Being stranded with a car whose battery is dead is never fun. Often you go for a late night movie show and after the show, you realise you had forgotten to put the headlamps off and has left your car battery without any juice. However, getting back on the road with the same car is relatively easy. Whether to survive a zombie apocalypse or reaching office on time, knowing how to jumps start a car is very important and is a very helpful skill. The requirement to jump-start a car are a set of jumper cables, a second vehicle and a few minutes of work. Here’s how you should do it.
A complete dead car battery is a rare scenario, it happens in extreme cold conditions and also common when a car is still for long periods of times. Older batteries also drain our batteries quickly and can go flat when you expect the least. Leaving the engine off with power-consuming components running like headlamps, interior lights, A/C are the biggest reasons for batteries to go out of power.
Ensure you carry a set of jumper cables in the vehicle at all time, it might help you or any other stranded vehicle you come across. The recommended cables gauge 4-6 in size and measures about 18-20 feet. The wire should be long enough to reach the other car and not very long as the extra distance that electricity has to travel may reduce the strength of the charge. There are various portable jump-starters available in the market, but their batteries must be charged regularly for them to work efficiently.
The car needs to be parked close enough to the one being jumped and both the car's battery needs to be connected. Identify the car battery location that's usually mounted in the front engine compartment (not always though). Car batteries have a separate slot in the car and many times covered by a plastic mould, remove the plastic mould before jumping the battery. Familiarizing with the position of car battery will save you a lot of time when you are actually jumping the car.
While connecting the jumper cable is easy, ensure positive (red) and negative (black) clamps from touching each other. Once connected and the power starts to flow through the cable will create sparks that could lead to a short circuit in either of the vehicles. One dedicated person at each end of the cables will help n the overall process. The clamps are connected to battery terminals which have wired metal nodes. Brush away any dirt for a good connection and confirm positive and negative terminals with the symbols located on the battery itself.
Now connect one of the red clamps to the + terminal of the dead battery and then connect the other side to the live battery. Instead of connecting the second black to the negative terminal on the dead battery, connect it to an unpainted metal surface on the vehicle and join it there. This will make the whole process safer.
Now try starting the car if it is successful then give it some raise and leave it running while disconnecting the cables. Once again ensure clamps do not touch each other while the cable is attached to the battery. Disconnect the clamps in the reverse order starting with the black clamped clipped to the car being jumped. Do not enforce or stretch the wires if the process fails. If the car does not start, the batter may need a complete replacement or more time to charge. If your car is running fine, go for a short drive and try not switching on the A/C or heater for some time.