HOW TO JUMP START A CAR-5 BEST WAYS TO DO IT

how-to-jump-start-featured-image

How to jump-start a car?  A question and task that you’ll encounter sooner or later during your driving career.

Either it’s a flat car battery, faulty car starter or else, knowing how to do this will come in handy and get you out of a tight spot.

Knowing how to jump-start a car is a fairly easy procedure and is considered common knowledge among drivers.

If you haven’t done this before, hopefully this article will guide you through the whole procedure and enable you to start your car if it lets you down.


 

WHAT WILL YOU NEED?

All depending on the present situation you’re in (what is the fault, is there anybody around, what equipment do you have etc) you’ll need:

  • Jumper cables

 how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cables

  • Another car with a good battery
  • Fully charged spare car battery (not on the car but separate)

 car-battery

  • Two or three people
  • Towing cable or towing pole

 towing-cable

 towing-pole

  • Knowledge of stick shift driving (if you own a car with manual transmission).

 gear-lever-neutral-despairrepair.com

If you don’t know how to drive stick-shift, click here to read a separate article on that topic or watch a video on our You Tube channel.

Again, you may either need one or a combination of these.


 

HOW TO JUMP START A CAR WITH JUMPER CABLES?

This is when the car’s battery has run flat. It can happen for numerous reasons, mainly if the car battery is accidentally fully discharged (headlights left on, stereo left on etc), the car battery is old or the alternator voltage is too low.

If you want to know how to check the alternator voltage, click here for a separate article and video tutorial on that topic.

Also, if you’re interested in recharging the battery instead of a jump-start, click here for the article and video tutorial.

Having a pair of good jumper cables and another “donor” car with a good battery is the solution here.

This is the procedure:

  1. Get the jumper cables. Be sure that you untangle them. Don’t use them if they’re tangled up as this can cause problems (shorten length, cause the clamps to accidentally connect etc). how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cables
  2. Usually the jumper cables (both clamps and cables) are of red and black color. This is standard. The red one is for the plus “+” battery terminal and the black one is for the minus“-“battery terminal. how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cable-colors
  3. Once the cars are properly parked, put the car in to “P” for automatic transmission; for manual transmission, pull the hand brake and put the car in neutral.neutral-gear-for-jump-startpull-handbrake
  4. Park the “donor” car as close as possible to your car so the jumper cables can reach. Car battery positions vary from model to model (can be even in the trunk) so your battery may be on the opposite side of the “donors” car. Take a look before parking and set both cars to such a position that the car batteries are closest to each other.how-to-jump-start-car-parking-position
  5. Raise both of the hoods and take of any plastic coverings off the battery (if there are any). raised-hood-despairrepair.com how-to-jump-start-car-remove-plastic-lid
  6. Take hold of the red cable and connect the plus “+” terminals on both car batteries. You can first go from your car, but it doesn’t really matter.
  7. Take the black cable and connect the minus “-“ battery terminals. Another method is connecting the minus clamp to the car body (like bare metal parts of the engine, ground connections or else). Not a mistake, but I would advise to connect to the battery terminal. In my opinion, safer.how-to-jump-start-car-connection-fo-jumper-cable
  8. Make sure that the contact between the clamps and battery terminals is good. Also, it would be best for the clamps to stand upwards from the battery terminals. Putting them sideways or in a lying-down position may be dangerous (mainly because of the possibility of short-circuiting the battery). how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cable-clamp-position how-to-jump-start-car-connected-jumper-cable
  9. Let the driver of the “donor” car start his/her car. The car should be revved up to about 1500-2000 rpm-s. This way the power output will be better.
  10. Turn the ignition key on your car. If everything is OK, the dashboard lights should shine with a normal glow (with a dead or weak battery they will be dim or they won’t shine at all). But if they shine normally this is a good sign and proceed further. If they don’t, then something’s wrong. Check the clamps again for good connection.turning-on-car-jump-start-car
  11. Crank the engine. If everything is OK, the car will crank and the engine will start. Leave the engine running.igniton-key-turn
  12. Once you’ve started the car, the driver of the “donor” car should turn of his/her car.
  13. Be careful on the next part and that is removing the cables. First remove the plus “+” cable from the donor car and then from your car. Second, remove the minus “-“ cable in the same order. It doesn’t really matter if it’s your car or the donor’s car first for taking off the cables, but I always do it in this order. Once removed, best hold the clamps upwards in order to avoid accidentally putting the clamp         down in a wrong place or causing a short-circuit.how-to-jump-start-car-hold-jumper-cables-clamps-up
  14. Let your car idle for at least 15 minutes, even more if the car battery was completely flat. Every few minutes rev up the engine for a couple of seconds.

