There’s never a good time to have a dead battery. When you turn the key and you’re confronted with that disheartening ticking sound, you’ll be wishing you had a set of jumper cables. So, be prepared by keeping some in your vehicle at all times. You never know when you might need to save someone else’s day either.
Whether you’re a new driver or you’d just like to be more prepared in your travels, learning the steps of this process will make you a much safer and more confident car owner.
The first thing you’ll need is another car with a working battery. Have the other car parked next to yours in a way that puts your batteries near each other. Start with both cars turned off and parking brakes engaged.
How to Use Jumper Cables
1. Identify the batteries’ positive and negative terminals. In almost every car battery, the positive terminal will either have red wires, a red cover, or some other kind of red indicator. Otherwise, look for the + and – signs.
2. Extend your jumper cables so that none of the clamps are touching. This can cause sparking and a short circuit.
3. Take one of the red clamps and attach it to the dead battery’s positive terminal. If there is a cover, remove it and hook the clamp securely to the metal.
4. Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery, and then also attach the black clamp to the negative terminal. Make sure each clamp is secure.
5. Back in the dead car, attach (ground) the other black clamp to an unpainted metal surface in the engine compartment– the farther away from the battery the better. Any uncrowded bolt will do the trick. Beware: attaching the black clamp the the dead battery’s negative terminal will cause sparks, which could ignite hydrogen fumes.
6. Start the working vehicle and let it idle for a few minutes before you try to start the dead vehicle.
7. Once you’ve gotten your car started, let it run for a minute or two before detaching the jumper cables.
8. Remove the clamps in the following order (still being careful not to let them touch): negative grounding clamp in the dead car; negative clamp on the donor car; positive clamp on the donor car; then finally, the positive clamp on your car.
Once your car is running again, let it idle for at least 10-15 minutes, or drive it around for a while to charge the battery.
If you didn’t accidentally leave your headlights or a dome light on, your battery may need to be replaced. Drop by Grease Monkey today and we’ll help you diagnose the problem and prevent this from happening again.