It’s been a long trip to the grocery store and you’ve just stocked up on all of the months’ essentials and are ready to head to the car. After you have loaded the groceries, you settle into the passenger seat and attempt to start the car. Uh oh, the battery is dead! What do you do now? The chances are that at one time or another you have had a dead battery, but perhaps you had Mom and Dad or a close friend there to help you. A dead battery might not be the end of the world, but it certainly can be stressful. The experts from Best Buy Auto Equipment have written a step by step user guide for jumping a car battery.
1. Diagnose the Problem
This might come as a shock, but just because your car is not starting, doesn’t mean the battery is dead. There are a few ways to test this. First, check to see if the clock and the windshield wipers are working, if they are then the battery is not the problem. The next thing you can do is put the keys back into the ignition and attempt to turn the car on. If it steadily hums then the problem is not the battery, but if it is struggling or there is no sound at all, you will need to jump the battery.
2. Find a Nearby Car and Jumper Cables
If you are by yourself, call a friend or summon someone nearby with a car for help. You will also need a set of jumper cables in good working condition. We recommend always keeping a set in your car, just in case you need them again or it is your turn to save the day.
3. Turn Both Cars Off
Make sure both car ignitions are off and that the cars are in Park, not Drive, Reverse or anything other than Park. This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at the amount of people who attempt to jump a car while one of the cars is running.
4. Connect the Red Clips
This is very important, so pay close attention. Make sure that the black and red jumper clips never touch. Attach one red clip to the positive terminal of the dead battery, and the other red clip to the positive terminal of the charged battery.
5. Connect the Black Clips
Now that both red clips are attached, it’s time to connect one black clip to the negative terminal of the charged battery. Attach the remaining black clip to the metal strut that holds the car hood open. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, or if the one for your car is missing, an unpainted metal surface that is not near the battery will do.
6. Start Your Engines
Attempt to start your car, if it’s still not starting, your friend should run their engine for a couple of minutes. Try to start your car again. If your car starts, DO NOT SHUT THE ENGINE OFF for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Your battery needs time to recharge. If the car is still not starting or you are not able to turn the car on later that day, you’ll need to replace the battery.