It can seem like the simplest thing in the world, but it could also literally explode in your face. There’s never a good time to discover your car has a dead battery. In fact, car batteries are most likely to call it quits when it’s freezing cold outside. But it can only get better by learning how to boost a car properly and safely.
WHAT YOU NEED
The idea that boosting a dead car battery is simple might be partly due to only needing two things in place before you start.
- A donor vehicle with a good battery.
- Booster cables long enough to reach from the battery terminals on the donor vehicle to the battery terminals on the vehicle with the dead battery.
THE PROPER WAY TO BOOST A CAR
- Park Cars Close Together – If possible, park the donor vehicle’s front end beside the front end of the dead car, with the sides on which the batteries are located next to each other. If you can’t of side-by-side, parking the donor car head-on to the dead vehicle should be close enough for the jumper cables to reach from battery to battery. The cars should not touch but have enough space for you to get between them. Keep the donor car running.
- Open the Hoods, Expose and Clean Battery Terminals – Most often, battery terminals are protected by a rubberized cover, which needs to be pulled off the terminal. Check both batteries for signs of damage or leaking. Stop the process if either battery is damaged.
- Connect the Jumper Cables in the Correct Order and to the Correct Place –
- Connect a positive (red clamp) cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
- Connect the other positive cable clamp to the positive terminal on the donor battery.
- Connect a negative cable clamp to the negative terminal of the donor battery.
- Connect the other negative cable clamp to a bare metal part of the engine block of the dead vehicle. Some vehicles have a designated negative connection point in the engine. If yours has none, try to connect to a point as far from the dead battery as possible to avoid sparks igniting the gas produced by the battery. Be aware of moving engine parts and make sure cables won’t become entangled in them when you try to start the car.
- Wait for a few minutes then try to start the dead car. The dead battery has a better chance of starting if it has some time to “recharge”. Turn off all electrical components of the dead car and try to start your vehicle it as you would usually.
- Once the jump-started vehicle is started and running, disconnect the cables in the reverse order to which they were connected. Remove the negative camp from the jump-started vehicle, then from the donor vehicle. Remove the positive cable from the donor, then from the jump-started car.
- Let the boosted vehicle run for 10 minutes. This will give the boosted battery time to build up a charge and reduce the chance of needing a boost next time you try to start the car.
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If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article on how to fix rust on a car.