How to Jump Start a Car Battery using Jumper Cables

How to Jump Start a Car

Being stranded on the side of the road with a broken down car is something we all try to avoid. We service our vehicles regularly, maintain the fluid levels, fill the tires, and make sure the car is running at peak performance. Sometimes even the best maintained vehicles and even new cars can break down with one of the most common issues being a dead battery or bad connection (other than it being out of gas).


Jumper Cables for CarThe first thing we need to do is figure out if the battery is the problem or if it’s something else causing the car not to start. Before you attempt to jump start the car, you need to determine if the battery is dead, low, has bad cable connections, or is actually functioning properly.

If you turn the ignition and hear the engine cranking or trying to turn over, you don’t have a dead battery on your hands, so jump starting the battery won’t solve your problem. If it is dead, nothing will happen when you turn the ignition.

If nothing happens when the ignition is turned, open your hood and take a look at the battery. Check the cables to ensure they are secure and not covered with corrosion or other obstructions. If they are loose or corroded, clean them off and secure them tightly. Then try to start the car.

Note: When disconnecting and connecting the battery cables, disconnect the NEGATIVE CABLE first and reconnect the NEGATIVE CABLE last.

If it still won’t start, you may have a dead battery that needs charged.


It’s always a good idea to carry a set of jumper cables with you at all times as you never know when your car or someone else’s will have a dead battery.

How to Jump Start a Car

1. Make sure BOTH CARS are turned off.

2. Connect the RED (POSITIVE) JUMPER CABLE to the positive terminal of the dead battery.

3. Connect the RED (POSITIVE) JUMPER CABLE to the positive terminal of the good battery.

4. Connect the BLACK (NEGATIVE) JUMPER CABLE to the negative terminal of the good battery.

5. Connect the BLACK (NEGATIVE) JUMPER CABLE to a CLEAN, UNPAINTED METAL SURFACE under the disabled vehicle’s hood.

Note: DO NOT hook the negative cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery. This could cause sparks and a possible explosion.

6. Start the vehicle that’s not disabled and run it for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the battery of the disabled car to charge.

7. Try starting the disabled vehicle. If it doesn’t start, charge it for a little longer.

8. If the disabled vehicle does start, let it run for at least 30 minutes before turning it off to give the battery enough time to recharge itself.

9. Disconnect the jumper cables in reverse order (1. negative on dead battery, 2. negative on good battery, 3. positive on good battery, 4. positive on dead battery).

Note: If the battery continuously needs jump-started or you can’t get your car to start after jumping it, you may have a bad battery and should take it into your local auto service station for evaluation, professional charging, or a new car battery.

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