You’re headed home from a long day of quality family time. Your wife and kids are in the car. The kids are tired. The wife is cranky. All you want to do is get home and kick back in your favorite chair. You put the key in the ignition of your trusty vehicle, give it a turn and nothing happens. Your battery is dead. Now what? Do you call AAA and look like a wimp in front of your entire family? Of course you don’t. You know how to jump a car. Or you will after you read this guide.
How To Jump a Car Step 1: Assemble Your Gear
To jump a car, you need a set of jumper cables and a working vehicle. Jumper cables are available in a variety of sizes, but bigger isn’t better. Longer cords can make it easier to jump a car if you can’t park the second car nearby but are more prone to losing power.
How To Jump a Car Step 2: Play It Safe
Keep your kids away from the area while you are working. They probably don’t know how to do a jump start anyway. Check your vehicle’s manual. Some cars require extra steps, and some vehicles can be damaged by jumping them. Avoid touching the metal clamps once you have attached one to the battery.
How To Jump a Car Step 3: Park the Working Car Next to Your Car
Park the other car so that it faces yours about 18 inches away but not touching. Put your automatic car in park or your manual transmission in neutral and set the parking brake for both cars. Turn them off and remove the keys.
How To Jump a Car Step 4: Attach the Jumper Cables
Open the hoods and identify the batteries and battery terminals. This may be easier if the other vehicle owner also knows how to jump a car. The terminals are usually colored red or black and have a + or – sign on top. If the terminals are dirty, clean them with a wire brush or rag. Attach one red clamp to the positive battery terminal of the non-working battery and the other to the positive terminal of the working battery. Attach one black clamp to the negative terminal of the working battery and the other to a clean bolt or nut on the engine block.
How To Jump a Car Step 5: Jump Your Car
Start the working vehicle and wait about a minute. Try to start your car. If it doesn’t work, let the other vehicle run for another minute or two and try again. Revving the engine of the working car a little may help.
How To Jump a Car Step 6: Remove the Cables
Once your car is running, disconnect the cables. Start with the black ones first. Do not let the clamps touch each other during this process. Thank the other vehicle owner and then drive home.
Now that you know how to jump a car, you can leave your headlights on for as long as you want without fear. Just kidding. You should probably replace your failing battery. For more manly advice, check out The Rugged Standard.