If you take care of your car, you won’t have to worry too much about ever having to jump-start it. However, most of us will have to pull out the jumper cables at some point. Whether you need them for your car or your neighbor’s, knowing how to jump-start your car is a good life skill to have under your tool belt. In fact, not knowing how to jump-start a vehicle could cost you your life in an emergency. So here are the basics on jump-starting your car to get you back on the road fast.
Set Your Cars Up
You need your car to be next to the other one. Park the vehicles so that the hoods are close together but not touching. After both vehicles are set up correctly, turn them completely off.
Prep the Rest of Your Tools
Pop open the hoods to find the batteries. Next, prepare your jumper cables by unwinding them and untangling any knots.
Attach Your Cables
Hook up your red clamps, also labeled with a plus sign (+). Attach one to the positive terminal of the dead battery and attach the other to the live one. Then hook up your black clamps, labeled with a negative sign (-). Attach one to the negative terminal of the working battery. Attach the other to an unpainted metal surface of the dead car.
Revive Your Car
Once everything is attached correctly, start the working car and then the dead vehicle. Afterward, remove the cables in the reverse order that they were connected. Now, you don’t want to turn your car off! Instead, let the engine run for at least 15 to 20 minutes to allow the alternator to recharge the battery. When you want to stop the car after this period, make sure you are in a safe, accessible location. Depending on the condition of your battery and your alternator, the vehicle may need to be jump-started again.