How to Use Your Jumper Cables

jumper cables being placed on a battery

At some point or another, it’ll happen to you. You leave your headlights on, your battery finally fails, or for some other reason, you don’t have enough juice to start your car. Don’t call a tow truck just yet, though...Performance Automotive, Inc in San Diego has the info you need to properly jump start your car.

First, acquire a set of jumper cables. It’s a good idea to keep a good quality set in your vehicle, but if it’s too late for that, ask a friendly passerby if they have a set handy...you’ll need a second car anyway, and usually, someone will be happy to help. Next, position the second vehicle in such a way that the battery on their vehicle is as close as possible to the battery on your vehicle. Then, pop the hoods on both vehicles.

Attach one of the positive (red) leads of the jumper cable to the positive battery terminal (or jump point, as specified in the manual or under your hood) on one vehicle, then do the same thing on the other vehicle. Next, attach the negative (black) leads to each vehicle, via a specified ground point or the negative battery terminal. If you can’t get to the terminal and there is no specified ground point, any bare metal surface that isn’t isolated by rubber, paint, or empty space should work. Double and triple check throughout the process that you are connecting positive leads to the positive terminals, and negative leads to the negative terminals. Check to make sure none of the cables will interfere with moving parts once the car is started. Don’t allow the cable leads to touch each other once any of the leads are connected to a battery.

With the other car running, allow a few minutes for the battery on your car to charge with the leads connected. Then, try your luck. If it starts, safely disconnect the cables, making sure never to touch the leads together until the cables are fully disconnected. If your car still won’t start, slightly reposition all leads and let your battery charge a little longer. If your battery died from leaving something electronic on, drive the car or let it run for 10-20 minutes, and you should be fine.

If the car runs for a little bit, then shuts off, have your alternator and charging system inspected. If the car refuses to start or won’t start again after you’ve shut the car off, have your battery and connections inspected. If your car can’t be jump-started, or you experience any issues after you’ve tried jump starting, bring your car by Performance Automotive, Inc as soon as possible. Our expert mechanics will diagnose your problem and have you on the road again in no time. No matter what your problem, big or small, your car, truck, or SUV is in good hands with us!



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