How to Use Jumper Cables to Jump-start a Car
Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere due to a car that does not turn on is the stuff of nightmares none of us wants to experience. But, it often happens that we leave our car’s headlights or inner lights on by mistake and find the battery completely drained the following day! In such situations, jump-starting can help you solve this problem.
Jump-starting your car’s battery yourself would indeed require a little bit of knowledge and some special tools to perform the activity. So, if you have found yourself wondering, “how do you connect jumper cables,” we are here to help! Stay prepared for such emergencies and learn how to use jumper cables to start a dead vehicle from us.
What Are Jumper Cables Used For?
Jumper cables, also called booster cables, are insulated wires of a standard capacity with alligator clips at both ends. These interconnect the disabled equipment or a dead vehicle with an ancillary source. These cables come in pairs that can be connected to a car battery and another energy source. These energy sources can be any vehicle or batteries with the same voltage as the car needing the jump-start.
Steps to Jump-start Your Car?
Your car battery can die for many reasons, such as cold weather, an old dysfunctional battery, or accidentally draining the battery juice. The best way to start your car in this situation is by jump-starting it with the help of jumper cables. Before beginning the process, take some time to read your vehicle’s manual, especially the section related to jump-start or anything related to the car battery. This is crucial for becoming aware of any precautions or specifications of the battery in your car that may interfere with the jump-starting process. If there are no specific instructions or precautions mentioned in the manual, follow the below steps to jump-start your vehicle.
What You Will Need
There are only three things you need to jump-start a car.
- A Car With A Dead Battery: The first and foremost thing you need is a car with a dead battery. Your car battery can die due to many reasons like malfunctioning alternator, extreme cold temperature, or battery corrosion.
- A Car With A Good Battery Or A Power Source: The second most important thing you need is another car with good battery life or another power source.
- Jumper Cables: The third thing you will require is a jumper cable connected to both cars to jump-start the dead vehicle.
Instructions in Steps
Jump-starting a car is not that tough as it might look. But if you have never done it before, we will guide you on setting up jumper cables step-by-step.
- Park both cars facing each other. If it is impossible, position them close but not touching each other. You can leave a gap of 18 inches between both vehicles.
- Turn off the ignition of both cars. Put both the vehicles on parking or neutral mode, and put the brakes on to prevent the possibility of either vehicle rolling away.
- Open the bonnet of both the cars and find their batteries.
- The next step is to locate the negative and positive terminals of the batteries. A ( ) sign will be marked on the positive terminal and (-) on the negative terminal.
- Take the red (positive) clamp from one end of the jumper cable and connect it to the positive ( ) terminal of the other working battery.
- Connect the red (positive) clamp from the other end of the jumper cable to the positive terminal on the dead car’s battery.
- Then connect the black (negative) clamp from the same end of the jumper cable to the negative (-) terminal on your working battery.
- Then use the black negative clamp of the jumper cable, which is connected to the red positive clamp to the dead car’s battery, and connect them to the car’s bolt. Make sure that you don’t connect it to the dead battery as it can spark.
- Recheck all the connections and start the engine of the car with a good battery. Let the car run for a few minutes and connect to the vehicle with a dead battery.
- Next, try and turn on the engine of the dead battery car.
- If your car starts, you can disconnect the jumper cables, and you are good to go.
- After this is done, you also need to know how to take off jumper cables safely. Firstly, remove the negative cable from the repaired car. Then remove the negative cable from the good battery car. Then remove the positive cable from the car having a good battery and lastly, positive cable with the dead battery (now jumped)
The first and foremost thing you should do after jump-staring your car is to take your vehicle to the mechanic and get the battery checked and replaced if required.
1. How Should I Connect Jumper Cables Correctly?
You have to be very careful while connecting the jumper cables correctly. Make sure both of the vehicles are turned off. After that, locate the batteries of the cars. Next, connect the red clamp of the jumper cable to the positive terminal signed ( ) of the dead car’s battery and then connect the other end of the same red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the working car’s battery. After that, connect the black clamp marked (-) with the negative terminal of the donor power source. Then please attach the black connector at the end of the cables to a metal part of the car’s engine with the dead battery. When all the wires are connected, start the engine of the working car. Run the car for some time and then try to start the dead car. However, be very careful, or else you can electrocute yourself.
2. Do I Need to Turn Off Car Before Disconnecting The Jumper Cables?
The answer to the above question is yes. Do not touch the cables of the running car. You should strictly switch off both the car and the power source before disconnecting the jumper cables. If you don’t do that, you will electrocute either yourself or your entire car.
3. Why do I Need Heavy Duty Jumper Cables?
With the help of a heavy-duty jumper cable, you will be able to pass through more electricity as they are thicker and have a heavy gauge. If you have a heavy-duty vehicle to jump-start, your vehicle will require more electricity as the battery is more serious compared to regular cars or vehicles. So, to help start these heavy vehicles, you will need heavy-duty jumper cables with suitable clamps. Also, in the worst conditions, like extreme cold weather and your battery is entirely drained, these heavy-duty wires will be of good help.
4. How to Clean a Car Battery?
Firstly you need to turn off the engine of your vehicle. There is a slight risk of injury if you clean the battery with the engine turned on. So, to avoid such things, it’s better to turn the engine off. Then lose the nut, which is holding your negative cable. Detach the cable from its post and follow the same steps with the positive cable as well. After that, visually inspect your car’s battery and the clamps. If you see any wear and tear, you will have to take it to the mechanic. After that, make a cleaning solution using one tablespoon of baking soda into one cup of water. With the help of a toothbrush, scrub away any signs of corrosion you see on the battery. Spray cold water on the battery to rinse off the residue. Then towards the end, with the help of any old towel, dab the battery and clamps to dry them completely. Use a little bit of petroleum jelly to lubricate your terminals. Lastly, put on jumper cables by connecting them to their correct terminals. This is the essential guide to clean the car battery. But if you are on the go and something like this happens to your car battery, use a bottle of Coca-Cola or Pepsi and pour it over the terminals, let it sit for five minutes and then wash it with cold water.
5. How to Prevent Your Battery From Dying?
Eventually, every battery is going to die out. But you can follow some steps to prolong its life for as long as possible. Always make sure you make regular battery test parts of your routine maintenance. Whenever you take your car to workshops for an oil change or any other issue, make sure you get your batteries life checked. Always protect your battery from extreme weather. If possible, think about an insulated blanket to keep the batteries safe. If you are going out of town for a month or so, ask your friend to come and rev it up, start the engine and take around so that the batteries stays charged up. And most significantly, double-check that you haven’t left any light or appliance of your car switched on. They can heavily impact your car’s battery life.
Although the process of jump-starting a car is not that tough, remembering which cable to put where can be pretty cumbersome. So, now that you know how to apply jumper cables to jump-start a car quite well, you will not be stranded due to a dead battery as long as another car is around!