It’s relatively easy to jump start a car when you know exactly what to do. It’s pretty safe to jumpstart a car if you have already done it in the past and have that experience. And for sure, jumping a car can be extremely risky if you miss one or two steps along the way. So, please note that the only thing that really guarantees your overall success is to stick to instructions in this article.
Read carefully the owner’s manual of the car you’re trying to jumpstart. If you have any questions, never skip addressing them to an expert. Jumping an engine often varies from one car to another. Just because you have a successful experience with one car, it does not ensure you from painful mistakes with another. Some models just cannot handle the power surge that almost every jumpstart usually provides. Again, never skip your car’s owner’s manual.
1. Park the “donor” car (the one with the fully charged battery) near the “dead” car that needs to be jumped, but never let the two cars touch. Automatic transmissions must be set to park, manual to neutral.
2. Both parking brakes must be set.
3. Turn the ignition off with keys removed! You always want to keep some extra power that may be still left in your battery.
4. Open both hoods, locate batteries. Remove the caps from the batteries with a rag.
5. Choose one jumper cable and attach its ends to the plus terminals of both batteries. The cable color does not matter as long as you stick to it. If you attach the red end to the plus terminal of one of the batteries, then make sure to attach the red end to the plus terminal of the other battery.
6. Take one end of the second jumper cable and attach it to the minus terminal of the “donor” vehicle’s battery (the charged one).
7. Wiggle the clamps a little bit to get a solid attachment of the every jumper cable’s end to the battery terminal.
8. Take the last end of the second jumper cable and ground it. In order to ground it, attach the last clamp to a clean unpainted, metal part of the “dead” car such as an engine block nut. Never attach the last end to the last minus terminal of the “dead” battery.
9. Check and then recheck again until you are 100% sure that none of the four clamps will ever contact each other or fall off when both engines have started.
10. Take a minute or two to check all these things. Take your time. When you are ready, you can continue and turn on the “donor” car’s engine.
11. Make sure that every power consumption like radio, a/c, light is turned off in both cars. After that, you can start the engine of the car with the “dead” battery.
12. If the “dead” engine does not start, count to 20 and try it again. If it does not start again, you may have to replace the battery.
13. The sequence in which you disconnect the jumper cables is also extremely important. First, remove the ground cable from the previously “dead” engine. Then disconnect it from the minus terminal on the “donor” car’s battery.
14. Then you can remove the jumper cable clamps from the plus terminals of the batteries in both cars in any order you like.
15. Set the battery caps back.
16. Do not turn the “dead” engine off. There’s a huge chance it will not turn back on again as the battery has not been charged yet. So…
17. Take a drive. Please, don’t skip this part. Even a short drive will help the battery to build up a significant amount of charge. If it’s possible, drive at least for a half an hour.
We honestly hope you will never need any help from this “How to Jumpstart a Car Properly” guide. But if you do, please, check the owner’s manual first and never miss a step in this manual. With that, everything’s gonna be alright.
Note: If you have a hybrid vehicle, like Toyota Prius, the jump starting algorithm will be absolutely different!