How to Jump Start a Car
We've all heard the dreaded chug-chug of an engine that won't start. Not sure how to jump start a car? Take a moment to refresh your memory with the U.S. Department of Transportation's nine-step guide to jump-starting your car and you’ll be back on the road in no time.
- Bring your vehicle together with someone else’s (about 18" apart) and turn both cars off.
- Put automatic transmission cars in "Park" and manual transmission cars in "Neutral." Then set your parking brake. Caution: Once you begin the next steps, do not touch the metal portion of the jumper cable clamps to each other, or any part of the car, except the proper battery terminal.
- Attach one end of the POSITIVE cable clamp to the POSITIVE terminal of the dead battery. Attach the other end of the POSITIVE cable to the POSITIVE terminal of the good battery. TIP: A "+" sign or red indicator means POSITIVE | a "-" sign or black indicator means NEGATIVE.
- Attach one end of the NEGATIVE cable to the NEGATIVE terminal of the good battery. Caution: The cables are live. Don't touch the remaining cable clamp metal portion to anything except the NEGATIVE terminal of the dead battery.
- Attach the other end of the NEGATIVE cable to a metal section (bracket, block, etc.) of the engine. Make sure it's away from any moving parts.
- Step away from the engine compartments, and make sure all hands and clothing are clear from engine parts.
- Start the engine of the car with the good battery. Let it run for 1-2 minutes and then rev the engine slightly by pressing on the gas pedal lightly.
- Start the engine of the car with the dead battery (it may require a few attempts). Caution: Running an engine with a dead battery may damage the cars’ electrical and computer systems of some cars. For guidance, check your owner's manual or give us a call.
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 2013.