How to Jump-Start a Car
Preparation for Jump-Starting a Dead Car Battery
- Line both cars up so the batteries are as close as can be. Make sure the cars are in park, and both cars are turned off and not touching each other before you connect the cables. Actually one of them is already off, or you wouldn't be in this predicament right?
- Make sure all headlights, blinkers, car radios and A/C's are off. Unplug all accessories from cigarette lighters and power sockets from both cars.
- Familiarize yourself with the Positive (+) and Negative (-) terminals of both car batteries. All batteries are clearly marked. Wipe off any corrosion.
- If the battery is cracked and liquid is leaking out, DO NOT go further! Buy a new battery and swap it out. If you try to jump-start a battery that is cracked, it may explode.
- Clean off any corrosion around the dead battery terminals. If you have tools, loosen the wires from the terminals, clean them off, then re-tighten the wires to the clean posts. If you have a file handy, try to file the metal battery posts until they are nice and shiny. In a pinch use pliers to clamp down and scrape off the corrosion.
- Usually the positive battery cable is red or orange and the Negative (-) or ground cable is black. Always check to be sure.
Connecting the Car Battery Jumper Cables
The cables must be connected in this exact order listed below. Wear eye protection! Click on the thumbnail pictures for a larger view.
Connect one end of the Positive (+) cable to the Positive (+) post of the dead battery.
Connect the other end of the Positive (+) cable to the Positive (+) post of the good battery.
Connect one end of the Negative (-) cable to the Negative (-) post of the good battery.
Connect the other end of the Negative (-) cable to a good solid shiny, non painted metal part of the engine on the dead car. Usually a bolt on the engine block will do. You want to avoid placing the Negative (-) cable directly on the dead battery to minimize the chance for an explosion. You should only use the post on the dead battery as a last resort. On this step you'll get a normal spark as you connect the ground.