How to Jumpstart Your Car Safely

July 20th, 2023 by

Vehicle ownership entails many responsibilities. These include keeping up with regular maintenance, ensuring that all equipment is in good working order, and practicing safe driving techniques. It also entails knowing how to deal with unexpected problems, such as a dead battery. We at #1 Cochran want to ensure that our customers are prepared for the road, so we wrote this article to help you learn about jump-starting your vehicle and what else you need to do if your battery dies.

How To Attach Jumper Cables Properly

car jumper cables connected to a battery

Jump-starting your car can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. However, with the proper equipment and knowledge, you can do it safely and efficiently. You’ll need a set of jumper or booster cables, as well as a pair of gloves and goggles for your safety. A battery cleaner and flashlight may also come in handy. Aside from the cables, another vehicle with a charged battery is also necessary. An alternative to this is a portable jump-starter, which is a compact battery source that you can keep in your car for emergencies.

The most important thing to remember during the jump-start process is to attach the jumper cables properly. This will ensure the success of the procedure and help prevent any damage to your vehicle or the other car. Here are the steps you need to take when attaching jumper cables:

  1. Ensure that the vehicles are positioned properly. They can be parallel to each other or bumper-to-bumper, as long as the cables can reach the batteries in both cars.
  2. Prepare both vehicles. Make sure that the keys are out of the ignition and the emergency brakes are set, and then raise their hoods so that you can get to the batteries.
  3. Attach the red clamp to the dead battery’s positive terminal. It’s the one with the plus sign (+) on it.
  4. Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the booster battery. This is important because connecting the clamps to the wrong terminals can cause a short circuit and potentially damage the batteries.
  5. Attach the black clamp to the booster battery’s negative terminal. It’s the one with the minus sign (-) on it.
  6. Attach the other black clamp to one of the unpainted metal components on the engine block of your vehicle. This can be a bracket, bolt, or a special grounding bolt with a negative sign on it.
  7. Check that the booster cables are secure and not near any moving parts. This is to prevent damage to the cables and the vehicles’ engines and make sure that the jump-start works.

After ensuring that the cables are properly attached, you can start the engine of the car with the good battery before you start yours.  If your car’s engine doesn’t start immediately, wait several minutes so that the battery can accumulate enough charge. To hasten the process, you can increase the idle speed of the other vehicle. Disconnect the cables once you’re able to jump-start your car, starting with the black clamps and then the red ones. Afterward, drive for about 20 minutes to recharge the battery further and check that you don’t need to repeat the process.

How Often Does My Car Battery Need To Be Serviced?

On average, a car battery has a life span of around three years, after which it’s advisable to replace it. There are batteries that last as long as five years, but they’re typically more expensive. To have a more accurate idea of when your battery is due for a replacement, you can check the warranty that comes with it. The length of coverage is a good indicator of the length of time you can expect it to last.

While car batteries are built to last for a long time, there are instances where they fail before their expected lifetime. This may be due to several reasons, such as extreme weather conditions, leaving the vehicle’s lights on overnight, or even long periods of inactivity. Here are several signs that you need to watch out for, all of which indicate that a trip to a reputable service center is in order:

  • Slow engine crank: When your car’s engine is slow to start, it may be because of a weak battery.
  • Check engine light: This can indicate a variety of issues, including a failing battery.
  • Weak lights: If your car’s headlights are dim or flickering, it could be because there isn’t enough power in the battery.
  • Disfigured battery case: A swollen or bloated case could indicate an overheated battery.
  • Foul smell: A rotten egg odor near the battery may be a sign of a leak, which can be dangerous if left unchecked.
  • Old age: If the battery is past its expected lifetime, it’s a good idea to have it checked and replaced.

What If I’m in the Middle of Nowhere and My Car Battery Dies?

There are many reasons your car battery may die when you’re in the middle of nowhere. The weather may be too cold or too hot, it may have a pre-existing issue, or maybe it’s simply reached the end of its useful life. Whatever the reason, there are three things you can do when this happens:

  • Jump-start your car: This is possible if you have a portable battery source or if another vehicle is nearby.
  • Use the push-and-start technique: If another person can assist you, put your vehicle in neutral, push it so it gains momentum, then go to second gear and start the engine.
  • Seek professional help: If the above options aren’t possible, move your car to a safe location and get in touch with roadside assistance through your auto insurance provider.

#1 Cochran Has You Covered

If you find yourself in need of assistance with your car’s battery or your car requires servicing, look no further than #1 Cochran. Our team of experts is ready to help you with your automotive needs, from routine maintenance to major repairs. Don’t wait until your battery dies — let us help you ensure that your vehicle is always running smoothly. That way, you won’t have to jumpstart your car every time you turn on the ignition. Contact us today to schedule an appointment, or bring your car to us in Youngstown, Ohio, for a battery inspection.

Car Jumper Cables by stevefreling is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Posted in Service