If everything is OK, after half an hour max you’ll be able to start the car again.

Have in mind that if the battery is old or damaged, you probably won’t be able to start the car again.


 

HOW TO JUMP START A CAR WITH ANOTHER, SEPARATE, CAR BATTERY?

If you happen to have a separate car battery at hand (bought before as a reserve perhaps), you can use this to jump-start a car.

Of course, you can replace the old car battery with the reserve one, but if you don’t have time or means a jump-start is the next best thing.

The principle is the same as to jump-start with another car, only this time you won’t need another car and driver, just a fully charged car battery.

  1. Get the jumper cables. Be sure that you untangle them. Don’t use them if they’re tangled up as this can cause problems (shorten the length, cause the clamps to accidentally connect etc).how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cables
  2. Usually the jumper cables (both clamps and cables) are of red and black color. This is standard. The red one is for the plus “+” battery terminal and the black one is for the minus“-“battery terminal.how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cable-colors
  3. Once the cars are properly parked, put the car in to “P” for automatic transmission; for manual transmission, pull the hand brake and put the car in neutral.
  4. Place the spare car battery on the ground near the battery location on the car. Put it at a safe distance, as much as the jumper cables can reach.how-to-jump-start-car-with-other-car-batter
  5. Take hold of the red cable and connect the plus “+” terminals on both car batteries. You can first go from your car to the spare battery, but it doesn’t really matter.
  6. Take the black cable and connect the minus “-“battery terminals. Another method is connecting the clamp to the car body (like bare metal parts of the engine, ground connections or else). Not a mistake, but I would advise to connect to the battery terminal. In my opinion, safer.
  7. Make sure that the contact between the clamps and battery terminals is good. Also, it would be best for the clamps to stand upwards from the battery terminals. Putting them sideways or in a lying-down position may be dangerous (mainly because of the possibility of short-circuiting the battery).how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cable-connection-with-spare-car-batteryhow-to-jump-start-car-hold-jumper-cables-clamps-up
  8. Turn the ignition key on your car. If everything is OK, the warning lights on the dashboard should shine with a normal glow (with a dead or weak battery they will be dim or they won’t shine at all). But if they shine normally, this is a good sign and you can proceed further. If they don’t then something’s wrong. Check the clamps for good connection.turning-on-car-jump-start-car
  9. Crank the engine. If everything is OK, the car will crank and the engine will start. Leave the engine running.igniton-key-turn
  10. Be careful on the next part and that is removing the cables. First remove the plus “+” cable from the spare battery and then from your car. Second, remove the minus “-“ cable in the same order. Once removed, best hold the clamps upwards in order to avoid accidentally putting the clamp down in a wrong place or causing a short-circuit.
  1. Let your car idle for at least 15 minutes, even more if the car battery was completely flat. Every few minutes rev up the engine for a couple of seconds.

 

HOW TO JUMP START A CAR WITH A BATTERY PACK?

Battery packs are very popular and widely used in order to jump-start a car.

You essentially have a portable car battery with cables. Plus other gadgets on them like flash lights, power outlets and other.

Pretty convenient to use as you can help yourself and won’t need any assistance like towing, pushing, another “donor”car or else.

The procedure is the same as if you want to jump-start a car with jumper cables.

So:

  1. Put the car in “P” if it’s automatic, if it’s a manual transmission, put it in neutral and pull the hand brake.
  2. Gain access to the battery terminals. Remove or open the plastic lid if there is any.how-to-jump-start-car-remove-plastic-lid
  3. Place the battery pack near the car battery. Put as far away from the car battery as the jumper cables allow. Set the battery pack in such a place that it doesn’t fall off when you start the engine.how-to-jump-start-car-with-battery-pack
  4. Red cable is for plus (“+”), and black is for minus (“-“). This is standard and should be the same on all types of battery packs.
  5. (“+”) plus goes on plus and minus (“-“) goes on minus. First put the plus clamp on and then the minus one. You can connect the minus clamp to the car body (like bare metal parts of the engine, ground connections or else). Not a mistake, but I would advise to connect to the battery terminal. In my opinion, safer. battery-pack-jump-starting-car
  6. Make sure the clamps have good contact and grip and are positioned upwards. Since you’ll probably be working alone, you don’t want a clamp to accidentally fall off while cranking the engine.
  7. Get in to the car and try to crank the engine. If everything is OK, the dashboard lights should get a brighter glow or appear if the car battery was fully depleted.igniton-key-turn
  8. If everything is OK, the car should start. Leave the engine running.
  9. Get out of the car and take off the jumper cables. First plus, then minus.
  10. Let your car idle for at least 15 minutes, even more if the car battery was completely flat. Every few minutes rev up the engine for a couple of seconds.

