Step 1: Check for the Right Equipment
When you’re jumping a battery, you’ll need a few things. The first is a working vehicle to jump the not-working car. The second is jumper cables. It’s not a bad idea to keep a set of jumper cables in your car, just in case!
Make sure your jumper cables are in good shape, and tie back any loose clothing or hair before you begin.
Step 2: Position Vehicles for Jump Start
To jump your battery, you’ll need to position the vehicles with the car hoods facing other. The cars should be about 18 inches apart.
You’ll want to put the car in park for automatic transmission vehicles. Manual transmission vehicles should be in neutral. Set the parking brakes on both cars.
Step 3: Open the Hood and Attach Jumper Cables
To access the battery, you’ll need to pop the hood. Do this for both cars.
Car batteries typically have two terminals, a positive one (+) and a negative one (-). One will likely be red, and the other will be black. Make sure you note which one is which.
Attach a red clamp of the jumper cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery and the other red cable to the positive terminal of the working battery.
Then you’ll connect the black clamp to the negative terminal on the working battery and the remaining black clamp to a good grounding piece of metal in the working vehicle’s engine. Some cars come with a grounding nut or stud.
Step 4: Double Check Cables
As you always heard in school, it’s important to double-check your work. Make sure you do that here too.
While looking over the jumper cables, make sure that the cables won’t interfere with moving parts of the engine and that they aren’t twisting.
Step 5: Start Engine of Working Vehicle
The next step is to start the working car. Sometimes you need to leave the functional vehicle running for a few minutes. The goal is to provide a charge to the dead battery.
Step 6: Try to Start Car With Dead Battery
Next, you’ll try to start the dead car. You should do this immediately after starting the working vehicle. If it works, your vehicle is working again! You’ll want to leave the now-working vehicle on for a few minutes and then disconnect the jumper cables and negative cable first. Drive around for about half-hour in the newly functioning car to ensure your battery charges.
If the car doesn’t start right away, try one more time after three minutes and another after 10. Should the car not start after the third attempt, the battery may be completely dead, and you’ll need a battery test and potential replacement.