Something every vehicle operator most likely will experience is jump-starting a car, whether for you or another driver. Similar to changing a tire, jump-starting a car is one of the handiest things for drivers to know. In this article, the Performance Muffler team will help you understand why your car needs a jump start, what’s needed for a jump start, and how to jump-start your car.
Why Does My Car Need a Jump Start?
There can be a few reasons why a car needs a jump start, but the most common is a weak or dead battery. Replacing a car battery often slips drivers’ minds because you typically don’t need a new battery for three years. So, this can be a good thing to regularly check with your mechanic.
Other reasons your car needs a jump start include a malfunctioning starter, clogged or frozen fuel lines, bad spark plugs, or an alternator malfunction. Your engine is a complicated system, and the car battery is another element to it working properly. If you ever need to jump-start your car, you should get your battery or engine looked at promptly.
What’s Needed to Jump Start a Car?
For a jump-start, you’ll want a handful of items:
- Jumper Cables. These are essential, and the longer they are the easier jump starting your car will be.
- Another Vehicle. Of course, to jump a dead battery, another external power source is needed, so you’ll need to find another vehicle nearby or call a family member or friend to come help you. Use sound judgment when seeking help from others, particularly those you don’t know.
- Heavy Duty Gloves. Gloves will help keep you safe and clean while you jump start your car.
- Flashlight. Depending on the time and location of your jump start, a flashlight is always a great thing to keep handy. You don’t want to be using your phone’s flashlight when messing around the hood.
- Owner’s Manual. Keep this in your glovebox so you can always refer back to it when you have a mechanical question.
Jump-Starting a Car: Step-by-step Guide
- When you have another vehicle to help you, you’ll want the hoods of both cars to be next to the other.
- Turn both cars off.
- Open the hoods to both cars.
- Find the battery to each car. The owner’s manual can help if you can’t quickly locate it.
- On the battery, locate the two terminals: one is POSITIVE (+), typically red, and the other is NEGATIVE (-), typically black.
- Attach the POSITIVE clamp to the dead car’s POSITIVE terminal. When you attach cables, ensure it is securely clamped on.
- Attach the POSITIVE clamp on the other end of the cables to the POSITIVE terminal of the working battery. Both cars should still be off.
- Attach the NEGATIVE clamp on that same end to the NEGATIVE terminal of the working battery. At this point, 3 ends of the jumper cables should be attached to battery terminals.
- Attach the NEGATIVE clamp on the opposite end of the jumper cables to a non-painted metal surface on the engine block of the car with the dead battery. This can be a metal nut or bolt. This grounds the electric current.
- Start the helper car (the working car) and let it run for a few minutes. After waiting, try to start the dead car. If everything worked properly, your car should start. If it still won’t start, try to wait for about 5 to 10 more minutes and try to start it again.
- If your car starts, unhook each clamp in reverse order, and then both you and the helper car are good to go.
- If your car doesn’t start, stop trying to start it and unhook each clamp in reverse order. At this point, you will need to call for professional help.
Jump starting a car is an easier process once you’ve done it a few times, but now with this step-by-step guide, you aren’t afraid to try it on your own. Hopefully, however, this won’t be a problem that you or a family member run into any time soon. Especially if you follow the regular vehicle operations, you should avoid common car issues like breakdowns, dead batteries, and more.
About Performance Muffler – Your Trusted Car Professionals
Performance Muffler is a top shop for custom exhaust work and other vehicle operations that’s been servicing the Phoenix area since 2007. We can help modify your car, enhance its performance, repair it, and more. Contact us today for a quote to get your vehicle in its best shape.