How to Jump a Starter
October 9th, 2019 by Brown Traci
A dead battery is one of those disruptions to your day that always seems to happen at the worst possible time. It never happens when you actually have time to get your car going. Instead, it strikes when you have just a few minutes to get to work, school, or some other important destination.
In those situations, it is important to have enough automotive knowledge to know how to jump a starter. A dark, rainy parking lot is no place to be doing research on the subject, so review these five important steps to getting your vehicle started in the fastest possible way.
Confirm that the Battery Is Dead
Some problems can appear to be a dead battery when in fact something else is wrong. A good indicator that the battery is at fault would be that you’ve discovered lights left on or identified some other reason why the battery would be drained. Another indicator is when the battery has previously given you problems, or if it is just old.
If those obvious causes can be eliminated, check the connections. Cable terminals can become loose over time. They can also develop corrosion, getting caked with a powdery material that interferes with the movement of electricity. You can disconnect them, scrape away the corrosion, and reconnect them for a quick fix in this case. Just make sure you have an appropriate wrench to tighten the cables without stripping the bolts.
Locate Another Source of Power
Once you hear that telltale clicking sound (or nothing at all), you know the battery is dead. You’ll need to borrow power from another source to get your vehicle running.
The most common option is to have another vehicle brought alongside yours. This typically works just fine, but it has its limitations. First of all, you need another vehicle! If you have discovered your dead battery when no one else is around, you have a big problem. You may also not be able to position the other vehicle close enough to your battery, such as when your car is in the garage. Finally, the “donor” car may have a small alternator and battery that aren’t capable of starting a larger vehicle.
The best way to bypass all these worries is to get a jump starter device. Look through the durable jump starters reviewed by Carsavvier and choose one that fits your budget. Then keep it charged up and in your vehicle at all times.
Make the Connections
You’re actually down to the easy steps now. Whether you’re jumping from a vehicle or your jump starter, you simply connect the red cables to the positive terminals and the black ones to the negative terminals. If you are using another car, connect to it first to reduce the chances of a spark.
If you have made good contact, you will see a response from your vehicle. Any lights that are turned on will become brighter. This may include the interior dome light, the light under the hood, or even the instrument panel. Your “door open” chime or other alarms may return to their normal sounds as well.
Wait a Few Minutes
Sometimes the car will start immediately after making these connections because the amount of current it lacked was fairly small. Your little boost from the outside source was just enough to push it quickly over the top.
When your battery is truly dead, though, some time will be required. If you have gotten no response at all when turning the key, it will take a little while to accumulate enough power to turn the motor. While you wait, leave all lights off and doors closed to avoid wasting electricity.
Start Your Car!
Now we’re down to the easy part. It’s time to turn the key. If everything has gone according to plan, your vehicle will start up and you’ll be safely on your way as soon as you get things squared away under the hood.
If you are using a jump starter, turn it off before disconnecting it. Recharge it when you get home. If you have jumped off another vehicle, remove the cables from your car first, making sure the red and black don’t touch each other. Make sure both hoods are securely closed.
As you drive away, keep an eye on your alternator gauge to make sure the battery is taking a charge, and don’t shut off the motor for at least 30 minutes, or until you are safely at home with a reliable charger. Follow up at a mechanic’s shop or an auto parts store by getting the alternator and battery tested, and correct any problems they find.
A dead battery is definitely a big inconvenience, but if you’re educated and equipped to deal with it, you’ll come through this little crisis unscathed.