How to Jump a Car

Having to deal with a dead battery is a headache that no driver wants to deal with. If ever get a dead battery, you might get lucky and be able to get assistance from a towing company immediately. But if you are ever stuck waiting, it would be helpful to know how to jump a car so you can take care of the issue on your own- or help someone else with a dead battery.

What You’ll need

In order to jump a car, you’ll need the following- a set of jumper cables (the longer, the better) and a second vehicle with a working battery. It also wouldn’t hurt to keep an extra flashlight in your car in case you’re trying to jump a car battery in the dark. Once you’ve found the second vehicle that can help, park the other car facing the one with the dead battery. To be extra cautious, utilize the parking brake for both vehicles. 

Check the situation

Before you go about jumping a dead battery, check a couple of things first. #1, double check the owner’s manual does not advise against jumping a car. #2, take a second to check that the battery is not cracked or leaking. If it is, do not jump the battery. Finally, when using the jumper cables, make sure the ends of the cables do not touch each other once connected to the battery as this could cause sparks to fly. 

Finding the batteries

Pop the hoods of both vehicles and locate the batteries. Then, locate the positive and negative posts of the battery and remove or open the plastic covers. This is where you will connect the jumper cables.

Setting up the red cables

When looking at the jumper cables and the batteries, the red cables are the positive cables. One of the red clamps should connect to the positive post on the dead battery. The other red clamp connects to the positive post on the working battery.

Setting up the black cables

When looking at the jumper cables and the batteries again, the black cables are negative. One of the black clamps should be connected to the negative post on the working battery. The other connects to an unpainted metal surface of your car. 

Start the engines

Once the cables are connected, start the engine of the car with the working battery. Then, try to start the car with the dead battery. Hopefully, the jumper cables work and help the battery start long enough to get the car to a safe place. If it doesn’t, give it a few minutes and try again. If this still doesn’t work, it’s time to call a tow truck. 

Unhooking the cables

After you’ve jumped the car, whether it was a success or not, it’s time to remove the clamps. Remove them in reverse order of how you connected them.

Before driving away…

If the jump-start was successful, give the now-working car a few minutes to idle and charge the battery. Also, look at the battery light in the instrument panel. If the battery light is on, it could indicate a problem with the alternator. The driver should not drive their car for very long with this light on.

Now that you know how to jump a car, make sure you have the right supplies stocked in your car in case you ever need them. On top of following these tips, having the proper auto insurance can help you stay prepared. Contact your local Rural Mutual insurance agent to find the right coverage that fits your needs.