| Kidney Cars

How To Jump-Start a Car

March 11, 2019, 1:04pm EDT

Nobody wants the frustration of a dead car battery, but knowing how to jump-start a car is a skill that can save the day, both for you and fellow drivers in need. Fortunately, it's not rocket science, and with a little know-how, Kidney Cars can get back on the road in no time.

What You Need: Jumper Cables

First things first, make sure you always have a reliable set of jumper cables stashed away in your trunk or storage space. A decent pair can usually be picked up for less than $30 at your local auto parts store. 

Safety First: Avoid Zaps

Before we dive into the how-to, a word of caution. When using jumper cables, never let the metal clamps touch each other while they're in use. Doing so can result in a potentially shocking experience. So, always exercise care when working with these cables.

How to Jump Start a Car Safely: Step by Step

  1. Seek a Helping Hand: Start by locating another vehicle with a working battery. Don't worry; most folks are willing to lend a hand when you're in a jam.
  2. Park Close: Position the working vehicle so that its battery is within a few feet of the one that needs a jump. The cables to reach with a bit of room to move between the cars.
  3. Turn Off Both Ignitions: Ensure that both cars have their keys turned off before attaching the jumper cables.
  4. Hood Up: Pop the hood on both vehicles.
  5. Red to Red: Place the red cable clamp on the positive end of the working battery.
  6. Connect the Dead Battery: Next, attach the other end of the red clamp to the positive end of the dead battery.
  7. Black to Black: Now, go back to the vehicle with the working battery and attach the black cable clamp to the negative end of its battery.
  8. Grounded Connection: Place the other black cable clamp on any metal part of the car's frame for the dead battery. This ensures a good ground connection.
  9. Let It Idle: Fire up the engine of the car with the working battery and let it idle for 2-3 minutes. This allows the dead battery to recharge a bit before starting the engine.
  10. Turn the Key: Try starting the engine of the car with the dead battery. If it roars to life, let both vehicles run for another 2-3 minutes to ensure the dead battery gets a good charge.

  11. Cable Removal: Remove the jumper cables in this order: black from the grounded area of your car, black from the negative end of the working battery, red from the car with the dead battery, and lastly, red from the working battery.
  12. Back in the Trunk: Don't forget to put your jumper cables back where you found them in the trunk or storage area of your vehicle. And be sure to give a nod of thanks to the driver with the working battery; they're your unsung hero of the day!

Jump-starting a car is a handy skill that can get you out of a tight spot, and now you know just how to do it. Just remember the safety precautions, stay positive, and with a little help from a fellow driver, you'll be back on the road in no time!

Sick of jump-starting old car? Donate it to Kidney Cars! You’ll get a tax credit to help offset the cost of the new one. 

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