Time to take on the day! You rush to your trusty vehicle and crank the ignition, only to be answered with the dreaded “click.” Your car’s battery is dead and you need to revive it: FAST. Luckily, you’ve got this blog post by your side! Read on to learn how to safely, and quickly, jumpstart a battery and get back on your way.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
What you’ll need:
- Rust-free jumper cables that are not frayed or damaged.
- Car with a working battery that is the same voltage as the car being jumped. (Most automotive batteries measure 12.6 volts or above. If you drive a unique vehicle though, like an RV or a heavy-duty truck, consult your owner’s manual before giving or getting a jump. You or the other vehicle could end up with charging problems and a shortened battery life if your batteries have different voltages.)
- Rubber gloves and safety goggles are recommended.
- Rag, paper towel, or wire brush to clean battery terminals.
Safety tips to keep in mind:
- DON’T attempt a jump if the battery appears to be broken, leaking, or cracked.
- DON’T let the cables touch at any point; this could lead to sparking.
- DON’T smoke near your vehicle.
- DON’T lean on the battery of either car.
- DON’T jumpstart a battery if there’s a chance its fluids are frozen. This could lead to an explosion.
7 STEPS FOR JUMPING A CAR BATTERY
We just mentioned a lot of “don’ts,” but there’s one big “do” that we can’t forget. Before you attempt a jumpstart, DO read the vehicle’s manual to make sure you’re doing what’s best for your specific make and model. Some cars don’t allow jumpstarting at all and doing so may void a warranty!
- Equip yourself with the recommended safety gear (gloves and goggles). Unplug any accessories (like a phone charger) and turn off the headlights, radio, and any light signals (including hazard lights).
- Get the two cars close together, but not so close that they touch. Engage the parking brake in both vehicles and shift them into “Park” or “Neutral.” Shut off the ignition in both.
- Next, clean the battery before hooking things up. Locate the two metal terminals on the top of your car battery. With a rag, paper towel, or wire brush, clean terminals of dirt and debris.
- Now, attach the cables in the proper order:
- Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of the dead battery. The terminal may say “POS” or “+”.
- Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the WORKING car’s battery.
- While still at the WORKING car’s battery, attach one of black clips to the negative terminal. The terminal may be labeled “NEG” or “-”.
- The last black cable should be attached to an unpainted metal surface as far from the dead battery as possible. This is to ground the circuit and prevent sparking.
- Time for the “jump!” When you are sure the cables are properly connected, run the working vehicle’s engine for a few minutes and then try to start the dead vehicle. If it doesn’t start, make sure your connections are correct and run for an additional five minutes.
- Once your battery has been brought back to life, keep the engine running. Remove the cables in the reverse order that you placed them: negatives (black) first and then positives (red).
- Drive your car for at least 15-30 minutes to ensure your battery charges. If your car won’t start the next time you take it out for a spin, the battery probably isn’t holding a charge and needs to be replaced.
After you jump your car’s battery, visit your nearest Tires Plus location for a free battery check! Our technicians can help you understand why your battery may have died in the first place and when it could do so again. And if you know it’s been quite a few years since you had your battery replaced, try our battery selector to find a new car battery, get a quote, and set up an installation appointment—all in one place. PLUS (because we’re Tires PLUS, right?) we offer special internet-only pricing for car batteries, so you’re sure to get a great price!