Walnut Creek Auto Repair

How Do I Jump Start My Car?

At some point, it's bound to happen to all of us car owners. The dreaded 'flat' battery as you try to start the engine. You may have gone away on an extended overseas holiday, or perhaps you've been working from home more lately during the pandemic and not using your car so much. Opting to get your groceries home delivered instead. For a lot of people nowadays, the 'morning commute to the office' is being done in slippers and a gown.

Any car that sits idle in a garage for a lengthy time can result in the battery losing its charge. That doesn't mean the battery is necessarily 'dead' or faulty and there's usually a quick DIY fix; as long as you have access to a second car and a pair of jumper leads. Follow these simple steps and you should be on your way in no time.

Prepare both vehicles

  1. Start by parking the 'live' car as close as possible to the 'dead' one. This is to ensure the jumper cables can reach between each car's batteries.
  2. If the vehicle is automatic, make sure it's in the Park position and Neutral if it's a manual (stick).
  3. Make sure the lights are switched off, and any accessories like phone cables are unplugged.
  4. Both cars must have their handbrakes engaged.
  5. Locate the battery posts on both vehicles. They usually have a (+) and (-) symbol. Give both a wipe to remove any excess grime, ensuring a smooth charge.

Connect the jumper cables

All jumper cables come standard with a red and black cable. There are also two clips on each respective side. The red lead must be connected to the Positive terminal and the black lead to the Negative terminal. 'Red on dead first' is a simple way to remember the steps below.

The steps to follow:

  1. Clip the red jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal on the 'dead' battery car.
  2. Now clip the other end of the same red jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal on the working (live) car battery.
  3. Clip one black jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the working (live) car's battery.
  4. Finally, on the other end of the second black jumper cable, clamp it to any unpainted piece of stationary metal on the car with the dead battery. Do not attach this clamp to the negative terminal on the dead car's battery.
  5. Switch on the car engine that's doing the charging and let run for about five minutes.
  6. Try switching on the 'dead' car to see if it starts.

Hopefully, that did the trick and once started, reverse the above order to disconnect the jumper cables. Let the car run for a few more minutes in a stationary position and then drive it around the block a few times.

However, if you feel you may need a battery replacement, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!

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