How to Jumpstart Your Car

Jumper Cables

Everybody’s been there. You get in your car after a day at the mall with your friends. You go to turn the key in the ignition only to find that your car won’t start. Maybe you left your interior lights on again (oops!), or it’s super cold out, or maybe your battery is just old. Whatever the reason, your battery is dead.

Fear not. If your battery dies, you may be able to jumpstart it with the help of another working vehicle. Try to flag down your friend before they pull out of the parking lot, or see if a Good Samaritan will help you out.

Preparing to Jump Start Your Car

To jumpstart your vehicle, follow these steps:

  1. Park the working vehicle nose-to-nose with your car, about 18 inches apart. Both vehicles should be turned off and they should not be touching one another.
  2. Get out your jumper cables.
  3. Look for the positive (red) and negative (black) terminals on the car batteries.
  4. Attach one end of the positive cable clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery and the other end of the positive cable clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery.
  5. Attach one end of the negative cable clamp to the negative terminal of the working battery. At this point, the cables are live. Do not touch the metal portion of the clamp.
  6. Next, attach the other end of the negative cable clamp to a metal section of the engine away from any moving parts.
  7. Make sure everyone is clear of the engine.
  8. Start the engine of the working car. Press on the gas pedal gently and allow the car to run for 1-2 minutes.
  9. Try starting the engine of the dead car. It should be working now. If your car still doesn’t start, you may need to have it towed.
  10. Remove the cables in the reverse order they were attached.

Check out the video below to see these steps in action.

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