Tuesday, December 09, 2008

6 Steps For Jump Starting a Car

When your car's battery dies or loses its ability to crank the engine, you may need someone to give it a jump start. Doing so can provide your battery with the current it needs to turn the engine over and start your car. But, jump starting a car can be dangerous because of the hydrogen gas and acid contained within the battery. If it explodes, it can cause serious injury. Unfortunately, many car owners approach jump starting haphazardly and take it for granted. Below, I'll give you 6 tips and precautions that you should use to protect you and your car.

#1: Line 'Em Up

Align your cars in a way that places each car's battery as close to the other as possible. Then, place both cars in "Park". Also, make sure that the cars are not touching each other. The current can travel through the hull, potentially causing damage and injury.

#2: Know Your Signs

Car batteries have a positive post and a negative post. How those posts are connected to the cables is important. Before connecting anything, familiarize yourself with which post is which.

#3: Know Your Connections

Jumper cables are typically colored red and black. Those colors indicate which cable connects to which post. The red cable will be connected to the positive posts on the dead battery and the charged battery. The black cable will be connected to the negative post on the charged battery. The other end of the black cable will clamp down on the hull of the dead battery's car.

#4: Clear The Cable Path

Do not allow the clamps at the end of the cables to touch each other. Also, make sure that the cables are free of any moving parts. They can easily become caught in the fan, ripping the clamps off the posts.

#5: Good Battery First

Once the cables have been connected to the battery posts, start the engine of the car with the charged battery first. Let the engine idle for a few minutes so its charging system can take some of the load off the battery.

#6: Disconnect, Then Drive

After starting the car with the dead battery, disconnect the jumper cables after the engine turns over. In order for the battery to keep its charge, you'll need to drive it continuously for approximately 30 minutes.

Jump starting a car isn't complicated. You need to memorize which posts are positive and negative, and which cables are connected to which posts. Then, take a few minutes to follow the tips above, ensuring your safety and preventing damage to both vehicles.

Quick 4 tips

Connect one end of the Positive(+) cable to the Positive(+) post of the dead battery.

Connect the other end of the Positive(+) cable to the Positive(+) post of the good battery.

Connect one end of the Negative(-) cable to the Negative(-) post of the good battery.

Connect the other end of the Negative(-) cable to a good solid SHINY, NON PAINTED metal part of the engine on the dead car. Usually a giant shiny nut on the engine block will do. A painted, dirty, or oily nut will not work. You usually want to avoid placing the Negative(-) cable directly on the dead battery to minimize the chance for explosions. You should only use the ground post on the dead battery as a last resort. On this step you'll get a normal spark as you connect the ground and complete the circuit.