Jump starting a car is the kind of task that fills most motorists with dread, but as anyone who has ever had to do it will tell you: it’s a lot easier than it looks.
In most cases, a dead battery doesn’t require an experienced mechanic to sort out – it just needs a jump start by connecting jump leads from another vehicles battery.
Although it may be simpler than it looks, jump starting a car does require you to take your time and make sure you know what you’re doing – so follow our easy guide to using jump leads below…
Before jump starting a car…
- If your car battery shows signs of being damaged, is leaking or is corroded, DO NOT attempt to connect jump leads – this is one of those cases where a professional will be needed
- Make sure you keep any metal objects away from the battery i.e. keys, tools- if these cause a spark it could be very dangerous
- Check that your jump leads are not damaged in any way
- Remove or tuck in any loose clothing (sleeves etc…) to prevent them being caught in any moving parts of the engine
- Don’t smoke while you have the bonnet of your car up
- Make sure your car headlights and any other electronics are off – to be safe just remove the key from the ignition
Jump-starting a car using jump leads
- Find someone with a car who is happy to help you. Their car should have a fully-charged battery with the same voltage as yours – this is usually 12 volts
- Make sure both cars are parked so that the batteries are within easy reach – although the cars shouldn’t be touching each other – and keep the handbrakes on and ignitions off
- Using the red jump lead, connect the working battery’s positive (+) terminal to your flat battery’s (+) terminal
- Attach the black jump lead to the working battery’s negative (-) and attach the other end of it to an ‘earthing point’ – any unpainted metal point on the engine or chassis – make sure the point you choose is a safe distance away from the flat battery and fuel system
- Keeping both engines off, wait for a few minutes and then start the working battery’s car and allow the engine to turn over for a minute or so
- Now start the car with the flat battery
- Let both engines turn over for a bit
- If it doesn’t work, leave it a little longer, but keep an eye on the jump leads and make sure they don’t get to hot
- Once your car is able to run, leave the engine on for a few minutes to charge the battery
- Now you can remove the jump leads – these need to be removed in REVERSE ORDER to the way you attached them (steps 3 and 4 above). Make sure they don’t touch each other or any metal surfaces as you remove them.
- You should now drive your car for at least 30 minutes, or leave the engine running, to make sure your battery is fully charged
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