There are few things worse than jumping into your car, trying to start it, and nothing happening. The majority of the time this is caused by a dead battery, but all you need to bring your car back to life is a pair of jumper cables and a second car with a good battery. Hopefully, this helpful guide will take the fear out of how to jumpstart your car.
Taking Precautions When You Jumpstart Your Car
Before you jumpstart your car, make sure that your hands are dry and that you are wearing rubber-soled shoes to keep you earthed. Then, inspect your car’s battery for any obvious damage to the housing. Should your battery have any cracks in it, is leaking fluid, or if there are any signs of melted plastic, disconnect the battery and remove it from the vehicle. Damaged batteries are not safe to jump start.
If your battery terminals are covered in a blue snow-like substance, don’t be alarmed, this is simply an anhydrous copper sulfate that has been exposed to air. The recommended treatment is to clean this material off with a battery cleaning agent, which will be available at any auto parts store. If you’re in a pinch, you can use bicarbonate soda and water.
Disconnect your car’s battery. Then in a small container mix equal parts water and bicarbonate soda to make a paste. Apply this paste with a brush or paper towel, then allow the solution to sit for a few minutes. If you’re lucky you may even be able to see the reaction taking place. Clean off the solution with a paper towel and dry the terminals before reconnecting the battery to the car.
Jumpstarting Your Car
Knowing how to jumpstart your car is important for all car owners and is a pretty simple process.
First, park the two cars close enough that the jumper cables will be able to reach both batteries while making sure that the cars don’t make any contact as this may cause a short circuit. Then make sure both cars are turned off and are in park for automatic cars or neutral for manual cars. Switch off any unnecessary electronic devices such as stereos, lights, and anything connected to the power socket.
Follow the diagram above, and first connect the red jumper cable to the positive terminal on the car with a dead battery (1), and the other end to the positive terminal of the car with a good battery (2). Then take the blue (or black) jumper cable and connect it to the negative terminal of the car with a good battery. Take the other end of the blue/black cable and connect it to any unpainted metal part in your car’s engine bay (4), ensuring that it is as far away from the battery as possible. We know, the negative terminal of the car’s battery does run to ground but connecting the last negative clamp may cause a few sparks to form, and if your battery is releasing hydrogen gas the sparks might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
Once the jumper cables are hooked up, start the car with the good battery’s engine and let it idle then you can jump into the car with the dead battery and attempt to start the engine. When the dead battery car starts, you can begin disconnecting the jumper cables, and this is simply the reverse of connecting them. First, remove the jumper cable from the car with the dead battery’s negative terminal (4), then remove (3), then (2), and finally (1).
After You’ve Jumped Your Car
You can now park the car with a good battery and switch it off. It’s recommended that you let your car idle for a few minutes to charge the battery, or better yet, take your car for a drive to give the alternator the best chance to charge the battery. If the car cuts out as soon as you remove the jumper cables, your alternator may be failing.
Choosing A Replacement Car Battery
When selecting a new battery for your car, there are several characteristics that need to be identical between your old battery and new battery.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
Cold-cranking amps are the industry-wide rating that measures a battery’s ability to start an engine in the cold. Larger diesel trucks require batteries with a higher CCA rating than a family sedan. If you can’t find a battery with the exact CCM as your current one, it’s recommended you go with a battery with a higher rating.
Battery Reserve Capacity (RC)
Battery reserve capacity is the rating for how long a battery can power something without the alternator running. RC and CCA are two important factors for ensuring that your car starts every time. And just like CCA, it is better to go for a higher RC-rated battery if you cannot find an identical match with your current battery.
Amp-hour indicates how much energy the battery can store. It is common to see cars with larger engines or more electronics requiring higher amp-hour batteries.
Battery Test Center in Pompano Beach
If you’ve had to jumpstart your car more than three times in a single week, it’s time to get a new battery. Battery maintenance is the best way to extend your battery’s life span. If it’s finally time to replace your battery think Foreign Affairs Motorwerks. Whether you’re looking for a direct battery replacement, or you have some modifications that need extra juice, our team of highly trained performance shop pros will happily assist you in finding the right battery and upgrades for your car. Call our Pompano Beach service center at 954-746-0488 today to make an appointment!