How to Jump-Start a Car

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December 29, 2021
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How to Jump-Start a Car

Jump-Start

We are driving less due to the pandemic, often leaving our cars parked for days or even weeks. As a car sits, the battery drains. This is especially true for relatively new vehicles with various electronic systems. These electronic systems continue to consume energy even when the car is parked. Subsequently, at one time or another, almost all motorists will need to jump-start their car. When that time comes, we want you to know how to jump-start your car safely and properly.

How to Jump-Start a Car

Jump-starting a car used to be a simple affair. However, since cars have become more complex there are new risks. Therefore, you should be cautious if you jump-start a dead car battery.

If you must jump-start your vehicle on your own, get out your car manual. This should have step-by-step instructions on the proper way to jump-start your vehicle.

Jumper cables usually have a set of clamps, one marked red for positive and the other black for negative. Battery terminals are usually marked with a + for the positive terminal and a – for the negative terminal. You might need to wipe off some grime to see the markings if your car battery is dirty.

When jump-starting a vehicle, it is best to clamp the red cable to the battery positive terminal first. Then, install the black negative cable to the negative post. When removing the cables, remove the power cable first, then the black ground cable.

Common Steps to Jump-Start a Car

  1. Park the car you’ll use for jump-starting next to the one with the dead battery. Position the vehicle close enough so the cables will reach.
  2. Turn off the ignition on both cars.
  3. First, clamp one end of the positive cable to the dead battery’s positive clamp.
  4. Now have a helper connect the other end of the cable to the other battery’s positive clamp.
  5. Next, connect the negative cable to the negative terminal on the good battery.
  6. Finally, connect the other end of the negative cable to a ground on the vehicle with the dead battery. This can be the engine block or another metal surface away from the battery. Be careful not to touch the two ends of the cable together while doing this.
  7. Turn on the rescue car providing the electricity.
  8. Next, start the car with the weak battery. If it doesn’t start, check your connections, and tighten or clean as needed.
  9. If it does start, disconnect the cables in the reverse order. Let the problem car run for at least 20 minutes to allow the battery to recharge before shutting it off.

If it still doesn’t start, there may be another problem.

How to Avoid a Dead Battery

Cars need to be driven regularly to allow the alternator to maintain the battery’s charge level. Car batteries typically last three to five years, depending on use and temperatures. Extreme weather, hot or cold, will affect your battery. To avoid being stranded, you should be diligent about servicing and replacing your car’s battery. You can have the battery load tested. A battery load test will check the battery’s ability to hold voltage while being used. The results of a battery load test will let you know when it’s time to start shopping for a replacement.

The Bottom Line

It can be difficult sometimes to pinpoint the nature of an electrical problem in your car. Whether it is the battery or the alternator, testing the battery is the best way to figure out if it is the problem. Call Mike at 402.551.6000 and he can get you set up with a Charging System Test which will check the charging capacity of the alternator as well as test the battery’s overall state of health diagnostic for only $36!

Additional Reading: How a Car Battery Charger Can Keep Your Vehicle Ready to Go

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