DIY: The Right Way to Jump Start Your Car

Winters are around the corner and cars with weak batteries may need some extra electric juice to power up their starter motors. Jump starting a car may look easy, but it isn’t. There are several things that can go wrong when you don’t jump start a car properly. In fact, connecting both cars incorrectly can damage their electrical components. Jump starting equipment and accessories are available online at Auto Store.

Jump start cable

A car battery’s primary function is to give the starter motor a charge of electric current. This makes the components of an engine move to a point, where the fuel can combust to create continuous/sustainable internal combustion. A car’s battery also powers up other car electrical components like headlight, radio and cabin lights. You can tell when a car’s battery is going weak, by using a simple voltmeter to measure the voltage across the terminals. Also, you can tell a battery is weak, when you hear a clicking sound while trying to start a car. Voltage of a car refers to the amount of electric potential the battery holds. The standard car battery is 12 volts and is made up of six cells. Each cell has 2.1 volts at full charge. A car’s battery is considered fully charged at 12.6 volt and is considered discharged at below 12.4 volts.

Car battery voltage

Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind

Before jump-starting a car, it is important to go through a few safety checks:

  • Make sure small children are away from the engine of both cars.
  • Read the car’s manual, some cars have specific jump start instructions.
  • Wear shoes to avoid getting electric shock.
  • Once the metal clip of the jumper cable has been attached to terminals of battery, do not touch the metal clip at the other end.
  • It is recommended to wear rubber gloves and protective glasses in case of sparks.

Distance between cars for jump start

Prepare for the Jump Start Process

  1. The cars involved in the jump start process should be parked facing each other. Both cars should maintain a distance of about 18 inches from each other. The cars should never touch each other.
  2. Put both cars on neutral for manual transmission cars and on park for automatic transmission cars.
  3. Pull the hand-brakes of both cars.
  4. Switch off both cars and remove their keys
  5. Open the hood of both cars, locate the battery and identify the terminals which are Positive (+) and Negative (-). Clean the terminals if they are dirty.

Attaching the Jump Cables

  1. Attach the Positive (+) end of the jump cable to the Positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. Make sure the connection is solid (tight).
  2. Attach the other Positive (+) end of the Jump cable to the Positive (+) terminal of the working battery. (the Positive end of a jump cable is usually red in colour)
  3. Attach the Negative (-) end of the jump cable to the negative (-) terminal of the working battery and attach the other end of the jump cable to an unpainted metal part of the car (dead car) or a nut on the engine block. Do not connect the negative (-) end of the cable to the Negative (-) terminal of the dead battery.

jump start car battery

Jump Start Process

Finally, once all the terminals are tightly secured by the jump cable clamps, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Start the car with the working battery
  2. Keep the car start for about a minute, depending on how weak the other battery is, you may need to keep the car turned on for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Try starting the dead car. The engine may crank more to start. In some cases, slightly revving the engine of the working car may help charging the dead battery.
  4. Once the dead car has started, you can disconnect the jump cable. Always disconnect the negative terminal first then the positive. Do not let the clamps touch each other while they are still attached to the terminals of battery.

Battery Jump Start


It is recommended to take the car with the weak battery on a short drive. This helps the alternator charge the battery. In case the car doesn’t start while Jump-starting, make sure you check the wires connected to the starter motor for any loose connections.

Hope this was informative to you. Do share your jump-starting experiences with us.

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Samiullah Sharief

Samiullah Sharief is a car enthusiat. He is passionate about writing blogs and reviews about cars. His hobbies are driving,watching TV Shows like Top Gear, Mega Factories and he follows Popular car magazines. You can reach out to him by tweeting @sami649