How To Jump Start A Car

Learning the correct way to jumpstart a car will help to revive your car in no time

You might be stuck at the middle of the road due to a dead battery, this is quite normal especially if your battery is nearing its demise.

This could also be the case if you had forgotten to switch off the headlights or even had been playing the stereo for a long time.

All this cause a significant drain on the car battery and it gets discharged in the process, and hence it will need to be charged for it to get back to its working ways.

You are probably rushing somewhere, to a meeting or even a hot date and thus do not have the time to charge your car battery. The only solution you have is jumping the car battery.

You can go for either the following if you like to know how to jump start a car below:

Method 1. To Jump Start A Car Using Another Car
Method 2. To Jump Start A Car Using A Portable Jump Starter
Method 3. To Jump Start A Car By Pushing A Car

While jumping a car will get you out of your mess, when you realize that you have to do this often, then the battery is probably damaged or nearing its demise.

A damaged battery is not able to hold charge and hence will need to be jumped every once in a while.

You will probably have to replace the car battery to avoid being inconvenienced when rushing to a meeting.

What To Know Before Jump Starting A Car

You might not have been in such a position before, in fact, most car owners have never taken the time to check what is under there trunk.

Some have never even examined a car battery before, even for regular check-ups; might just be the reason why their car battery is in bad shape.

For starters, you should know how to remove the car battery from its compartment in the trunk of the car.

You should then be able to notice two larger nubs from the other ones; these are the terminals of the car battery.

The terminals are either positive or negative. The positive terminal is marked with a “+” sign and is usually red in color.

The negative terminal is marked with “- “sign and is black in color. When connecting these two to cables you should be careful not to mix them.

The jumper cables might also be marked black and red; the red side is the positive side while the black side is the negative side.

Proper and respective connection ensures a complete circuit and hence the car battery is able to be charged effectively.

Things You Should Be Careful About When Jump-Starting A Car

For starters, you should be able to go through the car manual for instructions and guidelines concerning your car battery.

Some car batteries have to be treated quite differently as compared to others.

They are probably designed different from ordinary car batteries.

Some manufacturers warn against jumping a certain type of car while some offer special instructions for jumping the car effectively.

You should take caution while jumping your car as you are dealing with electricity that can turn out to be disastrous if you are careless.

For one, you will need to connect the terminals respectively. Connecting the positive to the negative terminal might not get the task done.

Some jumper cables are confusing and hence this might be the case of poor connection.

You should be able to get jumper cables that are in good condition; this means that they should be well insulated and the sides marked red or black to avoid confusion.

When the cables are not well insulated, then you will be risking getting electrocuted while handling them.

They might also come into contact with one another and the results will be ugly.

Lastly, You should be careful not to try and jump any battery that is frozen or even in the case of a dry battery.

This is not recommended as you might have to deal with serious consequences.

For effective jumping, you will need to switch off any electronic device that uses the car battery; this includes the headlights, the car stereo or even the AC system.

This will help avoid the discharging of the car battery while you are trying to revive it.

What Equipment To Need To Jumpstart A Car

Before jumping a car, you basically have to get the following tools:

  • A good set of jumper cables
  • The power source
  • A portable jump starter

Other materials that you will need depend on the way you are going to jump your car. You will need a few extra equipment for particular options.

3 Ways To Jump Start A Car Battery {Learn Each Subject Deeply!}

Jumping your car does not need you to seek the assistance of a technician; you just have to be wary of the process to get it done.

You should also be aware of any safety precautions that you will need to observe.

There are several ways to which you can accomplish this, all of which are quite simple and you can manage on your own. They are discussed below.

Method 1. To Jump Start A Car Using Another Car

The art of manliness creates this image of jumping a car
Image by The Art of Manliness

You might have even lucky to get a stranger or a friend who is willing to let you jump your car with theirs.

The following steps are to be followed to the latter for a successful process of car jump starting.

