You’ve probably been told multiple times that you should keep a set of jumper cables in your car. However, many people who carry these cables in their trunks every single day still end up calling for help when their battery goes dead—all because no one ever mentioned how to use them.
The Basic Steps to Jumping Your Car’s Battery
- Position the cars – You will need a second, working car to jump your battery. Once you have found a willing driver, park the two cars nose to nose, but not touching each other. Put both cars in park with the engines turned off.
- Connect the positive cables – Clamp the red (positive) jumper cable to the dead car's positive battery terminal (marked with a “+” sign). Clamp the other end of the red cable to the other car's positive battery terminal.
- Connect the negative cables – Clamp the black (negative) jumper cable to the booster car's negative battery terminal (marked with a “-” sign). DO NOT clamp the other end of the black cable to your battery! Instead, clamp it to an unpainted metal surface on the engine of the dead car, such as a bolt or a screw.
- Start your engines – Start up the booster car's engine and let it idle for about 2 minutes. Start your car's engine. Once it’s running, let it idle for several more minutes to charge the battery.
- Disconnect the cables – Most mechanics recommend disconnecting the black jumper cables first, then removing the red cables. Take care not to touch anything with the exposed metal teeth of the cables while they are plugged in.
That’s it! Make sure to recommend this page on Facebook or Google+ to make sure your family members know how to jump a battery if they become stranded.