Driver Basics: How to Jumpstart a Car Jul 17, 2017 by Jet (Driver Weekly)

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of getting into your car and trying to start it, only to discover that the battery is dead, you understand how important it is to know how to jumpstart a car. You can be certain that this malfunction will happen at the most inopportune times: when you’re late for work, when it’s pouring rain, when you have hungry kids in the car, when you’re stuck in bad weather, or when you’re miles from help and all alone.

How to Be Prepared

To start, you need a quality set of jumper cables. Always carry them in your vehicle. But to use these jumper cables, you need another battery that has a strong charge to it. The most obvious source of another battery is another car. If you’re fortunate to have drained your battery in a parking lot or have access to a busy roadway, it’s likely that a Good Samaritan will come to your rescue and jumpstart your battery using their own car. But ideal situations don’t always occur. Because of this, another good item to carry along with your jumper cables is a self-contained charger.

Battery Basics

First of all, you need to know your car and its battery. There are two terminals on the battery. Sometimes they are on top in plain sight and easy to access. Other times, they are on the side of the battery and it is a little more difficult to attach the leads. One terminal is positive and the other is negative. Your jumper cables have colored handles. The red handles are the positive and the black handles are the negative.

How To Jumpstart a Car

Fasten the red-handled clamp to the positive terminal of both car batteries—yours and the charger or other vehicle. Then, fasten the black-handled clamp to the negative terminal of both batteries. If you’re jumpstarting your vehicle using another car, the car with the working battery should run their engine to generate power. When the “juice” has flowed from one battery to another for a minute or less, you can try to start your car’s engine. If it doesn’t start yet, let the charging process continue for a couple more minutes, and then try again. The engine should start at this time. Let your engine run for a while to give the alternator time to further recharge your battery battery. You should then be able to drive like you normally would. Keep in mind that if your car frequently requires jumpstarts, have your battery checked. It’s that simple!

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