  1. Before proceeding to jump your car using a battery from another vehicle, you should check the charge level of the donor car battery; it should be adequate enough.
  2. You should check to match the voltage rating of the donor battery with that of the recipient battery.
  3. The next step is to prepare both of the cars; both cars should be parked conveniently and should be either in neutral gear. The ignition son both cars should be turned off and the car piton parking brake.
  4. You can then proceed to open the hood of either of the cars.
  5. Connect the alligator clips on both batteries. You should begin by connecting the positive terminals of either battery first, that is, connect the alligator clip to the positive terminal of the dead battery and the other side of the same cable to the positive terminal of the donor battery.
    Next you should connect the black (negative) cable to the donor battery and its other side to an unpainted metal of the dead car battery.
  6. You should then go on and ignite the donor car, and this will mark the beginning of supply of power to the dead battery from the donor battery.
  7. Let the donor car idle and have it run for about twenty to thirty minutes’ straight.
  8. You can then go on and test the interior lights of your car. When they light normally, then the process is successful.
  9. You can finally start the dead car which is now charged.

Protecting The Donor Battery

You might have just asked for a favour from a friend or even a stranger. Therefore, you should be careful not to damage their car battery.

This can be achieved by observing the following precaution measures:

  • You should be able to match the type of voltage system from the donor battery to your battery. For instance, you can’t match a 6V to a 12V.
  • The alligator clips should be connected respectively; connecting negative to positive would cause damage of the battery from the donor car.
  • The clips and cables should be connected for the positive terminals, or side first before proceeding to the negative terminals of either batteries.
  • The donor battery should have significant charge so that yours will be able to benefit from the process. Otherwise, both of you will be stranded by the roadside.

How To Use Jumper Cables

When it comes to the jumper cables, you should connect them properly as this determines the success or the failure of the jump starting process.

You should be keen to follow the instructions on which cable to connect first and to which battery.

This will help avoid accidents that might occur because you had ignored a certain safety precaution measures.

When it comes to disconnecting the jump cables, you should begin disconnecting the negative side first and not the positive side as you did initially as in the case of connecting.

What To Do After The Car Is Jump Started

Once you have tried out the car battery jump starting with another vehicle, it is time to disconnect the system.

You should begin by disconnecting the alligator clips; be keen to start with the negative terminals first.

The positive terminals will have to be disconnected last unlike when you are connecting.

You should then drive the car for not less than twenty minutes as the alternator picks up and tries to charge the car battery.

You are therefore, rescued and you can continue with your driving smoothly.

What If The Car Doesn’t Run After The Jump Start?

There might be a chance that your car might not get to start after the process. This is highly unlikely unless you did not connect the circuit properly.

You should try and connect it to the donor battery once again, ensuring that the connection is properly done.

Repeat the whole process and try the car battery once again. If it is still unable to start, then the battery might be highly drained to the extent that it is unable to obtain significant charge from the donor battery.

What Things To Look Out For

During the jumpstarting process you should be keen to notice any abnormality that might result in serious consequences.

For first, if you are only able to get cables that are not well insulated, you should ensure that they do not come into contact with each other; this might cause shorting.

You should also be keen to notice heating of the car batteries, if you notice this then there is probably something wrong with the connection.

Early intervention is needed to avoid sparks and any other ugly scene from resulting.

The connection should be done properly for you to avoid an ugly scenario. You can ensure this by checking the cables as well as the condition of both batteries.

Good batteries do not have corrosion build ups neither do they have any visible damage on their body like bulges or even terminals in bad state. Batteries in bad state should be avoided completely.

If you have the corrosion on your battery terminals, I highly suggest you read the article on how to clean battery terminals.

Is It A Bad Idea For Your Car To Start Another Car?

This is only a bad idea if you wrongly jump start the other car. Improper jump starting can be as a result of poor connection which will affect the whole jump-starting process.

