How To Jump Start a Car?

If you take proper care of your car, you may not need to do jumpstart a vehicle for years. But it’s important to know how to jump-start a car in case of an emergency.

Jump-starting a car battery is a basic skill that every driver needs to know. It’s not something that’s done regularly and never at a convenient time, but with some knowledge and by following a few simple steps, it doesn’t take long to jump-start a car.

You can be back on the road in a matter of minutes. To jump-start a car, you need jumper cables, also known as booster cables, to connect the dead battery in your car to a fully charged battery in another vehicle. It’s a great idea to keep a good set of cables along with other roadside emergency equipment in the trunk of your car.

Read on to learn how to jump-start a car by following these simple steps.

How To Jump Start a Car?

1. Park

  • First, park another car with a fully charged battery near your car and make sure they should not directly touching each other. They must be close enough for the jumper cables to reach the batteries.
  • Turn off the ignition and all accessories including the air conditioning, lights, and radio on both cars and remove the keys. Set the emergency brake on both vehicles.

Note: On most cars, the battery is located under the hood, but on some models, it may be in the trunk or under the back seat. Arrange the car with the full battery accordingly. Consult the vehicle’s manual if the location of the battery is not known.

2. Locate Battery Terminals

How To Help Extend The Life Of Your Car Battery
  • Open the hoods and locate both batteries and identify the positive and negative terminals on each. A car battery has two metal terminals – positive (+) and negative (-).
  • The positive terminal is marked with a plus sign (+) or it will be connected with a red cable, while the negative terminal is marked with a minus sign (-) or it will be connected with a black cable.
  • Make sure the terminals are free from corrosion. If the metal posts appear to be coated with a white or greenish substance, use a wire brush, aluminum foil, or something other than your bare hands to remove them, as the corrosion can irritate your skin.
  • If the battery is cracked or leaking, do not attempt to jump-start it. If necessary, refer to the vehicle manual for the terminal locations.

3. Connect the Jumper Cables

Jumper cables have two spring-loaded clamps on each end – one red and one black. While connecting the jumper cables, be careful ends do not touch each other throughout the jump-starting process. Red clamps attach to the positive battery terminals; Black clamps are for negative poles or ground.

It is important to connect the four clamps securely and in the correct order. Improper connection may result in personal injury or damage to the vehicle’s electrical system.

To attach a cable when jump-starting a car, follow these steps:

  1. First Hook the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  2. Next, attach the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery.
  3. Then, Clamp the black (-) to the negative terminal of the working battery.
  4. Finally, attach the remaining black (-) to an unpainted metal surface of the dead car such as a bolt or bracket.
How to Jump a Car

Do not attach the black clamp to the negative terminal of a dead car battery as this can cause electrical sparks and pose a safety hazard.

Some cars have a built-in grounding point under the hood for this task. Read your car’s owner’s manual for more details.

4. Jump-Start the Car

  • Make sure the connected jumper cables are not near any moving engine parts. Once the cables are connected, start the vehicle with the charged battery and let it run for a few minutes.
  • Go to the car with the dead battery and turn the key until the engine starts completely. If the engine doesn’t start immediately, you may have to wait a few minutes for the dead battery to pull energy from the other vehicle. Increasing the idle speed of the charged battery vehicle can help this happen faster.

5. Disconnect Jumper Cables

One’s a jump-started car’s engine running at a smooth idle, leaving both cars running. Now it’s time to disconnect the jumper cables, but make sure you do it in the reverse order that they were attached.

Always be careful not to touch the metal terminals when disconnecting them from the battery terminals.

  • Disconnect the negative clamp from the dead battery car and make sure it is not touching anything else under the hood.
  • Then disconnect the negative clamp from the charged car battery.
  • Then disconnect the positive clamp from the charged car battery and lay it on the ground.
  • Finally, disconnect and remove the positive terminal from the dead battery car.

Once all the clamps are removed you can roll up the jumper cables and put them in your emergency kit and close the hood.

6. Drive the Jumped Car

Now it’s time to revive your dead battery, run your car engine for at least a few minutes or drive for at least 20 minutes to allow the alternator to charge the dead battery.

Be sure to park the vehicle in an open area of a safe location when you turn the engine off in case the car needs jump-starting again. If it does need another jump, the battery’s condition could deteriorate, especially if it’s more than a few years old.

Related Article: How to Charge Car Battery?

What if the car doesn’t start after the jump start?

If the dead car doesn’t start after a few minutes of being powered then:

  1. Do you hear a clicking noise? Your starter might be malfunctioning.
  2. Does your electrical system still turn on? You might have an issue with the ignition switch, battery, starter, or fuse.
  3. Check the connections and repeat letting the car give the jump run.
  4. Try starting the car again.
  5. If the car does not start after several attempts, the battery may be too far gone to be jump-started.

How to Jumpstart an EV/Electric Car


How to Jump-start a car without jumper cables?

Without cables – the bump start (only works for manual cars). Turn on the ignition. Have your friends start pushing the car, or let off the brakes if you’re on a hill. Once you’re moving at a fast walking pace, bring up the clutch quickly and the engine will start.

How long does it take to Jump-Start a Car?

If you’re going to jump-start your car by yourself, you can expect the process to take about 10-15 minutes. If you have a professional jump-start your car, then it might take a little less time.

How to Jump-Start a Car Yourself?

1. Place both vehicles in front of each other and park. For safety, apply the parking brake.
2. Open both hoods and locate the batteries. If necessary, remove the plastic hood.
3. Find the positive and negative battery posts. Make sure they are free from corrosion.
4. Connect the red clamp to the positive pole of the dead battery.
5. Connect the other red clamp to the positive pole of the working battery.
6. Connect the black clamp to the negative terminal of the working battery.
7. Connect the final black clamps to an unpainted metal surface on your car.
8. Start the car’s engine with a good battery.
9. Try to start your engine.

Can you jump-start a car with a bad starter?

Most of the time, NO, you can’t jumpstart a car with a bad starter unless you repair it. When the battery is dead, jumper wires or boosters are employed. You use a second battery to provide the necessary electricity to start the car.

Can You Jumpstart a Car With a Bad Alternator?

It is possible in some cases to jumpstart a vehicle that has a faulty alternator, as long as the battery has enough charge to keep running. However, the alternator should be replaced as soon as possible.