Very simple procedure as you can see.

The most important thing here is to have a quality battery pack that can give a good power output.

I’ve seen mini versions of battery packs (they look like portable hard-disks) which are either connected directly to the car battery or charge the battery through the cigarette lighter port.

All that I can say is that I’m a skeptic on this part, especially if you need some serious cranking power.

Bad side of battery packs as a whole is that most of them give a one-time strong power output. So, if you need extensive power (for a couple of strong cranks), I don’t think a battery pack will solve the problem.

Use this method if you’re sure that one, maybe two short cranks will be enough.


 

HOW TO JUMP START A CAR BY TOWING (MANUAL TRANSMISSION ONLY)

This method is for cars with manual transmission aka stick shift cars.

Cars with automatic transmissions can’t be jump started this way as the construction of the transmission forbids it. So, don’t try this method with an automatic transmission.

The basic principle here is to use the inertia of the car to crank the engine via the wheels and transmission. This force then turns the crankshaft thus cranking the engine.

Popular method but many people are reluctant to do it in fear of causing damage to the car. But I assure you, if you do it the right way, there will be no harm.

You can jump-start the car in this way for various faults like a flat car battery, faulty car starter, if the fuel system has drawn etc.

What you’ll need is a towing cable or towing pole and another car. Towing poles are better as they insure more safety while pulling (you can’t bump in to the car in front of you). But since they are cumbersome and most people don’t have the room to keep them in the car, you’ll probably end up with a towing cable.

Anyway, here’s the procedure:

  1. If possible, find a safe location to tow. I know that in most cases this won’t be possible. You can’t choose where you end up stranded. But if there’s heavy traffic, a near intersection or something that can put you in danger, put some effort in to pushing the car in to safe place (more secluded road, parking lot or else). Better than causing an accident.secluded-road
  2. Park the cars at such a distance that the towing cable (towing pole) can reach both cars.how-to-jump-start-car-towing-car
  3. Find the towing hooks on both cars. On your car (which has to be pulled), the hook will be located on the front bumper, on the lower part. Usually, it’s hidden under a plastic cover or the hook has to be screwed on. On the car that’s going to tow you, you’ll find it under the rear bumper. These are located usually further inside the bumper (towards the undercarriage).towing-hook-for-jump-star
  4. Take the towing cable (towing pole) and hook the cars together. Make sure that the hooks are connected properly and firmly. Especially take care of this if you’re using a towing cable. The last thing you’d want is a loose hook springing at you or the car that’s towing.how-to-jump-start-car-hooking-towing-cable
  5. Make sure you have good communication with the driver that’s towing. Use hand sign signals (like in old times) but an open cell-phone line will do the job (like a walkie-talkie). Sounds a bit dramatic, but have in mind that the driver in front of you may not see or hear that you’ve started the car. He/she may continue to tow you despite the fact that you’ve started the car. This can cause damage so take care. towing-car-hand-signals
  6. Both you and the other driver get in the car.
  7. While the car is in standstill, turn on the ignition to the point before cranking (the dashboard lights should go on). Even if the battery is completely depleted, do this. Without this you won’t be able to start the car.igniton-key-turn
  8. Press the clutch and put the car in to third gear. Keep the clutch pressed and hands on the wheel.press-clutch-before-jump-starthow-to-jump-start-car-third-gear-for-towing
  9. Give a signal to the driver that’s towing to start moving. If you’re using a tow cable, the driver that’s towing should know to take it easy. Sudden jolts can cause damage to both cars. The car that’s towing should move slowly until the towing cable is tightened and  only then should actually start towing. towing-car-hand-signalstowing-car-use-cellphonetowing-cable-slightly-tighten-for-jump-start
  10. Let both cars gain speed. Usually, if everything is OK with the car, you only need a short budge to start ( a couple of dozen meters). If you need more speed, I would advise not to go over 10 km per hour.
  11. Now this is the important part: engaging the clutch. Remember, the whole time the car is gaining speed, you’re holding the clutch down. Once the proper speed is achieved, slowly release the clutch. DON’T RELEASE SUDDENLY, YOU WILL CAUSE A BIG JOLT, THAT CAN DAMAGE BOTH YOUR CAR AND THE CAR THAT’S TOWING. Release it as if you were moving the car from standstill if everything was OK. Only so much that the clutch engages the engine.jump-start-slowly-releasing-clutch-despairrepair.com
  12. You’ll feel the engine giving resistance to the towing (slight jumping and stuttering). This is the engine beginning to crank.
  13. Pay attention to the point of ignition. When the engine starts, press the clutch again while simultaneously mildly pressing the brake. This will cause the effect of you starting the car while preventing a collision in to the car that’s towing.press-clutch-brake-after-jump-start-despairrepair.com
  14. If everything is OK, you’re car should be jump started. Move the cars towards one another to loosen the towing cable or towing pole.  tow-cable-loose-after-jump-start
  15. Un-hook the towing cable or towing pole.tow-cable-hook-after-jump-start
  16. Let your car idle for at least 15 minutes, even more if the car battery was completely flat. Every few minutes rev up the engine for a couple of seconds.
  17. If the car starter was the problem, continue driving without waiting and solve the problems as soon as possible.

