If you’ve ever seen someone jumpstart a car, then you’ll know just how easy it is. A dead car battery can be a pain, but there’s no need to call out road assistance, as long as you know how to jumpstart your vehicle. And this is really as simple as car maintenance gets, we promise! You won’t even need tons of specialised equipment or tools.
Why a Vehicle Might Need a Jumpstart
The only reason that your car might need a jumpstart is because it has a flat battery, though this flat battery can be caused by many things. Maybe you accidentally left your headlights on, or maybe your car hasn’t been driven for a while. Whatever the reason, a jumpstart will give your battery a little extra juice so that your car will start. Once your engine is running then your battery will begin to charge itself. Easy, right?
Tools and Equipment
In order to jumpstart a car, you’ll need only two things: a set of jumper cables which you can buy cheaply at any auto supply store, and another car with a working battery. You could call a friend or relative to bring their car, or you could depend on the kindness of strangers. Jumpstarting your car will not harm the other person’s car at all. Of course, if you happen to have free roadside assistance included in your car insurance, then you can always call them out, but you might be waiting for a while, since a jumpstart is not considered an emergency!
How to Jumpstart a Car
Now we’ll get to the important part, but it really is very, very simple. There’s only one thing that you really need to be careful about: do follow the below instructions very carefully, since if you make the wrong connections you might end up frying your car engine. Don’t panic though, we’re going to walk you through this. Ready?
Turn off your ignition, take the keys out, put the parking brake on;
Get the car with the live battery parked around a metre from you, with their car hood facing yours, so the cars are “face to face,” then switch off the engine of the live battery car and put the parking brake on;
Open the hoods of both vehicles and prop them open.
Warning: Now comes the slightly dangerous part as you begin to attach the cables. Pay close attention to which cables connect to what in the below instructions. Do NOT allow the clamps at the ends of the cables to touch each other at all!
Take the end of the positive jumper cable (usually the red one, but double check for a + sign) and connect it to the positive terminal of the DEAD battery (this will be marked with a + sign), just clamp the metal clamp around the terminal;
Take the opposite end of the positive jumper cable and connect it to the positive terminal of the LIVE battery;
Take one end of the negative jumper cable (usually the black one, but look for a – sign), and connect it to the negative terminal of the LIVE battery;
Now take the opposite end of the negative cable and look inside the hood of the dead battery car and find any metal surface that’s relatively clean and unpainted (the further away from the battery the better, usually the metal strut that holds the hood open is your best bet);
Turn on the engine of the live battery car and rev it a few times, then let the engine run for a few minutes;
After a few minutes of idling, get into the dead battery car and see if the engine starts, if it does, you’re good to go, if not, then let the engine of the live battery car run for another few minutes before trying again.
Pro Tip 1: Once your car engine does start DO NOT switch it off, you’ll need to drive around for a good fifteen minutes or so to give your battery time to charge itself up (otherwise you’ll need to jumpstart your car again the next time you want to start it!).
Pro Tip 2: If your car won’t start again after you’ve driven around for a while, then your battery isn’t holding a charge and you will need to replace it!
But I Can’t Find a Car to Help Me Jumpstart!
Learning how to jumpstart a car is all very well, but you might not always be in a position to find another vehicle to help with the jumpstart process. Luckily, there’s a gadget to help you. A battery booster (can be bought at an auto supply store for around R700) will let you jumpstart your car without needing another vehicle at all, which is great if you’re in a more isolated area.
Using a battery booster to jumpstart a car is very similar to using another vehicle. Do read the instructions on your battery booster carefully (since some models may differ), but in general, you connect the red wire to the positive battery terminal of your car, and the black wire to clean, unpainted metal under the hood, then switch the device on.
A battery booster will probably need to be charged itself, however, so if you use it, or you’re preparing for a great road trip, then make sure that the booster is charged so you can use it if you need it.
A Jumpstart: The Bottom Line
Starting your car with a jumpstart is one of the easiest things that you can learn to do, and by not being dependent on roadside assistance you’ll save yourself plenty of time, and maybe money too. All you need to do is invest in a set of jumper cables and keep them in your car. Oh, and you might want to print out this article to keep in your glovebox, just in case!
Main Subject: jumpstart
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