For many, there may come a time when your ever-faithful car will need a jump-start. Funny thing is that more often than not, the car warns you that it is rocking a dying battery but most either put off the maintenance, replacement or simply never bother. A jump-start is the revival method drivers apply to a car that has a discharged battery. You may have a dead battery if the car’s lights were left on for an extended period, or from improper maintenance of the battery, sometimes it is total battery failure. Jump starting a manual and an auto are quite drastically different but both trying to achieve the same thing.
Before you try jump-starting a car, you need to determine that the battery is the reason the car is not starting up. If you turn the key and hear the engine cranking, a dead battery is not your problem and jump-starting it will not do a thing. However, if you turn the key and the car does absolutely nothing or you hear a cracking sound, then there is a good chance you have a dead battery on your hands and jump starting may be your ticket to getting back on the road.
With a manual car you can start it without even turning the ignition. This is a very helpful trick to know if your battery ever dies on you. Furthermore you do not even need jumper cables or another car. All you need is a small gradient, or some people willing to push your car. Unfortunately, this will not work on a car with an automatic transmission.
Now with an automatic, it is a bit more “complicated”, not in difficulty of accomplishing a jump-start but the fact that 90 per cent of all drivers with autos do not have jumper cables on them. This really is a problem of the few times when you actually need them. So you end up smiling at strangers asking for cables and help with a good battery etc. However, if you have got them, here is the process.
Park a good battery car close to the one that needs to be jumped, but not so close that the
cars are touching in any way. You will want to use a good set of jumper cables with thick wires and clean clamps.
They are coloured red and black. As you are hooking up the cables, make sure they do not dangle into either engine compartment where they could get caught on moving parts (belts, fan, etc.). Turn off the ignition of both cars, set the parking brakes, and make sure that they are in either “Park” or “Neutral” depending on whether the cars have an automatic or manual transmission.
Connect one end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. This terminal is always clearly marked red with a plus sign. Then connect the other red (positive) cable clamp to the positive terminal of the good battery. Connect one end of the black (negative) jumper cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.
This terminal is always clearly marked black with a minus sign. Then connect the other black (negative) cable to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s bonnet. Somewhere on the engine block is a good place. This last connection seems odd but it is really for safety reasons there could be sparks flying when you connect the negative cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery. Connecting it directly works though.
Start the car that is doing the jumping, and allow it to run for about two to three minutes before starting the dead car. If the dead car refuses to start, do not keep trying or you might damage the starter. If there is the possibility of additional problems, like a lack of fuel or faulty starter, do not continue trying to start the dead car until the other problems are solved. Remove cables in reverse order and keep the jumped car running for at least 30 minutes to give the battery sufficient time to recharge if it is not completely dead.
Many of us have been in panic mode where the car does not start 100 per cent so we try it once again and it finally starts. That is the time to get your electrical system looked at as soon as possible. Remember that the hardest part of the job is simply remembering where to put each cable. It is not hard to find someone after misery of finding cables wondering if he is about to make a wrong move and see electrical sparks flying around, let alone short circuit the car’s electrical or burn themselves. Just remember, red on red and black on black.