It’s important to know how to jump start a car. Any person (e.g. a really pretty girl) with a stalled vehicle might need your help and if you don’t know how, it’s embarrassing if the only thing you can do is call roadside assistance.
So here are the basics:
How to know if your battery is dead
Before you even try to jump start a car, you need to find out if the battery is the culprit. If you turn the ignition and hear the engine cranking, it’s not the battery.
If you turn the ignition and the car does nothing, it’s likely that the battery is dead so you’ll need to jump start it.
How to jump start a car with cables
- Position both cars close to each other, then pop their hoods open.
- Take out your jumper cables. Protip: make sure you always have a set in the trunk of your car. Otherwise, you need to find someone who’s willing to help – and ideally, they have jumper cables. Otherwise, go to the next section below.
- Place both vehicles in Park or Neutral, turn off the ignition in both cars, and then Engage both hand brakes.
- Connect one end of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery. It has “+” or “POS” on it, and it’s usually larger than the negative terminal.
- Connect the other red (positive) clip to the positive terminal of the functioning car’s battery.
- Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal of the functioning car’s battery.
- Connect the other black clip to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s hood. Consider using the metal strut that keeps the hood open or the engine block itself. Do not connect the black clip to the negative terminal of the dead battery.
- Start the functioning vehicle and let the engine run for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Try to start your vehicle.
- If your car doesn’t start, double check that the cables are properly connected and ask the person helping you to run their engine for five minutes. Then try to start your car again. If it still won’t, you may need to get your battery replaced.
- If your car starts, don’t shut off your engine. Disconnect the cables in reverse order of how you connected them. Drive around for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery. If the car won’t start the next time you use it, either your alternator or battery is busted, and either needs to be replaced.