When you get in your car, turn the key and hear nothing but a clicking sound, chances are you are facing a dead battery. The good news is that you probably don’t have to call the tow truck. With the help of a friend and a few tools, you can jump start your car and be back on the road in very little time. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Find a Friend
You can’t jump-start a car without another person and another car. So find a friend or flag down a passing motorist who is willing and able to help.
2. Find Jumper Cables
Jumping car batteries requires jumper cables. If you are smart, you already have a set in your car. If you don’t, then try to find a friend who does.
3. Position the Cars
Next, position the cars close together, hoods facing each other. This doesn’t have to be a perfect connection, but you do need the hoods fairly close together. Open the hoods to access the batteries.
4. Turn Everything Off
Before you begin jumping the car, turn off the ignition in both. If you have any lights on or items plugged in to the cigarette lighter or outlet in either car, turn these off or unplug them as well.
5. Connect the Batteries
This step has to be done in the right order, or you will not get any charge to the battery. First, open the clamp and attach the red jumper cable to the positive terminal on the battery that isn’t dead. Look for a + sign or a red mark to indicate the right terminal. Then, attach the other red cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Once these are in place, attach black jumper cable to the negative terminal on the good battery, which is marked with a – or black mark. In the car with the dead battery, connect the negative to any metal surface, far from the battery, but not attached to a moving component. Do not cross the two lines.
6. Start the Cars
Start the car with the good battery first, and then start the car with the dead battery. The car that had the dead battery should turn over, drawing power from the other battery. Let them run for about two minutes, then remove the cables in the reverse order that you attached them, while the cars continue to run. At this point your friend can leave, but you need to let your car idle for a bit to charge up that battery before you take off.
7. Drive the Car
Even if you are close to your destination, take a few spins around the block. You need to drive for about 20 minutes to make sure the battery gets fully charged.
Charging your car battery is not hard, if you have the right information and the right tools. So the next time you find yourself with a dead battery, don’t panic. Just flag down a friend, set up some jumper cables and get it started again. All it takes is a little time and you will be back on the road.
Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area and she writes on behalf of Sears and other deserving brands. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.