The whole procedure seems a bit tricky but is very effective. Just have a good feel for the clutch, proper footwork of the pedals and pay attention. Main point here is to release the clutch just so much to crank the engine, nothing more.

Also worth mentioning, if you have a classic timing belt, not a chain on your car, be careful when releasing the clutch in the towing procedure.

Sudden jolts of the car if you suddenly release the clutch can, in extreme cases cause the timing belt to skip. This means the timing of the engine will be deranged and this can cause engine damage.

So, release the clutch slowly and let the transmission engage the engine gradually and everything will be OK.

If you’re a good stick shift driver, this shouldn’t be a problem.


 

HOW TO JUMP START BY PUSHING THE CAR (MANUAL TRANSMISSION ONLY)

As you can probably conclude, same system as with the tow cable, only someone has to push the car instead of towing.

People give you the needed force instead of a towing car. What you’ll need is at least one person, better two or three that are strong enough to push the car to the proper speed.

I would advise this procedure if you’re sure a short budge will jump-start the car. If something else is wrong with car, best leave it alone. A couple of people can produce only so much power for a short budge and you don’t want people pushing you around for nothing.

Here’s the procedure:

  1. If possible, find a safe location for jump-start. I know that in most cases this won’t be possible. You can’t choose where you end up stranded. But if there’s heavy traffic, a near intersection or something that can put you in danger, put some effort in to pushing the car in to safe place (more secluded road, parking lot or else). Better than causing an accident.secluded-road
  2. Once you’ve found people for pushing, get in the car.
  3. Make sure you have good communication with the people who are pushing. Best lower your window so you can use hand or voice signals to command and tell if something is wrong. towing-car-hand-signals
  4. While the car is in standstill, turn on the ignition to the point before cranking (the warning lights on the dashboard go on). Even if the battery is completely depleted, do this. Without you won’t be able to start the car.igniton-key-turn
  5. Press the clutch and put the car in to third gear. Keep the clutch pressed and hands on the wheel.press-clutch-before-jump-starthow-to-jump-start-car-third-gear-for-towing
  6. Tell the people to start pushing. You have to gain some speed in order for this to succeed.people-pushing-car-for-jump-start
  7. Usually, if everything is OK with the car, you only need a short budge to start ( a couple of dozen meters).
  8. Now this is the important part: engaging the clutch. Remember, the whole time the car is gaining speed, you’re holding the clutch down. Once the proper speed is achieved, slowly release the clutch. DON’T RELEASE SUDDENLY, YOU WILL CAUSE A BIG JOLT THAT WILL STOP THE CAR AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE PUSHING CAN HURT THEMSELVES ACCIDENTALLY HITTING IN TO THE CAR!. Release it as if you were moving the car from standstill if everything was OK. Only so much that the clutch engages the engine.jump-start-slowly-releasing-clutch-despairrepair.com
  9. You’ll feel the engine giving resistance to the pushing (slight jumping and stuttering). This is the engine beginning to crank.
  10. Pay attention to the point of ignition. When the engine starts, press the clutch again while simultaneously mildly pressing the brake. This will cause the effect of starting the engine while simultaneously slowing down.. A couple of meters should be enough to start the engine and stop the car.press-clutch-brake-after-jump-start-despairrepair.com
  11. If everything is OK, you’re car should be jump started.
  12. Let your car idle for at least 15 minutes, even more if the car battery was completely flat. Every few minutes rev up the engine for a couple of seconds.
  13. If the car starter was the problem, continue driving without waiting and solve the problems as soon as possible.