While your car might be protected with a fuse that goes on to blow up when it senses a faulty connection, you might damage your alternator. The alternator gets a surge.

The alternator might have been used by another electronic in your car and this goes on to damage the electronics too.

The damage extended to the components of the car depends on the duration that the poor connection is left like that.

You might also damage your car battery as a result of the poor connection.

Method 2. To Jump Start A Car Using A Portable Jump Starter

The next method to jump-start your car is using a portable jump starter. Having a portable jump starter in your vehicle will help you quickly solve this issue.

Learn how to use a portable jump starter below.

  1. Connect the positive cable of the portable jump starter to the positive terminal of the car battery.
  2. Connect the negative cable of the portable jump starter to the engine block or even another good ground location.
  3. Place the portable jump starter at a convenient and stable position close enough to the trunk of your car.
  4. Try to ignite the car.
  5. Start by disconnecting the negative cable first.
  6. Move on to disconnect the positive terminal.

Will A Jump Starter Start A Dead Car Battery?

Yes, a jump starter will be able to start a dead battery provided that the connection has been properly made.

However, if the battery is unable to hold charge for a significant time then the issue will be with the battery.

Such a battery should be tested and if found to be worthless should be replaced.

What Are The Differences Between Jump Starters and Car Battery Chargers?

The main difference between a jump starter and a charger is the power output.

A jump starter has a superior power output and can revive a car battery almost immediately.

However, it takes time for the jump starter to recharge the car battery; some may even take a whole day before completing the charging process.

=> Read the full review of the 10 best jump starters if you are interested in buying one!

When it comes to dealing with a completely dead battery, then the charger is you to go to tool.

This is because the charger is designed to charge a car battery even if it is fully discharged.

A battery charger is not as compact as a jump starter and rarely would you find someone travelling with one; they are mostly found in the garages due to their big size.

=> Read the full review of the 10 best car battery chargers if you are interested in buying one!

Method 3. To Jump Start A Car By Pushing A Car

If you are unable to get jumper cables or even set of portable jump starters, then you will just have to go the manual way and push the car.

This can only work for cars that are equipped with manual transmission.

  1. Before you start, you need to be sure that the battery is just having less power, it would be useless to try and revive a completely dead battery using this method. This can be checked by trying to ignite the car and checking its response. A battery that just has inadequate charge will be noticed as the dashboard lights go on and off almost immediately.
    If nothing happens then the battery is dead and this method will not work.
  2. The next step is to consider the nature of the road you are in. it should not be too steep neither should it have obstacles.
  3. You should then unlock the steering will by turning the ignition key on.
  4. You should then put the car into gear, second gear is recommended as it does not need as much torque as the first gear to work with. The first gear might also buck unexpectedly.
  5. Release the parking brake and use the pedal brake and clutch by stepping on them.
  6. Let your friends begin pushing the car as you release the brake.
  7. You should then drop the clutch as soon as you get the car to a speed of 8km/h. The action should be abrupt. This will force the engine to start turning after a series of events in the transmission system.
  8. You will have to maintain a tight grip on the steering wheel to avoid it from swaying to a direction you do not want. This is as a result of torque steer that occurs when the engine affects the steering wheel.
  9. The engine should be able to start if you followed the above steps carefully. If it did not start, then you should repeat the whole process. It probably did not start because the speed of the rolling was not fast enough.
  10. After the engine starts, you should press the clutch back and you let the alternator do its thing. This is because having your foot ore the clutch will drop the RPM to an idle.
  11. The alternator will be able to recharge the car battery while the engine is on.
  12. You should then put the car back to neutral gear and you step on the brake pedal.
  13. This process should run for approximately twenty hours as the alternator tries to charge the car battery.

After successful procedure, you can take your car for a drive and let the car battery recharge.

Shutting the engine before the car batteries gains enough charge will take you back to start the whole process over again.

This process, though not a safe and effective one as using jumper cables and another car or a portable jump starter, does the trick.

