How to Jump Start a Car Safely
Get Back on the Road with a Jump Start
How many times have you headed out to your car during the winter and when you tried to start it all you heard was a clicking sound as your depleted battery struggled to turn the engine over? Winter is hard on car batteries. It’s cold, you’re using lots of equipment like the heater, windshield wipers, and lights, and it takes more power to turn a cold engine over. It’s worse when you’re making lots of short trips. Frequent stops and starts don’t give your battery a chance to get fully re-charged and then one day it doesn’t have enough juice to start your car.
Fortunately, it’s easy to jump start a car but it’s important to do it correctly otherwise you could damage one or both of the vehicles’ electrical systems or injure yourself or someone else.
Be Prepared – Get Jumper Cables
During the winter, it’s always a good idea to carry a set of jumper cables in your vehicle. While you can usually find a good Samaritan who is happy to give you a boost, they may not have a set of cables with them. The order in which you connect the batteries is quite important so it’s a good idea to review these instructions again before you attempt to jump start your vehicle.
- Park the two vehicles close enough to each other for the jumper cables to reach but don’t let them touch to prevent shocks. Put both vehicles in park or neutral, engage the parking brakes, then turn them both off.
- Attach one of the red clips on the jumper cables to the Positive post on the dead battery. It will be marked POS or +, and it may be bigger than the other terminal.
- Attach the other red clip to the Positive post on the good battery.
- Attach one of the black clips on the jumper cables to the Negative post on the good battery.
- Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal part in your car’s engine compartment. You can use something like the metal strut that holds the hood open for you – just make sure it’s not too close to the battery. If you hook the negative clamp directly to the negative post on your battery, it can create a spark that could ignite hydrogen gas seeping out of the battery, causing an explosion or fire. If you try to turn your engine over and nothing happens, double check to make sure that the negative clamp is attached to bare metal.
- Make sure that the booster cables are well away from any moving engine parts.
- Try to start your engine.
- If your engine won’t start, have the Samaritan start their vehicle and let it run for five minutes before you try to start your car again.
- If your car still won’t start, your battery might be beyond help. You’ll have to call for roadside service, get a tow, or ask someone to install a new battery for you.
- Once your car is running, disconnect the booster cables without shutting your car off. Remove the black lead from your car first and then the other car. Undo the red lead from your car and then the Samaritan’s car.
- Drive your car for at least 30 minutes to charge the battery. It’s a good idea to put the battery on a charger asap to give it a full charge.
Get Your Battery Checked before it Leaves you Stranded
Having a dead battery is a pain and a major inconvenience but if you have a set of booster cables with you, you can usually get back on the road very quickly. To get your car ready for winter driving and make sure that your battery won’t leave you stranded, a seasonal vehicle inspection is always a good idea. Every oil change at Kelowna Nissan includes a free battery and wheel alignment check.