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Properly Jump Start a Vehicle’s Battery

Put the key in the ignition, turn it, and nothing but a weird clicking sound? Your battery could be dead. Use jumper cables to jump start it. To safely use jumper cables on your vehicle, make sure the working jumper vehicle has as much voltage as the dead vehicle, and you hook up the cables properly (see steps below).

How do I jump start a car safely with jumper cables?

  1. Find/Drive a good vehicle up next to the dead vehicle, so the hoods (battery locations) are as close as possible.
  2. Place both vehicles in park or neutral with parking brakes engaged, and shut off the ignition on both.
  3. Attach one of the red clips on the jumper cables to the positive terminal of the working vehicle's battery. ("POS" or "+" or red)
  4. Attach the other red clip to the dead car's positive terminal.
  5. Clamp the black clip (of 2nd red clip pair) to the negative terminal on that same car.
  6. Attach the last black clip (paired with 1st red clip) to an unpainted metal surface away from the battery area on the working vehicle. Use one of the metal struts that hold the hood open.automotive jumper cables
  7. Start the working vehicle and let the engine run for a few minutes.
  8. Try to start the dead vehicle. If it won't start, make sure the cables are properly connected, run the good working engine for five minutes, and try to start the dead car again. If it still won't start, the battery may be beyond help.

 

Once the vehicle gets a jump and starts... then what?

Don't shut off the engine! Remove the cables in the reverse order they were attached. Then drive around for at least 15 minutes to recharge the battery. When you do shut it off, make sure it's parked somewhere it could be jumped again, or a place where the battery could be replaced before needing it again.

 

Why is my vehicle dead?

ELECTRICAL DRAIN

Did you leave anything plugged in charging (like a cell phone) or leave the dome light on? Electrical pulls will drain your automotive battery if left on for an extended period of time.

WEAK BATTERY

Another common culprit is a weak battery or corroded terminals. If the battery is weak it can be hard on charging and can leave you stranded without warning. A vehicle's battery is only good for 3-4 years. Extreme temperatures can take a toll on your battery's life. If the battery terminals are corroded, you may need to grind them a little bit to rid them of gunk.

BAD ALTERNATOR OR BLOWN STARTER

If this happens a lot or your jumping the vehicle doesn't work and the battery is fairly new, it could be a bad alternator or blown starter. The vehicle's alternator is responsible for recharging the battery and powering the electrical system. The starter initiates the engine's engagement. If either an alternator or starter is to blame, it's probably time to call a tow truck.

dead battery

 

What can happen if I fail to follow safe vehicle jumping?

Electrical shock or other serious injuries can result from unsafe car jumping. Damage to the working vehicle's battery or engine could also result.

 

 

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Dowell Automotive

If you are unsure about any step, please contact us or roadside assistance for help. Dowell Automotive would be happy to check and repair your vehicle's battery, alternator, starter, or electrical system issues.

To make an appointment give us a call at 765-477-0333 or visit us.

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