How to Safely Jump Start A Dead Battery - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jul 16, 2021

How to Safely Jump Start A Dead Battery


You jump in your car, ready for your morning commute and upon turning the key to start the ignition—nothing happens.  Another attempt—nothing. It looks like you’ve got a dead battery to deal with. Whether you’re a new driver or have many years of experience under your belt, a dead battery is inconvenient.


For many, a dead car battery may have you reaching for the phone to call to your roadside assistance company. It’s important to know that this situation can be dealt with fairly easily, all while saving you time and money. With a set of jumper cables and another running vehicle, you could potentially be back on the road in minutes. Continue reading for step-by-step instructions on how to safely use jumper cables should this ever happen to you.

 

Step 1: The Set Up


The first step is to make sure that the vehicle with a dead battery, and the vehicle you will be using to jumpstart it with, are facing each other.  It’s also important to make sure that for vehicles with a manual transmission, you set the vehicle to neutral. For automatic, you’ll want to set the vehicle to park. Lastly, be sure to turn both vehicles off and set the parking brakes.

 

Step 2: Attaching the Cables


When handling jumper cables, remember that their function is to transfer an electrical current from one vehicle to another. Once one end is connected to a car’s battery, you should never touch anything with the other end besides the proper target. It’s recommended to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying sparks. Attaching the cables may seem scary at first but with a little bit of knowledge, it can become surprisingly simple. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Once you’ve opened the hood of each vehicle, you need to locate the battery boxes. The locations can differ based on the make and model of the vehicle, so it’s best to refer to your manual.
  • Always make sure you can locate a positive and negative terminal on the battery itself. This is typically seen as a “+” and “-“ or red and black colors.
  • Be sure to attach one red cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Then, attach the other red cable to the positive terminal on the functioning vehicle’s battery.
  • Once the red cables are attached, you can move on to the black cables. Place one black cable on the to the negative terminal on the functioning vehicle’s battery.
  • Do not connect the last black clamp to the dead battery. Instead, you will attach it to an unpainted nut, bolt, or metal part on the vehicle.


Step 3: Letting It Charge


To start charging the dead battery, you will need to start the functioning vehicle. Be sure to let it run for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Keep in mind the age of the dead battery as it may need more than a minute or two to allow the connection to work successfully. Older batteries tend to take longer to charge.

 

Step 4: Attempting to Start the Dead Battery


To see if the dead battery is now charged, try starting the vehicle. If it doesn’t work right away, it may require a few additional minutes to charge. You may also need to try lightly revving the engine of the functioning vehicle. If it doesn’t work, now is the time to call your roadside assistance company, as they may need to come and assist you in person.

 

Step 5: Disconnecting the Cables


Once you’ve revived the dead vehicle, you will want to turn both vehicles off and  disconnect the cables in the reverse order that they were applied. Be careful not to let the clamps meet one another, especially if any of them are still attached to a vehicle.

 

Step 6: Driving to Recharge


At this point, you should be ready to take a short drive to charge your battery. Once the car is up and running, the alternator will charge the battery and ensure that it doesn’t die again once you turn it off.

 

As always, we know that safety should be a priority. Keeping a car safety kit can come in handy when presented with a dead battery. To learn more about what you should keep in your car safety kit, check out the link below!