How To Jumpstart A Car

Occasionally, there may be times when your car won’t start, and it may be because the battery has gone flat. On average, car batteries last for around three to four years, and while you may think you need a new one, it could be that the battery simply needs a jump start. 

Our step-by-step guide takes you through how to safely jumpstart your car battery, so you can get your car moving again. If your car battery does ever need a jumpstart, we have a wide range of jump leads available to order, helping to give your vehicle the extra lease of life it needs to get going again.

Safety Checks

Before jump starting your car battery, you need to conduct several safety checks to avoid an accident: 

  • Make sure your car battery isn’t leaking or damaged. If it is, call a professional mechanic 
  • Your clothing, especially anything metal, is not near the battery 
  • You have taken the car keys out of the ignition  

After you have done these checks, put on a pair of safety goggles and gloves so you can begin using the jump leads. 

1. Find A Car With A Working Battery 

Bring a car with a working and fully charged battery close to the front of your vehicle, so the jump cables can easily reach each other. Make sure the cars don’t touch each other during this process. 

When the cars are within a reasonable distance of each other, ensure they are both parked up with the handbrakes on. Then, remove the keys from the ignition of each car and open each car bonnet to locate the batteries. 

2. How To Connect The Jump Leads 

Untangle your jump cables, making sure they are not damaged and that you have one red clamp and one black clamp in each of your hands. From this point you want to make sure none of the jump cable clamps touch each other. 

Connecting To The Flat Battery 

Locate the positive side of your flat battery; this should have a positive (+) sign on it and a red cable connecting it. Connect the red (positive) jump lead cable to the positive terminal on the flat battery. 

After doing this, you need to place the black negative (-) jump lead cable onto a piece of plastic, NOT METAL, or on the floor if it will reach. 

Connecting To The Fully Working Battery

With the remaining two jump leads, find the positive and negative sides of the fully working battery. Connect the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal and the negative (black) cable of the fully working battery. 

Once you have done this, it is time to connect the final clamp. 

Connecting The Final Clamp 

DO NOT connect the final clamp to the negative terminal of your flat car battery. What you want to find is a bare piece of metal that isn’t a moving part, or connected to any electrical components, so it can act as a grounding point.  

Some cars have an area known as an ‘earthing rod,’ so check your owner’s manual to see if your car has one of these you can connect the final clamp to. 

Be warned, connecting the final clamp to the negative terminal of your flat car battery can create a spark. Flat batteries can produce hydrogen gas too, which is highly flammable. If not treated safely, it could cause the battery to explode. 

3. Jump Starting The Engine 

When all the jump cables have been connected, you can turn on the engine of the car with the good battery. Leave it to run for two minutes. 

Once done, start the ignition of your car with the flat battery. How long it takes to jump start is dependent on the amount of charge needed for the flat battery, but we advise waiting ten minutes for the flat battery to charge up. 

After ten minutes, turn the engines’ off on both cars and safely disconnect the jump cables. You do this by removing them in the opposite order to the way they were connected. Again, make sure that none of the clamps touch each other as you take them off. 

4. Restart Your Car

Your flat car battery should now be charged, and you can get on your way. To avoid the same situation happening, you should drive continually for at least 30 minutes, and ideally not in stop-start traffic; this allows the alternator to fully charge your battery.  

Knowing how to jumpstart your car is vital, especially as they are such a key component inside your vehicle. Much like your car battery, knowing how best to clean your car windscreen is essential for driving safely on the roads. 

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