Learning how to jump start a vehicle battery isn’t difficult, but it can definitely be intimidating of first-timers.
Here we will answer common questions that will help you get back on the road in no time.
Why did my battery die?
The most common cause of a dead battery is leaving your lights on overnight, but that is not necessarily
the only way to drain your battery. Other culprits can include an interior light doesn’t shut off due to a
faulty door latch or truck switch, a faulty alternator, or even a poorly installed stereo system, subwoofer or
a car alarm that may be leeching power through a short circuit. If you find your battery is constantly dying
on you, it’s worth heading to a professional to diagnose the problem.
The right tools for the job
There are two basic tools used to jump start a vehicle battery.
1. The standard jumper cables
Which are intended to connect your vehicles electrical system directly to that of another vehicle nearby,
allowing you to use its power to get your engine going. You’ll need to choose the right length of cable,
standard units force you to park face-to-face. That’s not always possible on a busy highway, where it may
be safer to park nose-to-tail and use a set of extended cables. Thicker cables, noted by their lower gauge
size, will also transmit electricity more efficient, which makes for easier jump-starting. Finally, solid copper
clamps always bear copper-plated clamps as the latter design can wear off over time and significantly
reduce your ability to jump start a car battery.
2. Portable power pack
Which is a self-contained battery you can keep charged in your vehicle or garage. The pack can be
attached to your vehicles battery and save your from having to wait for a rescue.
Making the Connection
Regardless of whether you use cables or a power pack, learning how to jump start a vehicle battery requires
you to understand how to make the right connection with your vehicles electrical system.
Starting with the working battery, connect the positive terminals first and then connect the negative terminals.
Although you are likely familiar with the concept of connecting the positive terminals and negative terminals
together using jumper cables, it’s a good idea to clamp to the chassis of the car being jumped started
instead of the dead battery’s negative pole. This provides you with a stronger ground, the battery itself is
ground out through the chassis, so you are cutting out the middleman and ensuring that any sparks
that might fly are located far away from the battery, which could be venting flammable gases.
If you are using a battery pack, you’ll follow the same steps: Positive cable to positive terminal, negative
cable to negative terminal or ground pole/chassis. Lastly, make sure that the pack is on and ready when
you crank the ignition on your vehicle.