How to Jump Start a Car with Jumper Cables

Jump Start a Car Battery

car won't start

Most of us have been in the situation where you left lights on in your car or you let the car sit for too long and realize next time you try starting your car battery is dead. If you are fortunate enough to have another car, and a willing person; you can jump start your car's battery.  In this article, we will cover the proper way to determine if your car battery is dead and how to safely jump start your car’s battery.


1. Make sure your battery is the problem.

      • Are your headlights dim? Dim lead lights are a good indicator of a dead battery. If they are bright, it is probably another issue with your car. Therefore a jump start will not help.
      • Check your car accessories and dashboard lights. In most cases, the dashboard lights and accessories will flicker even with a low battery. If they do not, you may have a problem with the ignition switch.
      • Does your car click slowly or quickly, when you try to start a car? If it clicks slowly or not at all, you have a dead battery

2. Locate your battery. Most cases the battery is under the car’s front hood. But sometimes, the battery can be located in the trunk or under a passenger’s seat of the car. Check your manual.

      • Identify the POSOTIVE (POS, RED, +) terminal and the NEGATIVE (NEG, BLACK, -) 

3. Park the working car next to the disabled car. In both cars, turn off all accessories.

4. If you have safety gear, put it on and inspect battery. Check the battery for cracks, leaks or damage. DO NOT jump start your car, do not jump start your car and call a tow truck or replace the battery.

      • If battery terminals are corroded, clean the cable and terminals before jumping. This can easily be done with a wire brush. Make sure to reconnect the terminals properly before jumping the car.

5. Make sure the Jumper Cables are untangled. The black and red ends of the jumper cables should NEVER touch. This can result in serious damage to the cars.

6. To connect the jumper cables in the following order.

      • Connect RED CLAMP to POSITIVE (+) terminal of the dead battery.
      • Connect other RED CLAMP to POSITIVE (+) terminal of good battery.
      • Connect one BLACK CLAMP to NEGATIVE (-) terminal of the good battery.
      • Connect other BLACK CLAMP to a piece of grounded metal or engine block on the dead car. Find an unpainted surface or a spot on the engine block that does not have moving mechanical parts that the cable could interfere with. This will act as a ground and decrease the risk of a serious accident such as fire or explosion.

Please refer to this video on how to properly jump your car’s battery.

7. Start the working car and let it idle for a few minutes. Rev the engine just a little above idle for 30 to 60 seconds. This charges the dead battery.

8. Try to start the dead car. Note: If it doesn’t start, remove the last connection, restart the working car again and allow to 5 minutes for charging before attempting to start the disabled vehicle. If this doesn’t work, after a few tries, you may need to have the car towed or the battery replaced.

9. Once the car starts, remove the jumper cables. Remove the cables in reverse order in which they were attached. Don’t let the clamps touch each other.

  • Disconnect the black clamp from grounded metal.
  • Disconnect black clamp from negative terminal of good battery.
  • Disconnect red clamp from positive terminal of good battery.
  • Disconnect red clamp from positive terminal of dead battery.
  • Replace any battery covers if necessary

10. Keep the car running on the recently disabled car. Keep the foot on the gas, and rev the engine above idle for 5 minutes to 20 minutes before turning it off. If you battery doesn’t keep a charge you probably need a new car battery or a dying alternator.