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How to Jump a Car Battery

by Jacqueline Hanikeh 5 years ago in how to
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If you've ever been in a situation where your car battery suddenly lost its life and you didn't know what to do, or who to call, find out how to jump a car battery yourself.

Not everyone knows how to jump start their car battery. If you have zero clue on handling that situation, I'm with you there. Nothing is turning on — nothing. At first, you don't realize that your car battery is the problem. Then you flip open the hood of your car and you just stare at your car's organs like it's some sort of a medical procedure you're about to handle. Some of us don't even know where the car battery is. I've gone through this same incident.

My friend and I were stranded in a mall parking lot when her car battery suddenly died. Neither of us knew how to jump start a car battery — we were never taught how to. And of course, we were too shy to ask around on how to handle it. Needless to say that my friend couldn't even pop open her hood to take a look — I know, we're the finest amateurs out there. We couldn't do it ourselves since we didn't know how to — we ended up calling AAA.

So, don't go through what I did, be a pro and learn how to jump a car battery on your own. Trust me, you'll need to learn some day. Aside from that, maybe we should start investing in electric cars.

Before you start using someone else’s car to jump start your's, make sure that they’re OK with helping you out and know how to jump a car battery, according to Meineke. No one wants to feel forced to jump start their car. After you and the other car’s owner pop open the hood, jumper cables are the main tool to use in this situation. Since they’re inexpensive and super easy to use, they’re what most people go for. They come in a wide variety of lengths — some can go up to 20 feet. Honestly, longer cables are better so each car can comfortably reach each other when connecting. But, there are people who’ve mentioned that longer cables are more difficult to use, because the energy is traveling longer and a bit slower. Also, make sure you get a thicker gauge, because they have the most strength when transferring battery power.

Make sure your surroundings are safe.

This is an important part of how to jump a car battery. Since you're dealing with electricity and battery power, it's best to have everyone be careful. Especially keep children out of the scene. Try to prevent any electrical shocks from occurring by keeping the clamps where they're supposed to be. Also, it's advised to wear a pair of protective glasses in case any sparks come at your face.

Begin the process of jump starting your car battery.

Now comes the fun part on how to jump a car battery — kind of. Make sure the person who's helping you parks their car about 20 inches away from yours — they should never be close enough to hit each other. Also, for cars that are automatic transmission, put your car in park. For manual transmissions, switch your car's gears to neutral. And always set both parking brakes. While you're removing the keys from both of the cars' ignitions, place the jumper cables on the ground and never have the clamps touch each other.

Pop open both cars' hoods and locate the battery. If you don't know what your vehicle's battery looks like, you can check your car's manual for direction, and locate the battery terminal. The terminal will either be covered in red and black with a positive and negative sign on top and determine which one is positive and negative. If the terminals are dirty, make sure to whipe them clean before jump starting the battery.

Attach your jumper cables to the battery terminals.

This is where the action starts on how to jump a car battery. Locate the positive and negative on your car's dead battery terminal. You always want a solid connection, so mess with the cable's clamps by opening and closing them a few times.

First, attach the red, positive clamp to the working battery's red, positive terminal and connect the black, negative clamp to the working battery's black, negative terminal. Never connect the black, negative clamp to the dead battery's terminal. Then move to the dead car and attach that cable clamp to an unpainted, medal part of the car — like a clean nut on the engine. This way, the jump start will be safer.

How long does it take to charge a dead car battery?

Now that your cables are connected to both the functioning and the dead car, turn on the functional vehicle — then wait a minute or two. The minutes depend on how old the battery is, or how long it was dead for, therefore, it can take a few minutes. After a few minutes, try turning on your car and if it still doesn't work, wait another few minutes for the battery to charge.

Once your vehicle is back to life, remove the cable clamps starting with the black, negative clamp. Make sure the clamps don't touch each other while one of them is still clamped to a terminal. Afterwards, drive for a little for the car's battery to gain energy. Driving the car can help with charging and it can ensure you that it won't die again once you shut it off.

What happens if the jump start doesn't work?

There are times when jump starting a car's dead battery fails — it's totally normal. There are a lot of myths about it. If your car battery is really old, then it's time to replace that fossil with a brand new battery.

If you really don't know what to do in this situation, either call AAA, or other car services to help you out. It won't be the end of the world if you call for help — there's nothing else you can do.

Now that you know how to jump a car battery, you can pass on this information to family and friends, so they don't have to deal with the situation I went through. You can also help out other's who are stranded in a mall's parking lot or some other parking lot. Also, it can help you avoid any bad habits that can damage your car.

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About the author

Jacqueline Hanikeh

Reading good literature plays a huge role in my life — and so does online shopping and wine.

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