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How to Jump-Start Your Car Safely

When you are late for work already, and you turn the key to your car only to find that the battery is dead, you may quickly opt for a taxi ride to work to avoid the wrath of your boss. Although a dead battery can be stressful and burdensome to most people, it is rather easily fixed, as long as you have all the proper tools and information in order to jump-start your vehicle. Unfortunately, many people each year have been badly injured, and have even died, trying to jump-start a car. While this fact can be scary, these are instances that occur when jump-starting is not done properly or safely. Now, don’t let that scare you away from trying it yourself—as long as you know what you are doing and are taking all the necessary safety precautions, jump-starting a battery can be perfectly fine for anyone to try. However, it does require another individual who is willing and able to donate their battery power and vehicle for a few moments, so this would be a good opportunity to shake hands with the neighbor you ignore every morning as you both get into your cars and drive off to work.

Battery Check

Get the essential equipment ready

The first step is to be prepared for a dead battery at any moment. Keep a good pair of working gloves and jumper cables in your trunk at all times, along with the usual first-aid kit, spare tire, and towels. Luckily, jump-starting your car does not require many essentials, except the proper jumper cables and a willing participant with a working battery in their car. You should be able to look at both vehicles, find the battery and the correct terminals that you will be connecting to the jumper cables. Bring the two vehicles’ hoods as close together as possible—the jumper cables do not need to be long, because the longer the cable, the more likely it is that you will lose any shred of power that might help jump-start your battery. You’ll want a strong gauge cable; usually about an average 6 gauge is a good rule of thumb. In the next steps, pay attention closely; electric currents are no joking matter; as mentioned before, a person could become severely injured by electrocution if proper precautions are not taken.

Take safety precautions

After the two cars are parked closely together, put both the cars in the parked position, or for a stick shift, put the car in neutral; both emergency brakes should be on. This will keep the cars from moving dangerously apart while connected, or at the worst time—while trying to connect the cables. Be sure that both the engines are safely turned off and that the keys are put away—we do not want any accidental ignition start-ups. Following these safety precautions, you should find the batteries on both vehicles. Investigate the battery to make sure you can safely find the terminals where you will be clamping on the cables—if you need to, then clear off any debris from the battery so that you can identify the terminals with absolute certainty. While you are doing this, the cables should be placed aside in a safe area.

The vital part

After finding the positive and negative terminal sites, you can now attach the cables. The positive cable clip should be attached to the corresponding site on the drained battery; this terminal will be marked with a plus sign (+). Then, connect the other end of the cable’s positive clip to the working battery. Next, connect the negative cable clip () to the corresponding negative clip on the working battery. After that, you will want to remain cautious and connect the other negative clip end of the cable to a shiny metal bolt (something metallic and unpainted other than the battery) on the vehicle with the drained battery—do not connect the cable to the battery itself.

Battery Clipping

Final thought

Start the functioning car and remain patient for a moment while the battery charges itself. After a few minutes, you can try starting the car with the drained battery. If it has not worked yet, you can remain patient for a few more moments and try again, or you can also try revving the engine slightly. After the car is running, unclip the negative clips being careful not to allow the cables to touch. Now you can head off to work, and while you drive there, your battery will charge the whole way. Most importantly, be safe while doing this, and if you don’t feel comfortable, its always best to err on the side of caution and bring it to a professional for help.