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Pro Tips: Jump Starting your Car Battery the Right Way

by Felix Omondi
jump start jumping a car

Hate it when your car runs out of juice? You’d hate it even more when you are running late, and you turn on the ignition only for your engine to fail to work. If you are old school and still got one of those manual cars, you can get two-three people behind the car to push you to get the engine roaring and you will be on your way. However, if you got an automatic car, you have no option but to jump the battery.

Before we jump into how to jump your car battery. Let us first establish what causes a dead battery. A car that is regularly driven and when parked the electronics inside are not left on for a long time. Such vehicles should never have dead battery problems, especially if the battery is still in good condition. Older batteries often have a problem holding charge for long when the engine is turned off.

To be on the safe side, don’t leave the interior lights and radio on for a long time when you have turned off the engine.

Jumping the Battery

A jumper cable is one of those things you should always have in your car at all times. You never know where you could experience a dead battery problem. There is nothing much to choose when it comes to jumper cables, any set would do but try to ensure the cables gauge is at least between 6 and 5 in size and with a length of 10-20 feet.

The longer the cable the easier it will be to park the second car from which you will jump your battery. However, it should not be too long, as it will only take more storage space in your car, and if the electricity travels for too long from one car’s battery to the next battery in the other car, it might diminish in charge strength.

You can always get yourself a portable jump-starter, but it comes with batteries, which means you will need to always remember to keep them charged at all times. That is the only way they will help you when your car battery fails.

Park the Second Running Car close and at the right place next to your Car’s Battery

Next you will need to get the charge from a second running battery. You need the second running car to park next to your car, as close as possible and on the side where its battery very close to your car’s battery.

The typical car has the battery fitted in the engine compartment at the front, but that is not always the case. You might find it obscured by a plastic covering. Remove that cover before commencing with the jumping.

Connecting the Jumper Cables

With the second running vehicle in position, shut it off, and pop the hoods of both cars open. Take out your jumper cable, ensuring the red (positive) and black (negative) clamps never touch one another.

When electricity starts flowing through the cables, you will see sparks form, and that may short circuit your battery if the clamps are touching. Having two people at the opposite of the cable will help avoid making the clamps touch.

Before you connect the cables, ensure the brush don’t have a lot of dirt or grime on them. Find the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals on the batteries. On the car that was running, take the positive clamp and connect it to the positive (+) terminal on your battery, and the negative (-) clamp to the negative (-) terminal.

On the dead battery, on the car that was not running, connect the positive (+) clamp to the positive (+) terminal. Instead of connecting the negative (-) clamp to the negative (-) terminal of the dead battery, find an unpainted metals surface in the car that was not running and connect it there. Doing that will make the jumping safer.

Now turn on the engine on the car that was running, and wait for a few minute then try starting the second car with the dead battery. If it fails to start, you might want to wait a little longer for the charge to reach sufficient levels.

However, if the fails after a say 10 minutes wait, and the interior lights comes one and the engine starts but shortly fails. It might be time to change your battery or call in an expert. Otherwise, a 4 minutes jumping should be enough to start fire up your car.

If the jumping was successful, leave the engine running for a couple of minutes before putting it in gear and driving off.

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