It will happen at least once in your life. You go to crank your car to find it dead. Most motorists have jumper cables in their vehicles. Not everyone, however, knows how to use them. Fortunately, it is not very complicated. Find out how to jump-start your car with these steps from the Family Handyman, so you will be ready to take action if necessary.
Check Voltage & Polarity
First, check the batteries in both vehicles to ensure they are the same voltage. Since most batteries are 12 volts, this likely will not be an issue. It is still a good idea, though, to always check. Then you need to make sure they also have the same polarity. For instance, if the negative cable runs through the battery through the frame of the car, it uses a negative ground system. The other car should have the same system.
Park the Cars Close Together
Next, park the cars next to each other so you can easily connect the cables. However, ensure the cars do not touch one another. That could lead to a short circuit in the cables, preventing you from successfully jump-starting the car.
Prepare Both Vehicles
Once the cars are side-by-side, turn both off, including the accessories. Set the parking brake and put both vehicles in park or neutral. Put on safety glasses and inspect the batteries. You need to find the negative and positive terminals before using the jumper cables.
Connect the Jumper Cables
Grab the jumper cables and connect one end of the positive cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal. Then attach the other end of the positive cable to the working battery’s positive terminal.
After that, connect the negative cable to the working battery’s negative terminal. Then you’ll need to connect the other end of the negative cable to the car with the dead battery. Do not clamp it to the negative battery terminal, though. Instead, clamp it to a clean metal bracket or bolt on the engine.
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Charge the Battery
Finally, fire up the car with the working battery and let it run for five minutes. Then start the other car to see if the battery has started charging. If your engine does not turn over, turn the vehicles off and recheck the connections. On the other hand, if it does start, let it run for 15 seconds before disconnecting the cables.
You will go in the opposite order when disconnecting the jumper cables. Then put them back up and take off.
These steps will work if your battery needs a jump-start. However, if you have another issue, you’ll have trouble getting your car up and running. Then it is time to schedule service at Barker Buick GMC in Houma, Louisiana. Our Certified Service experts can diagnose the issue and get you back on the road.
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