You just have to ensure that you follow the above procedure to the latter.

Frequently Asked Questions

There you go! You now know these 3 ways to jump your dead car battery.

I probably assume that you will have in mind these questions below while jump-starting. Keep reading, and you will better understand this subject!

Q1: When Jump Starting A Car Which Cables Goes On First?

When jumping your car through either method, you should connect the positive side first.

This is usually the red side; therefore, take the positive jumper cable and connect it to the positive terminal of one battery and to the positive terminal of the other battery.

This is advised because electricity flows in a n electric circuit from the negative terminal to the positive terminal.

Having the negative terminal done first will put you at risk as you try to connect the positive terminal.

Q2: How Many Amps Do I Need To Jump Start A Car?

An ordinary type of a car battery will only need 400 to 600 amps to be jumped.

This is quite enough for consumers even though most jump starters are designed with an amp setting ranging from 300 to 3000 amps.

This means that it will just do, you just have to do the settings properly to avoid explosions due to using excessive amps.

Q3: When Do I Need To Jump A Car?

You will probably need to jump your car when you realize that your car battery is flat; discharged significantly.

Charging might be a good option but you might be rushing get somewhere as fast as possible.

Q4: How Long Does It Take To Jump Start A Car?

The time taken depends on the condition of the car battery; some batteries get discharged significantly and you will need to be patient for it to gain enough charge.

However, some will just need to be boosted for less than thirty minutes and you will be back on the road.

A battery in good condition will probably take less of your time compared to one that is in a relatively poor state.

A damaged one might not even get enough charge to start the car after two hours.

The bottom line is that the time required to charge your car battery will be as long as you are able to ignite your car.

Q5: Can I Jump Start A Car While The Car Is Running?

This is not advised or even recommended as you might damage the alternator in one of the cars.

The whole process is series of events that might damage the alternator due to the nature of the connection made.

Q6: Is Jumping A Car In The Rain Safe?

Yes, it shockingly is safe. This is because the electrical system in the cars has insignificant voltage and you are highly unlikely to fall victim of being shocked.

You just have to avoid water being present during the whole process as it is a good conductor of electricity. The only big risk here is you catching a cold.

Q7: What Will Happen If I Jump-Start The Car The Wrong Way?

You might have been in a hurry and you connect the car jumpers improperly and this leads to a series of events.

The type or degree of damage depends on how long you would have kept the connection like that; if you can, it is advisable that you disconnect everything as early as you realize something is wrong with the jump starting connection.

The following are what might happen as a result of jump starting the car wrongly.

  1. You will have probably damaged the components of the car: The fuses will probably blow and reduce the degree of the damage.
    However, some cars do not have such fuses and this goes ahead and damages sensors or even the electronic systems fitted in the car like the car stereo.
  2. The batteries might get damaged as a result of wrong jump starting: Poor connection might cause the battery to react dangerously and this will cause damage after a series of events.
    The battery will get heated up, harmful gases will be produced and hazardous results may follow, like say an explosion. In the case of lead acid batteries, hydrogen gas could be discharged which is quite harmful.
  3. Incorrect connection of the whole jump starting process will cause the jumper cables to be affected: They might get heated up and this might cause them to melt and hence get damaged. Early intervention is advised to prevent more destruction.
  4. Damage to the car alternator: This might be passed to other components of the car that might have been using the alternator at that time. The alternator gets a surge which is not a good sign.


The car battery is the juice of the car and it needs to have adequate charge for it to be able to offer enough power for the car to work.

This is not only needed for the car to move, but also for you to enjoy your stereo and even the AC system.

A good jumping will make the car battery able to perform its function and you will be back on the road in no time.

Jumping a car does not necessarily require you to seek the services of a technician as it is a task that you can accomplish on your own.

You just have to observe safety precautions, have the right equipment for the task and be able to follow the laid out instructions.


1. I Drive Safely –
2. –


Written by Kane Dan

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