Using Jumper Cables to Start a Car Battery

How to Use Jumper Cables in San Diego, CA

If you don’t keep jumper cables in your vehicle, it may be time to change this situation, as they are an important part of any car emergency kit. If you ever find yourself stranded with a dead car battery, you may find some good Samaritans ready to lend a hand, but they might not have a set of cables with them. Keeping jumper cables in your trunk can help you get out of a difficult situation or give another stranded motorist some help one day. However, keeping the cables on hand isn’t enough. You also need to know how to use them in an emergency. The trusted National City auto insurance providers at American Tri-Star detail the key steps you need to take when using jumper cables.

Park Both Cars and Turn Off the Ignition

The functioning car should be parked so the vehicles are hood-to-hood and as close together as possible. If you have an automatic transmission, the car should be in park. With a manual transmission, the car should be in neutral. Both cars should be turned off.

Locate the Battery Terminals

Open the hood of each car and find the batteries. Depending on the style of your car, you may need to lift a panel to access the battery, which will have two terminals on each side. In most cases, the terminals are red and black with a “-” or “+” sign on top. Some cars have a cover over the red positive terminal that needs to be popped off. Wipe off the terminals with a towel if they look dirty.

Attach the Cables

The red, positive clamp on the jumper cable should be attached to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Attach the other end of the positive clamp to the functioning positive terminal on the car with the working battery, then attach the black negative clamp to the negative terminal on the working battery as well. The other negative clamp should be attached to an unpainted, clean metal surface under the hood of the car with the dead battery. Make sure you get a good connection on the positive terminals, which may require wiggling the cable clamp a bit.

Jump-Start the Car

With the cables attached, you’re ready to jump-start the car. Start the working car and wait about a minute. The longer your battery has been dead or the older it is, the longer you may need to wait for a successful jump. After a minute, try starting your dead car. If it doesn’t work, let the working car charge your battery for another minute.

You can disconnect the cables once your car starts. Disconnect the black clamps first and do not let them touch each other while the red clamps are attached. After the jump-start, take a drive to let the battery build a charge. If you don’t, the battery will likely die again when you turn off the car.

Tips for a Safe Jump-Start

While jump-starting a car is fairly easy and safe, you can get hurt if you don’t connect the cables correctly. Never attach the negative clamp to the negative terminal on the dead battery. This common error can ignite the hydrogen gas above the battery and cause an explosion. Also, avoid touching a grounded part of either vehicle with a positive clamp, and verify you have correctly identified the positive and negative terminals before you attach the clamps.

Having jumper cables available to use when you need them is important. Even more crucial is making sure you have adequate insurance for your vehicle. If you’re looking for affordable National City car insurance, quotes are available free of charge from American Tri-Star Insurance. Request a quote on our website, or give us a call at 619-474-3900.