Trying to jump-start a car by pushing it is a less demanding method then towing. But, if there are no people around willing to push you, then you’re toast.

Also less cranking force is involved here which is also a major minus compared to the towing method. If you need more power (for instance the car has been left out of gas and the fuel lines are drained), towing is inevitable.

Good thing when you want to jump-start a car when pushing is that you don’t have to worry about the timing belt skipping since less force is involved then in towing.


 

DOES JUMP STARTING DAMAGE THE CAR BATTERY?

car-battery

No, if everything is done properly. Neither yours nor the battery on the other car will be damaged.

DAMAGE CAN ONLY OCCUR IF YOU MIX UP THE CABLES OR CAUSE A SHORT CIRCUIT!!

Although jump starting a car is a fairly simple procedure, you wouldn’t believe how many people mix the cables up.

Also, people tend to place the clamps improperly causing them to fall off during the jump-start procedure which can cause a short-circuit.

All of these mistakes can cause not only battery damage but damage to the electric or electronic components on both cars (ECU-s, alternators and else).

Be careful and pay attention to what you’re doing the whole time and you won’t have any problems jump starting a car.


 

CAN JUMP STARTING DAMAGE YOUR CAR?

car-repair-check-repair-procedure

This question pops up every time when someone asks you for a jump-start.

To tell you the truth, if you drive a high-tech “space-ship” better say sorry to the guy/girl that’s in trouble and try to help some other way (push, tow, drive, whatever).

In theory, nothing can happen but with today’s “computers-on wheels” cars, you never know. Even the slightest power surge can cause problems. Not to mention the fact that on these kind of cars the battery can be buried under complicated plastic coverings and protections.

On the other hand, if you drive a less complicated car, go ahead and help a fellow driver.

Just follow the mentioned procedure for how to jump-start a car with jumper cables and everything should be fine.


 

JUMPER CABLES-ALWAYS HAVE A PAIR IN YOUR CAR AND BUY QUALITY ONES

how-to-jump-start-car-jumper-cables

Probably the most common reason for not being able to jump-start a car is s not having the jumper cables at all!

Many times I’ve seen people beg around parking lots for a pair of cables. If they only had them, the problem would be solved.

To avoid this mishap happening to you and perhaps further problems, stack a pair of jumper cables in the trunk, especially during winter season.

You can buy them with a bag of their own (like a big purse) so they don’t tangle around with other equipment which is great.

Also see that you buy quality jumper cables that have good clamps and cables which are made of quality material.

Otherwise, you’ll just have the form but not the function.

Give a few Euros more when buying jumper cables; it will be well worth it if you get in trouble.


 

ALWAYS HELP A FELLOW DRIVER IN NEED

 help-other-drivers-for-jump-start

For the end of this article, I would like to suggest to any driver who may read this: ALWAYS HELP A FELLOW DRIVER, FOR JUMP STARTING A CAR OR OTHERWISE!

All too many times have I seen people left stranded on parking lots or highways without anyone willing to lend a helping hand.

People can be cruel enough even to leave a woman driver with a car full of kids stranded in the winter. I’ve seen this myself and was able to help.

So, whenever someone is begging for help, be a good person and driver and assist as much as you can.

As mentioned, if you think you’re going to damage your car by a jump-start, help in other ways.

Help find jumper cables if you don’t have a pair, help by towing or pushing the car, call for assistance. Whatever you can possibly do to get a fellow driver out of trouble.

If you start changing your mind about helping someone, always imagine yourself in that situation and how a helping hand could get you out of trouble.

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*