If you're looking for how to jumpstart a vehicle, here's what you need to know exactly:
- Prepare the necessary tools, including a jump cable and a power source
- Familiarize yourself with the battery’s different terminals
- Put both vehicles in park and engage the parking brakes
- Connect the jump cable to your vehicle’s battery and the power source in the right order
- Let the other vehicle run the engine for a couple of minutes
- Start your car's engine
A dead battery is a very common problem that many drivers face, especially those living in colder environments. Having the right equipment and learning how to jumpstart your vehicle can get you out of a very frustrating scenario where the battery is dead, and you don't have any close help.
Many drivers understand that they should have some safety equipment like jump cables in their vehicles. However, very few know how to use these cables. Thus, this article provides you with all details you need to know about how to jumpstart a vehicle. The article targets beginners who have never done a jumpstart before to help them perform the process successfully without any hassle.
How to jumpstart a vehicle?
When your vehicle's battery dies, the situation can be stressful enough, making it hard to remember how exactly to jumpstart a vehicle. Therefore, it's recommended that you learn the process and get yourself prepared for any emergencies.
The good news is that learning how to jumpstart a vehicle is not a complicated process and involves very simple steps, and once you do it one time, you shouldn't have a problem doing it the second time.
Let's take a closer look at how to jumpstart a vehicle:
Prepare all necessary tools
Before we dive into the details about how to jumpstart a vehicle, it's important to make sure that you have all the necessary tools ready and saved in your vehicle for cases of emergencies.
For example, you will need jumper cables. These cables are available at many stores, and you can find them on larger online platforms like Amazon. These cables are usually very thick and come with two toothy clips at the end. These clips are called alligator clips because they look like an alligator mouth. It's important to distinguish between the different colors of the cables because the black cable usually represents the negative side of the battery. In contrast, the red cable represents the positive side of the battery.
Depending on the type of jumpstart cable, you will need a power source. The power source could be another jump battery, or it can be another vehicle. Have you ever seen a driver trying to jumpstart his vehicle while having another vehicle with the hood open trying to help? That's when the driver uses a power source from a second vehicle. Other drivers might rely on a certain battery box where you don't need a second driver or second vehicle as a source of power. These boxes have their jump cables, and they might look a little different than the Super jump cable that relies on a second vehicle as a source of power.
Most insurance companies who provide roadside assistance usually rely on the box batteries and do not use a second vehicle as a source of power when jumpstarting any vehicle stuck on the road.
Familiarize yourself with the vehicles
For connecting any jump cables, you must understand the different components of your vehicle's battery, so you connect the right cables to the right terminals.
The most important thing you need to be aware of is the battery terminal, a large nub. In every battle, there are two terminals distinguished clearly to help you connect the right jump cable to the high terminal; otherwise, the circuit will not be complete, and you won't be able to charge the battery successfully:
- The negative terminal
The negative terminal is usually marked with either a “NEG” or “_” sign. This terminal must be connected to the black jump cable.
- The positive terminal
The positive terminal is usually marked with either a “POS” or “+” sign. This terminal must be connected to the red Jump cable.
Park the vehicles
Before connecting the jump cable between your car and the power source vehicle, it's important to ensure that both vehicles are set to park while engaging the parking brakes for safety. You don't want any of the vehicles to move during the process of jumpstarting the vehicle.
Connect the right terminals
Take out the jumper cable from your vehicle's trunk and connected it to the right terminals. As we indicated earlier, the black jump cables should be connected to the negative terminal, and the jump cable should be connected to the positive terminal.
It is important to follow a certain order when connecting the jump cable to your battery and the other vehicle’s battery. Here's what you need to do exactly:
- Start with connecting one of the red clips to your vehicle’s positive terminal.
- Then, use the second red clip and connected it to the other vehicle’s battery positive terminal.
- After that, connect the black clip to the other vehicle’s battery negative terminal.
- Finally, connected the last black clip to the unpainted metal in your vehicle. Many automotive experts recommend using the metal struts you use to keep your vehicle's hood open.
