further advice please browse our car service and repair network.