It’s 6am, you’re getting ready to leave for work… and your car doesn’t start. You’ve just realized, you left the car lights on and now the battery is dead. What now?
As a vehicle owner, one of the most important skills to know is how to jump-start your vehicle. Whether it’s because you left the headlights on overnight or your battery is simply old aged, your car’s battery will eventually die. Luckily, there are tools that will help you jump start your battery… you can get on the road again and have your battery inspected.
How to safely Jump Start your vehicle
Giving your vehicle a jump start is a fairly safe and simple process… the equipment you’ll need can be bought at an affordable price at any automotive store or online.
What you will need:
- Jumper Cables
- Another vehicle
- (Alternative) Jump Box & Cables
Jumper Cables are electrical cables that connect two individual power sources to each other via Direct Current (DC). Jumper Cables come in a variety of lengths, for casual use, at least 20 feet should be enough. The cables are generally colored red & black… red indicating a positive polarity (‘+’ or “POS) and black indicating negative (‘-‘ or “NEG”). At the end of the cables are clamps, sometimes called “Alligator Clips,” these clamps will attach onto the positive & negative terminals on your battery and the battery of the other vehicle… we’ll get into that later.
A Jump Box, is a portable battery that you can use as a power source for the jump start. A Jump Box comes with special jumper cables to connect directly to your battery. A Jump Box is an extremely useful tool to own and can save you the hassle of attempting to find another vehicle to provide a jump.
The Car Battery
The first, most important, step to jump any vehicle… is to know where your car battery is located and what it looks like…Most car batteries are located in the front of the driver’s side of the vehicle, under the engine hood… in some vehicles, the battery is located in the trunk of the vehicle. If you’re unsure of where the car battery is, refer to the vehicle’s owner manual.
The car battery itself have two terminals, one is positive, the other is negative.
The positive terminal is generally the larger of the two terminals, is identified by a “POS” or “+” symbol. The positive terminal is where you’ll be attaching the RED positive clamp from the Jumper Cables.
The negative terminal should be identified by a “NEG” or “-” symbol.
Once you’ve found your car battery, make sure to inspect it. Make sure there is no corrosion, leaking, or visible damage to the battery. If your battery does have visible signs of damage or anything of the sort, it’s advised NOT to Jump your vehicle… jumping could result in additional unwanted damage. The best options in this case are either calling a tow service or replacing the battery yourself.
Using your Jumper Cables
When you’ve located the battery and ensured everything is intact, the next step is to attach the Jumper Cables to the correct terminals of your battery and the helper vehicle.
First align both vehicles so the jumper cables can reach both batteries. Put both vehicles in park and the helper vehicle should be turned off.
Open the hoods of both vehicles and locate the batteries. After you’ve located the batteries, it’s time to use your Jumper Cables.
It is important to note, DO NOT LET THE CLAMPS OF THE CABLES TOUCH EACH OTHER AT ANY POINT.
First, we’ll set up the dead battery. You’ll take the Red Clamp of the jumper cables and attach it onto the “POS” or “+” terminal. Next, you’ll attach the Black Clamp onto the “NEG” or “-” terminal.
After you’ve attached the cables onto your dead battery, perform the same actions onto the battery of the 2nd vehicle.
First, the Red Clamp will attach onto the positive terminal and then the Black clamp will be attached onto the negative terminal.
When the jumper cables are attached to the appropriate terminals, turn on the helper vehicle. Let the vehicle idle for a couple of minutes.
After a few minutes, try turning on some lights or starting the dead vehicle. If the vehicle starts, congratulations, you’ve successfully jumped a vehicle!
Unhook the jumper cables in the opposite order you attached them. Black clamp removed first, then Red Clamp… on both vehicles.
If the vehicle does not turn over, try a couple of more times… if still no success, your battery may need to be replaced.
If you still need help, you should call a local towing service like Trolling Towing! We offer complete roadside assistance including jump start services 24 hours a day across the entire Denver metro area.