how to jump start a car

Vehicle Basics: How to Jump Start a Car

Getting a dead battery can be caused by an array of factors, from a faulty electrical system, bad alternator, or simply old age. If you are stuck with a dead battery, it’s important to know how to jump start a car. This restores the electrical charge needed to operate the starter, and it can even recharge the battery in some instances.

According to Edmunds, you should start with a high-quality set of jumper cables. These should have a thick gauge of wire, and they should be around 20 feet long with solid copper clamps if possible. Next, you’ll need a working car to pull up near the dead car, without touching each other. Face to face works best.

Locate the battery and terminals. The battery is a black rectangle with two leads sticking up out of it, often colored red (+) and black (-). Make sure both cars are off and in park, and connect one red clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. If the terminal is corroded, rub it a bit with the clamp to get rid of unwanted residue.

Next, connect the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the jumper car. Connect a black clamp to the negative terminal (-) of the jumper car. Finally, connect the remaining black clamp to a grounded and bare metal piece in the engine compartment of the dead car. This grounds the charge and makes it safer. This should preferably be an unpainted bolt, bracket, or nut.

Start the jumper car and let it run for a few minutes. Try starting the dead vehicle. If it doesn’t start right away, let it sit for longer. If the car starts, remove the jumper cables in the order you put them on. Drive the dead car for 15 minutes before turning it off, allowing the alternator to charge the battery.

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