How to Jump-Start a Car – The Complete Guide

July 12, 2021

You turn on your car, but it doesn’t start.
The battery is dead.
No big deal. We’ll show you exactly how to jumpstart your car with this guide.
While jumping a dead battery is super simple, you’d be surprised by the number of people who have no idea how to do it. And even if you have learned how to jump-start a car before, it can be easy to forget what cables go where. Positive on the negative? Ground the positive cable on the car with a good battery? The red cable is negative?
To help you avoid looking silly when asked to jump-start a car and to help prevent you from shocking yourself when you do it, this article offers a complete multi-media rundown on how to jump-start a dead car battery. But first…

How to Tell If Your Battery Is Dead

Before you try jump-starting a car, you need to determine that the battery is the reason the car isn’t starting up. If you turn the ignition and hear the engine cranking, a dead battery isn’t your problem and jump starting it won’t do a thing. However, if you turn the key and the car does absolutely nothing, then there’s a good chance you have a dead battery on your hands and jumping may be your ticket to getting back on the road.

To Jump Start a Car With Cables, Follow These Steps:

1. Make sure both cars are turned off.
2. Connect one end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal on the stalled battery.
3. Connect the other red (positive) cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
4. Connect one end of the black (negative) jumper cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.
5. Connect the other black (negative) cable to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s hood.
6. Start the car that’s doing the jumping; run for 2 to 3 minutes before starting the dead car.
7. Remove cables in reverse order.
8. Keep the jumped car running for at least 30 minutes to give the battery sufficient time to recharge.
And you’re done. Give yourself a pat on the back for a manly job well done.
The hardest part of the job is simply remembering where to put each cable. Here’s the good news: It’s probably impossible to electrocute yourself from jump-starting a car. The battery might give you a big shock, but the voltage is too low to penetrate your skin and put you down for the count.
But no one wants to be on the receiving end of a zap, no matter how mild. So come up with some sort of device to help you remember which colour goes where. I personally think: red = blood = life = positive; black = death = negative.

How to Jump-Start a Car Without Cables

If you have a standard transmission car, you can jump-start that bad boy without using cables. Here’s how you do it:
1. Find a stretch of clear downhill road.
2. Fully depress the clutch and put the car in first gear.
3. Turn the ignition on.
4. Take your foot off the brake and start rolling down the hill, leaving the clutch fully depressed.
5. Coast down the hill until you reach 5-7 miles per hour.
6. Release the clutch quickly. You should feel the engine turn and start. If it doesn’t start the first time, depress the clutch and release it again.
7. If you don’t have a hill, get some of your buddies to give you a push and follow the steps above.

You May Also Like…

What is an MOT

What is an MOT

Cars over three years old must by law pass a yearly MOT test to show they are roadworthy. Here you can find out more...

A brief history of Volkswagen

A brief history of Volkswagen

From “the people’s car” to the emissions scandal, it’s safe to say VW have a history like no other. German Automotive takes a look at the interesting history of Volkswagen.