How to jump start a car

car battery with jump leads attached

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…

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Check that your jump leads are not damaged in any way
  4. Remove or tuck in any loose clothing (sleeves etc…) to prevent them being caught in any moving parts of the engine
  5. Don’t smoke while you have the bonnet of your car up
  6. 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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Using the red jump lead, connect the working battery’s positive (+) terminal to your flat battery’s (+) terminal
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Now start the car with the flat battery
  7. Let both engines turn over for a bit
  8. 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
  9. Once your car is able to run, leave the engine on for a few minutes to charge the battery
  10. 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.
  11. 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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