How to Jumpstart a Car in 8 Easy Steps

July 30, 2021

Unexpected things will occasionally happen to you or your car in your driving career, so you should always be prepared for any road emergency. We have already delved into some of these odd encounters, like your car catching fire as you drive or while in the parking.

Months or so after graduating from driving school, you are one day moving to the parking lot where your car is. You have been shopping, so you stuff the shopping in the trunk or on the backseat.

Then you start your car. It does not start. You try again and again. No sound.

You are a good driver, no doubt. You always obey the traffic rules. But how do you go about this? It dawns on you that your driving school didn’t teach you how to jumpstart a car.

A good number of men do not know how to jumpstart a car. They may have a clue, but that’s all. They can’t tell what cable is connected to what terminal and what else follows.

What Causes a Car To Need a Jumpstart In the First Place?

Your car will need a jumpstart if its battery is dead. You need outside help to jumpstart your car.

But you have to be 100% sure that your car is not starting because the battery is dead.

How Do You Tell If The Car Battery Is Dead?

If your car engine cranks when you turn the ignition, it means your battery is not dead, so you should not jumpstart the car. However, if there is no crank or the car is dead-silent when you ignite it, it is highly possible the battery is dead, so you should jumpstart the car.

Before we proceed, note that you will need another helpful driver whose car has a working battery to jumpstart your car.

That said, this is how to jumpstart a car in 8 easy steps:

1. Ensure Your Jumper Cables Are In Good Condition

Since everything else will depend on the jumper cables, ensure they are functioning in the first place. One of the items you should always have in your toolbox is the battery/jumper cables.

You may be able to get a kind driver whose car has a working battery, but without the jumper cables, the working battery will not be of much help.

Again, do not put yourself in a position where you ask to be helped to jumpstart your car yet you lack an essential requirement like the jumper cable.

Not every helper would be enthusiastic about letting you use his working battery plus his jumper cable.

Your level of preparedness should be such that you have the basics with you at any moment. But having the jumper cable is not enough: ensure it is able to run the charges. There should be no naked wires on the cables.

2. Park the Cars Close To Each Other

You should park the cars close to each other, but without touching. Jump-starting your car will be a lot easier if the cars face each other.

Once thus parked, both cars should be turned off completely. Apart from being turned off, your car and your helper’s car should be in Park or Neutral and with the parking brakes engaged.

3. Open the Hoods of Both Cars

You should then pop the hoods so that you can find the batteries.

4. Hook/Attach the Cables to the Appropriate Terminals

Now, this is where some drivers get confused or lost. Do you connect the red cable to the negative or positive terminal? What happens if you get it wrong? Can you be electrocuted while jump-starting your car?

Such concerns might stop some hesitant or unsure drivers from completing the process of jump-starting the car.

The red cable goes to the positive (+) terminal of your dead battery. The other end of the red cable is attached to or hooked on the positive terminal of the Good Samaritan’s working battery.

Uncoil the jumper cable. The positive terminal is usually bigger than the negative (-) terminal. This can help you differentiate the two if the signs/symbols are not visible.

Anyway, once you have attached both ends of the red cable, it is time to attach the black cable. It is for the negative charge, so attach its one clamp to the working battery’s negative terminal.

However, do not attach the other end of the black cable to your dead battery’s negative terminal.

Instead, attach it to an unpainted metal surface on your car but not near the battery.

5. Ignite the Helper’s Car

The driver whose car’s battery is active should start his car and let the engine run for some minutes. This is to pass the charge to your dead battery.

6. Ignite Your Car

You then start your car (with the dead battery). It should be able to start now if the problem was indeed the dead battery.

7. Remove the Cables In Reverse Order

Once your car is jump-started, you should carefully remove the cables in reverse order. That is, you first remove the clamp you placed last. It is the negative cable attached to an unpainted metal surface.

8. Drive for At Least 10 Minutes

While your helper’s car may be shut off immediately after your car has been jump-started, you need to drive your car for at least 10 minutes without stopping so that your battery can recharge.

Should you stop too soon, you may find it impossible to restart the car without having to jumpstart again.

What If My Car Doesn’t Jumpstart Even After I Follow These Steps?

If your car is not jump-starting, the problem could not be the battery but the ignition switch, fuses, or starter.

If the battery dies soon after the jumpstart even after you drive for at least 10 minutes, then the problem could be with the alternator.

Again, the problem could be that the battery is far too dead beyond resurrection. It would be best to replace the battery because it’s no longer able to hold a charge anymore.

Can You Be Electrocuted While Jump-starting A Car?

It’s almost impossible to electrocute yourself while jump-starting your car because the voltage is usually too low to have a serious effect on you.

But you can experience a big shock. To avoid the shock, ensure the cables have no open wires.

Wrap Up

You can also watch one or two YouTube videos to understand the jump-starting process better.

Would you like to learn how to drive a car? We welcome you to Pierre Paul Driving School where you get to learn to drive a car. We are located in Brooklyn, New York.