Jump Starting Your Car: The Proper Technique

Jump Starting Your Car: The Proper Technique

Jump starting your car is one thing you hope you never have to do, but it’s important to learn the proper technique. Not only should you understand proper procedures to stay safe, but it will also prevent you from getting stranded with a dead battery. Here are the basics to using jumper cables on a dead battery.

First, according to Popular Mechanics, make sure it’s a dead battery—there’s no use messing around with cables if it’s not. If you have a dead or dying battery, the lights will not work (or they will be very dim) and the ignition may click but not turn over.

If you’re sure it’s a dead battery, you’ll need to find a jumper car. Pull the cars close together, but make sure they are not touching. Next, get your cables out and begin making connections. (Cables should ideally be 20 feet in length and 4 to 6 gauge in size.)

With both cars off, start by attaching the positive (red or +) clamp to the dead battery. Now attach the red clamp to the functioning battery.

Now you can connect the negative (black or -) clamp to the terminal on the good battery. This next step is very important: do NOT attach the negative clamp to the dead battery. Instead, attach it to a piece of unpainted metal in the engine compartment, like an engine bolt or part of the frame. This grounds the circuit and makes the process much safer.

Now you can start the engine of the jumper car and leave it running for a while. After a few minutes, try to start the dead car. If it doesn’t work, let it charge longer. When you get them both running, leave the previously dead car running for a while to charge up the battery. Remove the cables in the reverse order you put them on, but be sure to watch out for moving parts. For more info about jumping cars or for a new battery, visit Olathe Ford.

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