Ever experienced that sinking feeling in your stomach? You need to be somewhere so you go to start your car. You slip the key into the ignition. You turn the key and then, nothing. No noise. No lights. No ignition. Your battery is dead and you aren’t going anywhere.
We’ve all made the mistake of leaving on our headlights or an interior light. We’re only human. But you can prepare yourself for this kind of inconvenient mistake. Get a set of jumper cables to keep in your trunk and teach yourself how to jump your vehicle with the following steps.
Warning: If either vehicle is an alternatively fueled vehicle or has an electronic ignition system, the use of jumper cables may damage it. Check your owner’s manual before attempting!
Step 1: Find someone with a fully functioning vehicle to help. Ask them to pull the nose of their car right up to your vehicle (but not touching). You’ll want to be close enough so your jumper cables can reach between batteries.
Step 2: Turn off both vehicles. Cars that are automatic transmission should be in park. If either car is a manual transmission, put it in neutral. Put on the parking brakes of each car.
Step 3: Open the hood of each vehicle and locate the battery.
Step 4: Connect the jumper cable clamps in the following order:
- Red on dead battery +
- Red on working battery +
- Black on working battery –
- Black on bare, unpainted, metal of the dead battery vehicle
(DO NOT connect the black to the dead battery. Clamp the black cable to a bare, unpainted metal part of the dead battery vehicle. This could be one of the metal struts that holds the hood open or a clean nut on the engine block.)
Step 5: Start the working car and rev the engine for 30 to 60 seconds.
Step 6: Attempt to start the vehicle with the dead battery while the jumper cables are still on. If the vehicle still does not start, readjust the jumper cable clamps and try again a few more times. (If after a few attempts the vehicle does not start, then there is probably another issue with the vehicle.)
Step 7: Remove the jumper cables in this order:
- Black from the bare metal of the dead battery vehicle
- Black from the working battery –
- Red from the working battery +
- Red from the dead battery +
Step 8: If you were successful in starting the car, drive or idle the vehicle for at least another 20 minutes before shutting off the engine. This should help recharge the battery.
Batteries don’t last forever. As they get older, they start to lose their charge. When in doubt, stop by to have your battery checked by one of our certified technicians. We also check your battery charge as part of our Signature Service Oil change. Find the closest Jiffy Lube of Indiana location near you.