How to Jump-Start Your Car

May 18th, 2023 by

Jumper cables attached to a car battery

It’s never fun when your car battery dies. It can be an incredibly frustrating inconvenience, and it’s intimidating if you aren’t accustomed to working under the hood. But hey, don’t sweat it — Hebert’s Town and Country Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Shreveport, Louisiana, has your back! Whether you’re a new driver or just need a refresher, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of jumping your vehicle safely and effectively.

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Safety First

Although jump-starting your car may seem mundane, it can be dangerous if performed improperly. Before attempting the jump-start, make sure both vehicles are away from traffic and both ignitions are off. Remove jewelry or other metal accessories, and put on safety glasses and gloves. It’s also important to ensure the jumper cables are in good condition.

Positioning Your Vehicle

Next, it’s time to position the vehicles. Place both cars in park or neutral and engage the parking brakes. Keep a safe distance between the vehicles, ensuring the hoods are accessible. It’s best to consult your vehicle’s manual for specific instructions regarding battery location and safety precautions.

Connecting the Cables

  1. Identify the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals on both car batteries. These terminals usually have caps that match the color of your jumper cables (red for positive and black for negative.)
  2. Attach one end of the red jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery. 
  3. Connect the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal of the functional battery. 
  4. Take the black jumper cable and attach one end to the negative terminal of the functional battery. 
  5. Finally, connect the other end of the black cable to an unpainted metal surface on the car with the dead battery, away from the battery itself.

Jumper Cables and Other Essentials You Should Keep in Your Car

A diagram on how to connect your jumper cables from Hebert's Town and Country CDJR in Shreveport, Louisiana

Jump-Starting the Car

Once the cables are securely connected, start the engine of the operational vehicle and let it run. This will allow the functional battery to begin charging the dead battery. After 10-15 minutes, attempt to start the car with the dead battery. If it starts successfully, leave both engines running for a few more minutes to ensure proper charging. If it doesn’t start, recheck the connections and try again.

Disconnecting the Cables

Once the dead battery has been successfully jump-started, it’s time to remove the jumper cables. Remember to avoid letting the cable clamps touch each other or any metal surfaces!

  • Disconnect the black cable from the unpainted metal surface on the previously dead car. 
  • Remove the black cable from the functional battery’s negative terminal. 
  • Remove the red cable from the functional battery’s positive terminal.
  • Remove the red cable from the positive terminal of the previously dead car. 

Once the cables are disconnected, you can close the hood of both vehicles. If the terminals on your battery were covered with caps, be sure to return these to their proper locations. Now that your car battery is functional, you may want to drive your car for around 20 minutes — this will help the alternator continue to charge the battery. 

We hope this article helped you get out of a bind! Knowing how to jump-start a car with a dead battery is an essential skill that can save you from being stranded. If your car battery doesn’t start, there may be a more serious problem. If this is the case, be sure to schedule a service appointment with Hebert’s Town and Country CDJR in Shreveport, Louisiana, today!

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Posted in Car Tips, Safety