How to Jump a Dead Battery

The battery in your car is going to need a “jump” at some point because it has gone dead.  This usually happens when headlights or an internal light have been left on for a long time.

Jump Start A Dead Battery

Regardless of the cause, though, getting a “jump start” is often the easiest way to get up and running again.  Never done it before?  Here’s a quick guide.

  1. Find someone with a battery under the hood of their car to jump you (some cars have batteries in the trunk.  These are generally quite hard to get to.)
  2. Bring the two cars close together.
  3. Make sure both cars are turned off.  Put automatic transmission cars in Park, manuals in Neutral.
  4. Look on the batteries for “+” sign or red indicator for positive, “-“ sign or black indicator for negative.
  5. Attach one end of the positive cable (typically colored RED) clamp to the positive terminal of the “dead” battery. Attach the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the “good” battery.
  6. Attach one end of the negative cable to the negative terminal of the “good” battery. Attach the other end of the negative cable to the negative terminal of the “dead” battery.
  7. Start the engine of the good car. Allow it to run for 1-2 minutes. Rev the engine slightly by pressing on the gas pedal lightly.
  8. Start the engine of the dead car. It may take more than one try, but do not try to restart it more than three or four times.

Still won’t crank (start):

If the dead car doesn’t make a loud clicking sound when you turn the key, the booster cables may not have a good connection on the battery terminals. Try rocking the cable clamps back and forth to get the clamps to dig into the terminals. If the engine still won’t start, allow the good car to run for 5-10 minutes while hooked up to the dead car. Rev the engine slightly. This may build enough of a  charge in the dead battery to allow you to restart.  If these steps do not work after three or four more tries, stop trying to jump-start. There is probably something else that is preventing the car from starting.

Thomas Elliot

Thomas Elliot spent a good majority of his youth and young adulthood as a friendly local car mechanic from New England, before his passion for Engineering pushed him towards a successful and long career as an audio engineer and renown watchmaker. Even through the years, he still traces back all of what he has accomplished to the years he worked as a car mechanic. That love for automobiles has stayed strong throughout the years.

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