How to Jumpstart a Car
Have you ever been stuck on the road or a parking lot with your vehicle refusing to start? This can be very frustrating and even open you up to robberies or attacks at night. Once your car stalls you need to diagnose the problem fast and rectify it or call for help. Often, the problem with the car is that it has a dead battery. In this case, you only need to jumpstart the car and be on your way. There are two ways of jumpstarting a car: by using gravity or jumper cables. Before you try out any of these, it is best to inspect your car to get to the root of the issue.
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How to Diagnose a Dead Battery
There are some signs that point to a dead battery. The most common include:
Although each of these signs could be as a result of another problem in the car, a dead battery is likely the underlying cause. You should therefore try to jumpstart your vehicle at this point.
What You Need
Before you begin to jumpstart your vehicle, you will definitely need some tools. These are:
1. Jumper cables in good condition, that is, free of rust or corrosion
You need to have jumper cables in the trunk of your car at all times. These come in handy when you want to jumpstart your car using another car. If you do not have jumper cables, you would have double the task: to find a good samaritan who is willing to help you jumpstart the car with his or her engine and to hope that they have jumper cables in their car. You must also ensure that the insulation on the jumper cables is in perfect condition. It should not have permanent creases and kinks and neither should the wires be exposed in any area.
2. Polycarbonate goggles that are splash-free
You also need to have safety gloves and goggles in your car. You might think that these items are unnecessarily filling up some storage in your car and leave them at home. This is a big mistake since you cannot predict when the car will stall.
Consider is the reason why your battery is dead. You can check this by inspecting the battery. Does it have any leaks, cracks or spillage? If it does, do not attempt to jumpstart the vehicle. Instead, call your mechanic or AAA immediately. The battery will need some professional attention.
Since safety is important, you will also need to inspect the terminals. Are they clean and free of dirt? If they are not, use the terminal brush you keep in the car to clean them.
Steps to Take Before Jumpstarting a Car
Before you jumpstart your car, there are some preliminary procedures. These are:
- Check if the battery is frozen. If it is, do not jumpstart the vehicle
- Turn off the ignition, headlights and other accessories
- Ensure both cars have the same voltage
- Place the cars in park, apply the handbrake and chock the wheels so the cars do not roll off
- Park the cars close enough for the cables to connect but do not let the cars touch
- Do not smoke
- Identify the terminals on both batteries: positive and negative. Ensure that they are clean and that there is enough space for clamping.
How To JumpStart a Car With Another Car
This is the first method to use when your car has stalled due to a dead battery. Get your protective goggles and gloves out of the car and wear them. Remember that jumper cables are like hazard signs. You should always have them in your vehicle in case of emergencies because they are important tools.
Now that you have already checked that they are in good condition, the next step is to learn how to connect them in order to effectively jumpstart a car.
This process involves the following steps:
1) Untangle your jumper cables and ensure the red (positive) and black (negative) cables are free of each other.
2) Park the two cars close to each other but ensure that they are not touching. Letting the cars touch is dangerous as it could cause an electric arc once you start charging the batteries.
3) Switch off the ignition in both cars and place them in park for automatic transmission or neutral for standard transmission vehicles.
4) Open up the hoods of both cars, that is, the good car and the one with a battery problem.
5) Check to see that all the terminals are in good condition and are clean. If they are not clean, use the terminal brush to clean them before starting the process. If they are damaged, you might need to call your mechanic because jumpstarting the car could be dangerous.
6) Confirm that your red cable has a positive sign (+).
7) Connect the clamp on the red cable to the positive terminal on the good car’s battery.
8) Follow it up by connecting the other clamp at the end of the red cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
9) Take the black cable and clamp one end to the good battery’s negative terminal.
10) Clamp the other end of the black jumper cable onto an unpainted metal surface on the dead car to ground the charge.
You need to be sure that the jumper cables free of any moving parts. You do not want to cause an accident or have moving cables during this delicate process. The other thing that you need to ensure is that the clamps on both cables do not touch. This could create some dangerous sparks. Also make sure that the clamps are tightly in place before you start any of the engines.
11) Now turn on the ignition of the good car and rev it a little for about three minutes.
12) After about five or so minutes, try starting the dead car’s engine.
13) If it starts, let it keep running and charging for about ten minutes.
14) Remove the cables in reverse order. First, unclamp the black cable that is on the metal surface grounding the charge. Proceed to unclamp the other end of the black cable from the good battery’s negative terminal. Unclamp the red cable from the dead battery’s positive terminal and then follow by unclamping the other end of the cable from the good battery’s positive terminal.
How To JumpStart a Car Without Another Car
If you do not have jumper cables or another vehicle to help jumpstart your vehicle, you can take advantage of gravity to jumpstart your car. This is only possible for vehicles that have an automatic transmission system. To do this, you will need to be on a steep slope headed in a dip. The process is simple:
- Get in your car and turn the ignition
- Find a way to start off the car on the downward slope
- Depress the clutch all the way
- Once your car is at about 8km/h, release the clutch
- If this does not start the car, depress the clutch again and release it.
This should start the car if the problem is a dead battery. If it does not, you will need to call your mechanic to come handle the problem. You can also repeat a similar process if you are not on a hill or steep slope. However, you would need some friends to push your car for momentum as you depress and release the clutch to try starting the vehicle.
You can also check this video for more details:
With these steps, you will be able to get your car up and running if the battery is dead. You can also come in handy if you find a stranger stalled on the road with that worried look that lets you know they do not have an inkling about how to jumpstart their car.