How to jump start a car

How to jump start a car

Autumn has arrived, and has brought with it the colder temperatures. You car’s battery will not be as efficient when it is cold. So if it isn’t in tip-top condition then you may find it takes more effort to start your car. If it’s in poor condition then you may find it’s not powerful enough to start your car. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’re stranded. You can jump start your car if you can find another driver who is willing to help you. So without further ado, here’s how to do it.

In order to jump start a car you will need two things. A set of jump leads and another working vehicle. We recommend carrying your own set of jump leads in the car anyway. They are inexpensive and handy to have as they will save you from having to rely on other people carrying them. It also means that you can help other motorists if they need their car jump started.

Before jump starting a car there are a couple of important things to consider. Check the battery first for damage. It is dangerous to attempt to jump start a damage battery. It’s also worth checking that the jump leads being used are in good condition with no expired wires. It’s also worth removing any jewellery that could come into contact with the battery terminals when you’re jump- starting the car.

Jump starting a car

  1. In the car that won’t start, turn off all electrical systems. This includes the radio, heating, lights and anything else that may be drawing current from the battery. It’s a good idea to lower the driver’s window at this stage.
  2. Park the working vehicle as close as possible to the non-working vehicle, but make sure they don’t touch. This will mean that you don’t have to stretch the jump leads between the two cars.
  3. Switch the engines and ignitions off on both cars and remove the keys. Open the bonnet, boot or where’re the battery is located in each vehicle.
  4. Take one end of the red jump lead and attach it to the positive (+) terminal of the flat battery. Sometimes this terminal will have a plastic cover on it, which will need to be temporarily removed.
  5. Attach the other end of the red cable to the positive (+) terminal on the working car’s battery.
  6. Attach one end of the black jump lead to the negative (-) terminal of the working battery.
  7. Attach the other end of the black jump lead to a decent earthing point on the non-working vehicle. This can be any unpainted, metal part such as the engine block. Wait for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Start the working car, and let it run for a minute or two
  9. Start the non-working car. If it starts, then leave both vehicles to idle for around 10 minutes. If the car doesn’t start, then wait a little longer and try again.
  10. Turn off both cars and remove the jump leads, in the reverse order of the way you connected them. Ensure that the leads do not touch the other car or each other while removing them.

What if it still doesn’t start?

if you have followed the above correctly, then the car that had the flat battery should start. If it doesn’t start now or it didn’t start after step 9, then the problem may be more serious in which case you will not be able to jump start the car.

After getting your car running again be sure to get your battery tested to see if it is retaining it’s charge. You may need to have your battery replaced if it is faulty. Car batteries typically last between 5 and 8 years, but it’s a good idea to get it checked regularly to make sure it’s in good condition. Halfords will happily test your battery for free and supply you with a new one if you need it. You can also purchase jump leads from there – a must-have item for anyone who wants to avoid being stranded this winter.

If being stranded is a real possibility in the event of your car batter not working, then there is equipment that can help. A portable battery pack includes jump leads and will also eliminate the need for another vehicle. This means that you will be able to jump start your car yourself without relying on someone else. They are considerably more expensive than a cheap set of jump leads, but they may prove invaluable if you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

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Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

  • 16th October 2023
    Current Article - By Gary McKrill
  • 25th January 2024
    Checked & Reviewed - By Sjoerd Bakker
  • 16th October 2023
    Copy Edited - By Gary McKrill
  • 12th February 2024
    Reviewed - By Gary McKrill

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