What can be worse than a dead car battery in the middle of the road where you can’t seem to find help and not to know how to fix it yourself either. We all get into these kinds of situations at least once in our lifetime. There can be various reasons your car has given up on you, and the only way to find the way out of this situation is if you how to jump-start it.
One of the most common problems is that your battery has drained out because you probably forgot to turn off the headlights. However, not all the problems in your car can be related to the battery drain.
There are many other reasons your car is acting up and calling for attention. Some of these problems arise gradually, and some suddenly. Still, if you are sure that it is a battery drain out, jump-starting your car is the best and quick way to make it up and running.
We understand that while fixing all the issues with the car is not in your hand, if you are not a professional mechanic, jumping starting your car should not be a difficult task once you are through this article.
Reasons why your car battery drained?
There can be many reasons your battery has drained, but the most common reasons are that you –
Forgot to turn off the headlights –
Nothing drains battery more than a headlight that you forgot to turn off while getting off the car. Even though cars come with alarms that set off when you open the driver’s door, it still requires you to be attentive when you leave your car.
Charging your electronics for too long –
This is another biggest reason why most car batteries die. If you left your phone for charging inside the car while you went out to buy groceries for too long or maybe went shopping after that, chances are your battery will be consumed by the time you come back. Gadgets tend to drain the battery rapidly if it remains unattended for too long.
Forgot to turn off the music system –
This is another usual mistakes drivers tend to make when they leave their car. It happens when you have turned the volume down to mute and later forgot that the music system is still running. It can kill the battery pretty quickly.
Why should you Jump Start a car?
Your battery helps in initiating the ignition process in the engine. The motor receives electric current as soon as you turn on the engine. This allows the motor to move the car’s flywheel and consequently starts the crankshaft rotations. This further results in a compression stroke, and after that, spark plugs complete the rest of the process.
Nevertheless, if this explanation is too complex for you, let’s put it in a much simpler way.
A battery is the power source that helps the motor to start the car. It does so by supplying high electric current. Now, when you have drained out the battery by overusing, it won’t be able to supply the electric current to the motor. Consequently, the motor won’t be able to give the push required to start the vehicle. This is the situation where your car will need that push externally by Jump Starting. You can even try pushing your car before you try other methods. However, pushing the car can be a difficult task, especially if you are driving alone. So, we would suggest learning to jump-start the car.
Tools you need to Jump-start your car –
Jumper cables – These are long, thick gauge wires with tooth-like clips on one or two ends. These tooth-like clips are known as alligator clips because they look like the head of the alligator. You can distinguish these clips by its color. Usually, red and black color indicates the positive and negative terminals, respectively.
Jump boxes – These are small portable batteries used to jump-start your car without connecting it to another car. These come with their jump wires that can be connected directly to the weak car battery. These kinds of batteries are mostly used by roadside assistance when they jump-start a dead car.
Know the terminals
Car batteries come with two large screw-like points called terminals. One is positive, and the other is negative. Both of these terminals will be marked very clearly. You must connect the jumper cables to the right terminal as it provides the power to recharge the battery.
Positive terminal – The two bigger terminals are mostly positive and are marked by POS or a + sign. You will connect it to the positive red clip on the jumper cable.
Negative terminal – The negative terminal of the battery is usually represented by NEG or – sign. It will connect to the other black clip.
How to Jump-Start a Car?
Before doing anything, make sure to keep jump cables always in the toolbox. There are more chances of finding a person who can do it for you, but chances of finding a jump cable will be quite sleek in case of an emergency. Who knows you can even help someone asking for help in the middle of the road?
Things to do before you start –
- Ensure that batteries are of the same voltage and polarity. Most batteries are around 12 volts, and the polarity would be negative.
- Pull your cars near each other so that you can connect the cable. However, do not let the two cars touch each other to prevent a short circuit.
- Turn off the ignition, lights, and any other accessory in both the cars before you start with the process. Also, make sure that both cars are either neutral or in the park position. Don’t forget to put on the parking brake.
- It is best to keep your eyes safe with safety glasses.
- Never smoke near the area. Even a minor spark can induce an explosion.
- Frozen batteries tend to explode if you try to jump-start them. So, never try to jump if your battery is frozen. If you see, one or more battery sides will seem to bulge out, which is a sign that your battery is frozen.
- Ensure that you have correctly identified the positive and the negative terminal of the batteries to know the correct position where you need to place the jumper cables.
- Make sure that you have enough space to do the clamping.
- The positive terminal is usually connected to your vehicle’s charging or starting system. You will see a red cable with a plus sign. The negative should be connected to the engine of the car and is denoted by a minus sign.
Once you have identified all the right terminals and have prepared yourself with all the precautions, let’s start with a jump-start. Follow the step below –
- Clamp the red or yellow wire (positive) to the battery’s positive terminal that you want to jump-start.
- Ensure that the other end does not of the cable does not get in contact with any of the car’s engine or your body. The cable can induce a dangerous spark if it gets in contact with the car or your body.
- Now clamp the other terminal of the positive cable to the positive end of the battery.
- Clamp the black negative cable to the negative terminal of the battery that is in good condition.
- Clamp the other side of the negative wire to clean the metal (bracket or bolt) of the vehicle’s engine. Don’t let the clamp touch the battery or fuel system that can cause an explosion.
- Warning – Don’t connect the negative wire to the negative terminal of the weak battery. It can result in the ignition of the hydrogen gas instead of the battery and lead to a massive explosion. Even if you have done this before and nothing happened, use a metallic engine part when you are trying to jump-start your car.
- Once all the wires are set, start the car with a working battery and let it charge the drained battery for five minutes, and then try to start the car with the drained battery.
- If it still doesn’t start, shut down both the ignitions, set the clamps again properly, and try again.
- Once the car with the drained battery starts, wait for around 15 seconds to ensure that it does not stop again.
- Now, disconnect the wires in the opposite order – first, disconnect the negative wire from the vehicle you jump-started, and then the negative wire from the car used to charge the battery. Then disconnect the positive wire from the supporting car. Ensure that you are not touching any of the grounded parts of both the cars with the clamp of the positive wire. The final step would be to remove the positive wire from the vehicle with the weak battery. Don’t let cables touch any part of the car’s moving parts as both the engines are running at this point.
- If you are living in a cold climate area, choose the thickest gauge cable. The lower is the number of the cable, the thicker it will be.
Note – If the car does not start even after all the attempts, you should consider that it is far too drained to jump-start.
Why do you need to keep your car running even after you jump start?
Once the car starts with the jump start, it is important to keep your car running for a while (30 minutes) because it will allow your car’s alternator to recharge the weak battery so that it gains enough power for the car ignition.
How to protect the donor’s battery?
You need to take care that you don’t end up ruining the car’s battery in the process of charging your car. It is best to take precautions, and these are as follows –
- Make sure that the voltage system of both the donor and receiver battery matches. For instance, a 12 V battery should not be used with 6 V.
- Ensure that alligator clips are connected in the right positions. The right order of the clips is red to the receiver, red to the donor, black to the receiver, black to metal. This order decreases the chances of causing a short circuit in the donor battery.
- Make sure the donor battery is not low on charge.
The emergency kit you should keep in your car –
Bottled water, Torch, Fluid spills, cable ties, Emergency blanket, Reflector roadside hazard triangle, Tire pressure gauge, Jumper Cables, screwdriver set, Wet wipes, Gloves.
Jump-starting a car can be a dangerous and challenging task if you don’t know all the right points and the right process. We have covered everything you could be having difficulties with while jump-starting the car. Next time you want to jump-start your car, keep all the tools in the car and this article bookmarked on your phone.