It happened to all of us at some point in time. You left the car with headlights on, or the battery just drained over night without any obvious reason. It may also happen that the battery is old and can’t work as well as in its glory days. You get stranded somewhere and the most efficient way to get your engine running again is to jump start it. Here’s a detailed guide on how to jump start an engine using cables and another car with a good battery.
1. Get another car that runs
First step is to find another car that has a working battery, one that starts without any trouble, and bring in it close in range of the car with bad battery, so the jumper cables can reach out. It is important that the two cars don’t touch each other, so no short-circuits will be caused. Also, make sure the car with the bad battery has the keys out of ignition position, preferably, out of the car.
2. Identify the positive and negative poles of the batteries
Next up, you need to figure out where to connect the ends of the jumper cables. Start out with your bad battery and identify the positive and the negative pole on it. Most of the time, the positive pole features a + sign on it and is connected using a red cable, while the negative pole features a – sign and gets connected to the car through a black cable. Go ahead and identify the poles on the working battery of the other car.
3. Connecting the jumper cables
Now that you identified the poles, it is time to connect the jump start cables. As you will notice, there is a black cable and a red cable both with clamps at each end. Obviously, you need to connect the clamps to the poles; however, there’s a certain way you must do this, in order to avoid sparks and unwanted damage to the vehicle.
Go to the bad battery and connect the red clamp to the positive pole. The reason why you start with the drained battery is because it features a lower level of power inside, thus being the safest starting point. Next, place the ground cable on a piece of non-conductive material, such as plastic. Don’t place it on bare metal, as you will remove all the power from your battery.
Go ahead and connect the other red clamp to the positive pole of the good battery, then connect the black clamp to the negative pole of the same battery. Here’s the catch: returning to the bad battery, do not connect the black clamp to the negative post. It will create sparks and possibly ignite the hydrogen vapors released by the bad battery. Instead, connect the remaining clamp on a piece of bare metal that’s not moving, also away from anything that may cause an ignition in case a spark is produced.
4. Give it a go.
Once all the cables have been connected, go ahead and try to start your car. Remember to keep it either in neutral or parking, so you won’t bump into the car providing power for you. If everything goes well, the bad battery should have charged enough to make the engine start.
5. Remove the cables
Once you’ve started the car, go ahead and remove the cables in the opposite order of installing them. Start with the black cable’s clamp on the bare metal piece and end with the black clamp on the negative pole of the good battery. That’s it! You’ve successfully jump started your car.