Let the power source vehicle run for a couple of minutes
Once everything is connected properly, start the power source vehicle and let it run for a couple of minutes. During this time, the power source vehicle will start charging your vehicle's battery. After a couple of minutes, try starting your car and see if the battery got the necessary charge to get the vehicle started.
Your car did not start, allow the other vehicle to turn for an additional couple of minutes. Sometimes the battery or the vehicle might have another major problem that is not resolved using a jumpstart. If that's the case, you might need to consult a professional mechanic and have your vehicles within your repair shop to look closely at the culprit components. For example, a faulty alternator or starter motor might be causing the issue and preventing your vehicle from starting. Unfortunately, if that's the case, the only solution is to replace the alternator or the starter motor because there's no simple workaround to get your vehicle started while having such a problem.
Which car do you put jumper cables on first?
As we indicated earlier, jumpstarting a vehicle should be done in a certain order, and failing to follow this order might cause many undesirable troubles. You need to start by connecting the red cable to your vehicle’s positive terminal. Keep in mind that you need to start with connecting the vehicle that does not work. Then, you can connect the positive terminal to the other vehicle that has a working battery.
After connecting the red terminals, you can connect the negative terminal to the battery of the working vehicle. Finally, you need to connect the last black terminal to the unpainted metal component of your vehicle's hood.
Why don't you connect the negative when jumping a car?
As you might notice, when connecting the junk able to your vehicle’s battery, you never want to connect the negative terminal to your non-working battery. If you do so, you can cause many sparks that could result in some flammable gas, which puts your life at risk.
Flammable gases like hydrogen gas can cause explosive situations, which can be extremely dangerous for you and the people and the properties around you.
Why should you not jumpstart a car?
What's make sure that we're clear on this question. You're not recommended to jumpstart the vehicle if you don't know-how. However, once you learn how to do it properly, you should be able to do it without any concern, and you are encouraged to do it, so you don't get yourself stuck anywhere without any help.
Connecting the jumper cable to the wrong terminals can cause many risks for yourself and the people around you. Therefore, you went to the 100% comfortable that you can do with the jumpstart process and follow the mentioned step-by-step procedure to prevent any risks.
Why does my battery spark when I try to jump it?
Dealing with a spark when jumpstarting a vehicle indicates that you've connected the wrong terminals, or you probably connected the negative terminal to our non-working battery.
As we indicated before, jumpstarting a vehicle requires connecting the cables in a certain order and never connecting the negative cable to your non-working batteries' negative terminal.
If you've followed the procedure properly, you shouldn't have any issue with battery sparks.
If, for any reason, you notice that you're very is creating some sparks, you must stop the jump process immediately because there is a very high chance that you might deal with explosions in a very short time frame. If the jumpstart process didn't seem straightforward for you and you still see these battery parks, you must consult a professional mechanic instead and have him perform the jumpstart for you instead of risking your life.
Does jumping someone's car hurt?
Many people feel concerned about giving some help to others looking for jumpstarting their vehicles here, and the concern is valid, and you're not recommended to jumpstart someone else’s car if he or you don't know how the process should be done.
Any mistakes in connecting the wrong terminals can hurt your vehicle without hurting you and the other driver.
Therefore, when someone reaches out for help needing to jumpstart their vehicles, you want to make sure they know what they're doing. At least you’re comfortable jumping starting the vehicle because you have a certain knowledge probably by reading through this article.
Can a completely that battery be recharged?
The good news is that the jump cable can get your vehicle's battery, that's why even if it's completely depleted. However, if the battery has a problem and does not hold a charge, you might need to jumpstart the vehicle every time you turn it off.
Therefore, we don't recommend relying on jumpstarts as a permanent solution for problematic batteries. Instead, you need to have the vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.
Dealing with a dead battery starting your morning in a very cold environment. Luckily, some simple workarounds help your vehicle get back to life easily without meeting help from a professional mechanic.
Learning how to jumpstart a vehicle is an important skillset that you might need to use at some point in your vehicle's lifetime. This article only needs to know how to jumpstart the vehicle even if you don't have any previous experience.
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