Posted on 12/28/21

How to Properly Jump Start a Car

How to Properly Jump Start a Car

2020 could be a record year for emergency jump-starts and dead car batteries. Why? The coronavirus pandemic has caused people to drive less than usual. Some areas see 60% fewer vehicles than last year and people spend an average of six minutes per day driving on roads. These cars sit idle for the majority of the day, which can lead to drained batteries. Cars not starting will be more common as we move into winter. Colder temperatures increase the risk of battery problems. Jump starting the battery is the answer. Although this process may seem daunting to some, it is easy and safe. This comprehensive guide will help you learn everything about how to jumpstart a car.

Here are some signs to jump start your car

Before you can do anything else, confirm that your car's battery is dead. There are many things that can cause your car not to start. There are signs that a battery problem is a problem.

  • Dashboard Light –Many modern cars have indicators on the dashboard that will warn you if the battery charge is low. If you don't know what to look for, check the dash and your owner's manual.
  • Clicking sound - Your car's battery supplies power to the starter motor which then starts your car. When you turn the key, you'll hear the engine making a clicking sound.
  • No Electrics The battery powers the electric systems in your car. These include the radio and dome lights. It's clear that the battery is not supplying enough power to get these items to work as usual.

What you might need to jump-start a car

Even if your car is brand new, there are many reasons that a battery could be dead. The battery can be depleted by sitting idle. Some systems draw very little power even when the vehicle's off. Another issue is cold weather, which can cause batteries to lose their strength when the temperature drops. These are other situations that can lead to a dead battery.

  • Human error - If you leave your headlights on or forget to close the door, your battery could be completely depleted. Before you leave the vehicle, be aware of any warning signs that your vehicle may have.
  • Bad wiring -Aftermarket electronics such as a stereo system or additional lighting can drain too much energy from the battery. If they aren't wired correctly, they could cause problems. You may need a larger battery if the wiring is good but there are still battery problems.
  • Broken Alternator The alternator charges your car's battery while you drive. It wears down over time, just like every other component of the engine. The alternator should be checked if battery problems are a regular problem.
  • Corroded Battery-Extreme weather and time can cause corrosion on the battery terminals which can make it less efficient to work as they were intended. Because of corrosion and other inevitable effects of age, all batteries will need to be replaced after about 4-5 years.

What NOT to do when you jump start a car

There are several situations in which you shouldn't attempt to jump-start your car if it won't start. First, if you drive an electrical or hybrid vehicle. These vehicles have complex electrical systems and battery arrays. They can't be jump-started or require a more detailed approach. It is possible for these vehicles to become unreliable and cause severe damage to their electrical systems. It is always best to have an expert address any power issues in hybrids or electric vehicles. Another reason you should not attempt to jump-start your car is if the vehicle's location becomes dangerous, such as when it's near the curb. You should not attempt to jump-start your car if you are putting yourself or others in danger.

Step by Step: How to Jump-Start Your Car

These instructions are for traditional jump-starting a car battery. The best way to jump-start a car is to use a specially designed battery pack. It is best to charge the battery pack on a wall outlet, and then keep it in your car for when you need it. To jump-start, the battery simply connects the pack to the charger. This eliminates the need to find another vehicle and position them correctly. If you don't have that option, here are the steps to jump-start your car the traditional way.

  1. Find another driver - It could be a relative, a roommate, a neighbor, or even someone new. You will need to locate someone with a vehicle that can be used for jump-starting.
  2. Position your vehicles -Position your vehicles so that jumper cables can be stretched from one battery to the other. While the most common way to position the cars is to line them up from hood to roof, other circumstances might require you to do so in a different manner. Make sure someone has a set of jumper cables before you do anything.
  3. Prepare the Vehicles Both vehicles must be in neutral or park and the ignition switched off. Jumpstarts can take up to 10-15 minutes so make sure you are in a place that allows you to work. You may need to push your vehicle to a safer location or make it easier to work.
  4. Connect the Jumper Cables. People often get confused about how to connect jumper cables. However, it is a simple process and works for most vehicles. Attach one of the red clips (it will have either a + sign or POS) to your battery. The other red clip should be attached to the positive end of the battery in the opposite car. Attach the black clip to your car's negative terminal. Attach the last black clip to the negative terminal of the other car's battery. Most people attach the clip to the underside of the car's hood.
  5. Start the Work Vehicle - Run the vehicle for approximately five minutes. If sparks are visible or sounds are heard from the engine, shut it off and unhook the jumper cables. Then, go back to the previous step.
  6. Start your Vehicle - After letting the power from another vehicle travel through the jumper cables into your battery for a few moments, you should be able to charge your car. Turn off your vehicle and allow the vehicle to run for five more minutes if it still doesn't turn on. Your battery may need to be replaced if it doesn't start.
  7. Charge the Battery. Once your vehicle has started, allow it to run for a few minutes so that the alternator can charge up. Go for a 10-20 minute drive. Next, take your battery to an auto parts shop or trusted mechanic for testing. Even if the jumpstart worked, it may still need to be replaced. The majority of auto parts shops will replace your battery.

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