Jumping a Car 101

It’s almost inevitable: someday your trusty car will just refuse to start up, and you may be forced to ask a stranger to come help you jump your car. We’ve all been there! And if it wasn’t your car being jumped, maybe you were the friendly stranger who has come to the rescue. But remembering where all of those cables go can be tricky. If you’re a little unsure, read on!

  1. Buy Jumper Cables: It’s always smart to keep a set of jumper cables in your trunk, just in case. If you don’t need them for yourself, you might run into someone who does!
  2. Position Cars Close together: the cars will need to be near enough so the cables can reach each vehicle. Then place both vehicles in park and engage parking brakes. Shut off the ignition and pop the hoods.
  3. Red Cable: The red clips will attach to the positive terminal of your battery. It should be labeled with “POS” or a “+” and should also be bigger than the negative terminal. Attach the other end of the red clip to the positive terminal on the other car.
  4. Black Cable: One black clip will attach to the negative terminal on the other battery, and attach your clip to an unpainted metal surface of your car that is not near your battery, such as a bolt or the metal strut holding the hood open. This grounds your car. DO NOT connect the black cable to the negative terminal on your car – this could cause sparks!
  5. Start ‘er Up!: Start the other vehicle and allow the engine to run for a few minutes before trying to start your vehicle. Allow your car to run for 2-3 minutes before removing the cables. Remove them in the reverse order that they were attached.

Hopefully the jumping will work to get your car up and running! Be sure to drive around for at least 15 minutes to give your battery a chance to recharge. If it doesn’t start up again the next time you try to drive it, the battery is not holding a charge and it may be time to get a new one. Of course, don’t be afraid to call Houska if you are unsure or if the jump doesn’t get your car started! As always, be safe, and good luck out there!

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