First things first: acquaint yourself with the jump start section of your vehicle's manual. More often than not, it outlines specific steps that are easy to follow, as well as any necessary safety information. In some cases, you may also discover that the manufacturer prohibits manual jump starting, requiring you to contact a mechanic instead.
Make sure you use the proper equipment
- Splash-proof polycarbonate goggles. The pair should have the designation "Z-87" on its frame, a label that certifies the pair as safe for automotive repair related activities.
- A pair of jumper cables free from rust or corrosion. Obviously, do not use cables that have exposed wires, and do not try to "repair" this by covering it with electrical tape. A set of jumper cables is something you shouldn't scrimp on.
- RED and the (+) sign means positive. BLACK and the (-) sign means negative.
- When attaching jumper cables to the battery, make sure the end touches no metal other than the battery terminal.
- DO NOT under any circumstances attach anything to the negative terminal of the dead battery! (See step 6)
Jump Start Your Car With Jumper CablesUnless specified otherwise in your owner's manual, the usual procedure to jump start a car is as follows:
- Park the car with the good battery beside the car with the drained battery, so that the engine bays are lined up with each other and the jumper cables can reach both batteries.
- Before attaching the jumper cables, make sure both vehicles are turned off.
- Take one end of the positive cable, and clamp it to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
- Attach the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
- Take one end of the negative cable, and clamp it to the negative terminal of the good battery.
- Attach the other end of the negative cable to a clean, paint-free metal surface under the hood of the dead car (most mechanics recommend clamping the cable on the engine block, or the "main" part of your car's engine).
- Make sure you've connected the ends of the jumper cable to the right places (Review steps 3 to 6).
- Start the car with the good battery. Let it run for at least 3 minutes.
- Now try starting the car with the dead battery.
- Once you've successfully jump started the dead car, let it run for a minute or two. If you're having trouble starting the dead car, it's time to call in the pros.
- Turn off the engine of the jumper car (the one with the good battery). Keep the jumped car (the one with the dead battery) running.
- Remove the cables in reverse order:
- Detach the negative cable from the metal of the jumped car.
- Detach the other end from the negative terminal of the good battery.
- Detach the positive cable from the positive terminal of the good battery.
- Detach the positive cable from the positive terminal of the dead battery.
- Check the dashboard of the jumped car. Lights may indicate an electrical or charging system failure.
- Have the jumped car examined by a professional as soon as possible.