How to jumpstart your car

11 June 2019 / Lindleys Autocentres

Knowing how to jumpstart your vehicle is a very useful skill all drivers should have. As your battery can cut out from many contributing factors, knowing how to jumpstart your car will help you avoid being stranded on the road without any knowledge of how to get your car moving again (and potentially save you money from any costly breakdown cover call-outs!).

In this article, learn through our step-by-step guide on how to jumpstart your car.

 You will need:

  • Jumper cables

  • A working car (preferably one with a similar-sized engine as your vehicle)

  • Rubber gloves

  • Wire brush (to clean any dirt)

Safety precautions

Whenever you are jumpstarting your vehicle, do not take this task nonchalantly. This procedure can be very dangerous when done carelessly. Not only can it damage your vehicle, but you can also get injured during the process.

Be sure to refer to your owners manual to ensure you are aware of any specific instructions for your vehicle. The same rule applies to the other vehicle that is being used.

Wear gloves to protect yourself. If you notice any leaks occurring from your battery DO NOT attempt to jumpstart your car. The acid leaking can be extremely dangerous and a cracked battery can lead to explosions.

Step-by-step guide

Prepare the cables

Now, if you have prepared your vehicle for a state of emergency, then you should easily be able to find your jump cables in your car. Get them out and ready for when you attach them up to the secondary vehicle.

It is ideal to buy a set of jumper cables for emergencies like this. But if you haven't got any, find someone who has and is willing to assist you in jump starting your car.

Prepare the vehicle’s

Have the cars parked next to each other, turn off both of the car's ignitions, and remove the keys. Make sure the vehicles are not touching and open up the bonnet.

Attach the jumper cables to the batteries

To make sure you are connecting the cables correctly, place the red clip to the positive terminal on both of the car batteries (the working battery and the flat battery). Next, connect one black clip to the negative terminal of the working battery before placing the other black clip to a metal surface on the vehicle (that is not near the battery).

Ignite the working car

Start up the working vehicle and let it run for a minute. Then, attempt to start your vehicle.

If you do not notice any progress, check to see if the cables are attached properly. If they are, try and keep the other car (working car) running for about 5 minutes. If you notice the batteries are overheating, turn off the car and wait for them to cool down and try again.

If you try to start your car again and nothing seems to be happening, you might have to call for professional help to get your car moving.

Once running, do not shut off immediately

Once you get your vehicle up and running, try and avoid turning your car off straight away. Keep it running for several minutes in order to charge up the battery.

Remove jump leads in the opposite order

When removing the cables, ensure you take extra precautions. Start to remove them in the reverse order you attached them and be careful to not touch any metal surfaces.

Drive around to recharge the battery

Once your car is up and running, drive around for at least 15 minutes until your battery is charged up enough. However, if the next time you start up your vehicle and the battery is dead, you will need to consider a replacement.

Will my car start after being jumped?

It is not uncommon for people to panic when their car refuses to start up. It makes sense to assume the worst case scenario when it has never happened to you before. However, the common reason why your car will not start up is typically due to a faulty battery, alternator or starter. As it may be difficult to figure out which one has failed, below are ways to help you diagnose the problem. 

Your vehicle’s battery is important as it generates power to the starter and electrical system. After a while, your battery’s internal parts will start to corrode - which ultimately reduces its ability to hold a charge. Now, as the battery isn’t designed to hold a charge for a long period of time, the alternator will recharge the battery as you drive.

To know whether your battery is the issue, try and start your car and listen out for a low whining noise. Alternatively, if you have jump-started your vehicle and the engine is running, but as soon as you try to turn your car on again it refuses to start up, your battery is dead.

Now, with that said, when your car battery is causing you problems, it may be the first indicator that something is wrong with the alternator. When your alternator isn't working it is unable to keep the battery charged. To know if your alternator is the issue, often, you will hear a growling noise just before the alternator shuts off. Occasionally, you may smell rubber burning due to overheating or your headlights will flicker. One of the obvious sign is when you jump start your vehicle and the engine dies straight after.

Another factor you will need to look out for is whether the car starter is the cause of the problem. The car starter works when the battery sends across electricity for the starter to turn the engine over and get it up and running. If you hear a clicking sing when you turn the key, or the car won't start even though the dash lights are on, chances are the starter has failed. If this is the case, when jumpstarting your vehicle, the engine will not turn over at all.

If you believe you are having issues with your battery, please take a look at our replacement and repair service. If you still have any inquiries or still unsure what you should do after reading our step-by-step guide, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help.


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