How to Jump Start a Car in Easy Steps

Lucy Lazarony
December 22, 2020

If you hop in your car and turn the ignition and your car does nothing, you may have a dead battery. So call a friend and ask for help jumping your car. When your friend arrives with a car, you’re ready to get started.

Pull the friend’s car next to yours and pop open both hoods. Make sure both cars are turned off and cooled down. Engage the parking brakes in both cars. Connect one end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal on the stalled battery. Next, connect the other red (positive) cable clamp to the positive terminal of the good battery. Now it is time to work with the black jumper cables. Connect one of the black (negative) jumper cables to the negative terminal of the good battery. Connect the other black (negative) jumper cable to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the hood of the car that won’t start. Start the car that is doing the jumping and let it run for two or three minutes. And then start the car that needs to be jumped. When that car starts, you’ve done it. You’ve jump started the car.

Cleaning Up After a Jump Start

You want to remove the jumper cables in reverse order. The black (negative) jumper cable connected to the clean, unpainted metal surface under the hood of the car that needed the jump gets disconnected first.

Next, you’ll disconnect the black (negative) jumper cable that is connected to the negative terminal of the good battery.

Next comes, the red (positive) cable connected to the positive terminal of the good battery.

Once that is off, you’ll disconnect the red (positive) jumper cable on the positive terminal of the stalled battery.

Once you get a jump start for your car, you want to keep the engine running for at least 30 minutes to give the battery enough time to recharge.

Once your battery recharges, you’re all set. With a big assist from your friend, you’ve jump started your car.

Stocking an Emergency Kit for Your Car

All kinds of things can happen on the road and it is a good idea to be prepared with an emergency kit for your car. An emergency kit should be checked every six months and you’ll want to replace expired items with new ones at that time. Here is a list of the important items to carry in an emergency kit.

At the top of the list are jumper cables. Having your own set of jumper cables means you’re ready should your car battery die and your car won’t budge. All you need is another car to give your car a jump start and you’ll be back on the road again.

A spare tire is a crucial emergency kit component. You need a properly inflated spare tire, a wheel wrench and a tripod jack to be safe out on the road. With these items, you’ll be able to change a flat tire wherever you are traveling.

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A tool kit is a good thing to have if something goes wrong with your car. The right tools may allow you to fix what’s wrong until the emergency help arrives.

A flashlight and extra batteries are needed if something happens to your car on the road at night.

Reflective triangles and a bright colored cloth to make your car more visible are also needed if you have nighttime troubles out on the road.

A compass is needed when you need to know your proper coordinates and when describing your location to emergency rescue.

A first aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, a thermometer, tweezers and cold compresses is an important item to have. If you or someone traveling with you gets injured, you’ll be grateful you have this first aid kit on hand to help.

Nonperishable food such as unsalted nuts and dried fruit are good additions to any emergency road kit. It may be awhile before you can eat again in an emergency situation. These nonperishable snacks help.

Drinking water is one of the most important items in your emergency kit that you’ll take with you out on the road. Staying hydrated is essential all the time but especially during an emergency.

A reflective vest is needed in case you need to walk to get help.

A car charger for your cell phone is important so you can keep your phone charged during your car emergency. It is a good idea to keep numbers for your auto insurance company and your towing company in your phone. You want a tow truck to get to you as soon as possible.

A fire extinguisher is needed if there should be an accident that causes a fire.

A rain poncho is needed if you should need to walk for help in the rain.

For cold weather, you’ll want to add items such as a snow brush, a shovel and warm clothes and blankets.

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