Battery care is the last thing that goes through the mind of most car owners. Your car battery needs to be replaced at least every two years and its voltage needs to be checked from time to time to ensure optimal performance.
If you have ever been in a situation where it’s difficult to start your engine, especially in the morning, this indicates that your battery’s voltage might be too weak and it might need to be replaced. Worst case scenario, you may need to jump-start your car’s battery to be able to start your engine.
When jump-starting the battery, you are advised to practice the proper safety measures. Most car models sold in the market today use various electronic components in the car’s internal system. Any mistake can cause short circuits to important car components such as the transmission control unit (TCU) which would be dangerous for your car.
Things to Pay Attention to before You Jump-Start Your Car Battery
Here are some things that you definitely need to pay attention to before you jump-start your car’s battery, especially if you are doing this for the first time:
- Refer to the car’s user manual. Jump-starting is actually not recommended for some car models since they have a sensitive circuit;
- Do not jump-start a car battery that is rusty, cracked, damaged, and leaking;
- Do not jump-start a dry battery;
- If you plan to jump-start your car battery by hooking it to another battery, make sure the voltage of the ‘donor’ car is the same or bigger than yours;
- Connect the alligator clip on the right place according to the right sequence;
- Make sure the ‘donor’ car battery is in good condition;
- Do not touch the car’s body or the alligator clip during the jump-start process.
What You Need to Know before You Jump-Start a Car Battery
In addition to that, you also need to know some basic things about your car battery before you attempt to jump-start it. Generally, car batteries are equipped with two terminals, namely the positive terminal and the negative terminal:
- Positive terminal – the positive terminal is usually larger than the negative terminal. Marked with ‘POS’ or ‘+’, this terminal should be connected to the positive clip of the jumper cable which is red in color;
- Negative terminal – the negative terminal of the battery is usually marked with ‘NEG’ or ‘-‘, and this terminal will be connected to the negative clip of the jumper cable which is black in color.
Equipment Required to Jump-Start Your Car
Before you start the process of jump-starting your car, you will need the following tools:
- Jumper cables: Jumper cables are thick electric cables with serrated clips on both ends that’s called crocodile clips a.k.a alligator clips because of its shape that looks like an alligator’s or crocodile’s jaw. The cables are usually distinguished by color – red indicating positive (+) and black indicating negative (-) polarity.
- Power source: You can use either a portable battery or another car’s battery as a power source to jump-start your own car battery. Portable batteries allow you to jump-start your car battery as long as it has enough charges and they are usually equipped with a special jumper cable.
The Proper Way to Jump-Start Your Car
If your car’s engine fails to start, you might have an issue with your car battery. If you’re not sure how to properly jump-start your car when this happens, don’t worry – here’s how you can do it safely:
1) Turn Off the Engine
In a situation that requires you to jump-start your car battery with the help of a ‘donor’ car, you need to make sure that the electrical equipment and systems of both cars such as headlights, radios and so on are turned off.
2) Park Properly
After that, the ‘donor’ car needs to be parked as close as possible to your car – best to position the cars so that they face each other, so that the jumper cables can easily reach the negative and positive terminals of both cars. However, you have to make sure that the two cars do not touch each other. Otherwise it may lead to other unwanted dangerous situations.
3) Remove the Keys
Make sure the engine of both cars is turned off, the key has been removed, and the front hood has been opened.
4) Connect the Red Jumper Cable to the Positive Terminal
Connect the clip of the jumper cable carefully. Start by connecting the positive terminal of the car jumper cable to the positive terminal of the ‘donor’ car battery. The positive terminal usually has a red plastic cover with a plus (+) symbol. After that, connect the other end of the jumper cable to the positive terminal of the car battery that needs jump-starting.
5) Connect the Black Jumper Cable to the Negative Terminal
Then, connect the black jumper cable clip to the negative terminal of the ‘donor’ car battery. After that, connect the other end of the jumper cable clip to an unpainted metal object of the car that won’t start such as the front bonnet metal rod.
6) Start the Engine
Start the engine of the ‘donor’ car.
7) Wait a Moment
Wait for a few minutes. Then, try to start the engine of the car you’re trying to jump-start. If it still won’t start after a few tries, the battery might not be the problem. When this happens, it’s best to get a mechanic to look at your engine since the problem may be caused by a faulty alternator, Electronic Control Unit (ECU), starter, or spark plug.
8) Let the Engine Run
If you can get the engine running, let both car engines run for 5-10 minutes.
9) Disconnect the Jumper Cables
Turn off both cars’ engines and then carefully disconnect the jumper cable in reverse order – disconnect the black cable from the car with the weak battery first, followed by the ‘donor’ car, and remove the red cable from the car with the weak battery first, followed by the ‘donor’ car. Make sure the clips don’t touch one another, or either car, as you disconnect them.
10) Test Drive
After the jumper cable is removed, drive the car in normal traffic conditions for about 30 minutes to recharge the battery.
Since your car’s battery plays a vital role in your car’s overall performance, taking the proper course of action is important when a problem arises with your battery. We hope this guide will help you to jump-start your car safely in the future.
A self-proclaimed foodie and gamer whose passion for food and games have recently extended to cars.