Guide to Jump Starting Your Car
What you will need for jump starting cars
- A pair of jump leads
- A kind driver with a car with a functional battery ‘Rescue car’
Do your checks first
Check the battery in your car first making sure that it is not damaged in anyway, check for leaks.
Make sure you do not have anything connected in your car which will require battery power, this includes lights, stereo, wipers etc.
Stay safe when jump starting cars
Make sure that the rescue car is parked close enough for the jump leads to be slack, but safe enough on the roadside not to cause an accident. If you have a warning triangle – use it.
The positive cable is red and will have the + symbol
The negative cable is black and will have the – symbol
Always check the packaging that came with your jump leads to ensure the positive and negative leads are as stated above.
Firstly, connect the positive cable to the positive on the rescue car battery, then carefully attached the other end of the positive to the positive on the dead battery.
Do not touch the battery terminals with your hands.
Connect the negative cable to the negative terminal on the rescue car battery, attach the other end of the negative cable to a bare metal part of the engine such as a bolt of bracket (some cars have negative jump starting poles). This is to earth the car make sure it is away from the battery itself.
Beware that by connecting the negative cable to the flat battery could trigger a spark, and worst case scenario cause an explosion.
Make sure that you never allow the negative and positive cable connectors to touch.
Getting your car started when jump starting cars
Get the driver in the rescue car to start the engine and leave running. The running time will be dependent on how flat the battery is. (I now have a vision of my Director Graham who kindly had to leave his beemer running for a good while so that my old Mustang would get enough juice to turnover – I salute you!)
Now try turning over your car, if it does not start be patient and allow a little more time and then try again.
Hurrah…. Allow your car to tick over, then ideally go for a drive to help get the battery charged up.
Car does not start
If your car does not start there are several things you can do-
Kick the car
Call out a breakdown service
Get a new battery
Disconnecting after jump starting cars
Switch off both engines, you need to disconnect the jump leads in reverse order.
If your car is running you may be a bit blasé about disconnecting in shear happiness but be careful to follow the correct order-
- Negative off of bare metal
- Negative off of rescue car battery
- Positive off of offending car
- Positive off of rescue car.
If you now try to start your car again but it won’t turn over then you need to leave the rescue car running longer when you repeat.
If you are concerned about jump starting your car then seek professional advice.Back to all help and advice articles