How to Jumpstart a Car

When you’re on a road trip, the last thing you want is to find that your car is dead. Knowing how to jumpstart your battery will get you back on the road in no time.

Get Some Help

In hopes that you find your battery dead where there are other people with cars around, ask a friendly person at a diner, gas station or wherever you’re stranded for some help. You’ll need another car with a working battery. Do you have jumper cables of your own? If not, you need to locate some or ask someone who has them.

How to Jumpstart your Car

  • Pull the other car close to your car and open both hoods

  • Turn off everything in both cars including radio and vents

  • Take the jumper cables and first connect the red clamp to the positive (+) battery terminal on the car that’s dead

  • Connect the red clamp to the positive (+) terminal on the car with the good battery

  • Make sure the clamps are touching the metal of each terminal. If the terminals are corroded, you may need to clean them with steel wool or other tool

  • Next, connect the black clamp to the negative (-) battery terminal on the good battery

  • Connect the last black clamp on an unpainted metal object such as a bolt away from the dead battery on the dead car. This will provide a ground

  • Start the car with the good battery and follow with the car with the dead battery

  • Let the cars sit idle for several minutes

  • Once your car is running smoothly, disconnect the jumper cables in reverse order that you connected them (black clamp on dead battery first, black clamp on good battery, etc.)

  • Drive your car for at least 15 minutes before shutting it off again

Battery Safety

When doing any kind of work on your battery, it’s important to be safe. The troublemakers are sulfuric acid and explosive acids in the battery that could be produced when the battery is charging and discharging.

Two important things to have handy are gloves and protective eyewear when working on batteries. If you don’t have those available on the road, use sunglasses for your eyes and avoid touching your face and eyes when charging and working on car batteries. You want to avoid sulfuric acid mishaps and corrosion on your battery.

Here are a few other tips about battery safety:

  • Avoid wearing jewelry when working with metal tools, the metals could create a contact with the battery through tools and create a short

  • Always remember to remove the battery’s ground clamp before loosening the positive (+)

  • Always connect the ground last

Battery Charger

Before you find yourself stranded with a dead battery and no one to help but roadside assistance, equip your vehicle with a car battery charger. They range from $20 and up, and along with jumper cables, will keep you prepared in case of a dead battery on a road trip.

Learn how to use a car battery charger before you get out on the road by reading the charger’s manual and our tips.

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