How to Jump a Car and Use Jumper Cables Safely (DIY)
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How to Jump a Car and Use Jumper Cables Safely (DIY)

auto parts engine for home

how to start a car

Carrying a jumper cable set can help you assist a fellow motorist, or the other way around. Starting a car is usually pretty simple, but it’s serious business and you need to do it right to do it safely. Every year, people are seriously injured trying to help another driver with a “jump.” clip this how to jump a car battery article and put it in your glove box. Then, before you even connect the cables, follow these steps to learn how to connect a car battery safely:

Reading: How to connect battery jumper cables

  • make sure both batteries have the same voltage (most batteries are 12 volts) and the same polarity (both have negative ground). You can refer to this information, for how to connect a car battery, in the owner’s manual in the glove box.
  • Keep your cars close enough to each other to connect the cables, but never let them vehicles touch. this could cause a short.
  • turn off the ignition switch, lights and accessories in both cars before starting one car. make sure vehicles are parked or neutral and the parking brake is set. wear safety glasses.
  • do not smoke. sparks near a battery can cause an explosion.
  • if the weak battery is frozen, don’t try to jump it! could explode. you can tell if it is frozen by looking through the inspection cover to see if the water is frozen. one or more sides of the battery case will bulge if it freezes.
  • make sure you can identify the positive and negative terminals of both batteries so you know how to attach the jumper cables. also make sure you have enough space to hold the cable terminals. the positive terminal is most likely connected to the car’s starting/charging system with a red wire that has a plus sign on it. the negative is connected to the vehicle’s engine and usually has a minus sign.
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how to connect jumper cables and how to start a car

how to start a car steps:

  1. attach the positive cable (red or yellow) to the positive terminal of the weak battery. make sure the other end doesn’t touch any part of the car’s engine or body or you could get a dangerous spark.
  2. attach the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
  3. attach the negative (black) cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.
  4. attach the other end of the negative cable to a clean metal part of the engine (such as the head of a bolt). or bracket) in the car with a weak battery. keep the clamp away from the battery, any moving parts, and the fuel system.

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Caution: Do not connect the negative cable to the negative terminal of the weak battery when jumpering a car battery! this common mistake could ignite hydrogen gas directly onto the battery. battery explosions can cause serious injury. Even if you’ve gotten away with it before, use a metal engine part when jumping out of a car.

now start the car with the good battery, let it charge the weak battery for 5 minutes, then try to start the car with the weak battery. if it doesn’t start, turn off both ignitions, make sure the cable clamps are making good contact, then try again. when the car with weak battery starts, please wait (about 15 seconds) to make sure it doesn’t stop.

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Disconnect the cables in reverse order: first remove the negative cable from the car that jumped, then the negative cable from the car with the good battery. then remove the positive cable from the car with the good battery (do not touch a grounded part of either car with the positive cable clamp). finally, remove the positive cable from the car with the weak battery. remember, both motors will be running (hopefully!), so work carefully when removing cables to avoid belts, fans, and other moving parts.

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Pro tip: If you live in a very cold climate, buy the heaviest gauge wire you can find (the lower the number, the thicker the wire).

If it’s time to replace your car battery, check out the video below on how to replace a car battery.

tools needed for this: how to start a car project

You’ll need a set of jumper cables to learn how to jump start a car.

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