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Jump Start Your Ride With These Steps

Aug 2, 2021

No one wants to be surprised by a dead battery, but if it happens to you, some simple instructions can take the stress out of jumping your car battery.

Safety Precautions

Safety has to be your first priority when working with the battery. Try to position your vehicle in a safe place away from traffic, and aim to keep some distance between other vehicles even if they’re parked. When you position both the working vehicle and unpowered vehicle near each other, make sure that they don’t actually touch at any point. It also helps to take a look in your vehicle’s owner’s manual for other precautions before getting started, too.

Connecting the Cables Correctly

When the vehicles are positioned safely, about 18 inches away head-on, you can start connecting the cables. To do this as safely as possible, start by attaching the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery. The terminals might be color-coded the same way, or will at least have + and – symbols visible. Make sure the connection is secure, then attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal on the working battery. Next, attach the black (-) clamp to the working battery’s negative terminal. You’ll need to ground the last black clamp, so attach it to an unpainted piece of metal on the non-working vehicle.

Charging the Battery

Once the jumper cables are properly attached, you’re ready to power up. Start the working car’s engine, then let in run for a couple of minutes. Then, try to start the engine of the car with the bad battery. If it doesn’t start at first, let the working car run for a few more minutes before trying again. If the car refuses to start, the issue might be something else – like the starter, fuses, or corrosion – and a professional should take it from there.

Last Steps

Once your car is up and running, remove the black ends, and be sure not to let them touch as long as the red clamps are still connected to the batteries. Remove the red cables next, and don’t let them touch the black cables, either. To avoid letting the battery die again, take it straight to an auto shop for a full charge and professional inspection.

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